Moogfest! We came, we saw, but alas, we did not exactly conquer. As with every festival, we inevitably experience a lot of FOMO – but this year, we made a conscious decision to not let this fear get in the way of our good time. Instead of rushing around from venue to venue & waiting in lines for entry (while missing other artists), we decided to be 100% present & commit ourselves to select performances we were most excited about seeing. This way, we had the best spots in the house for prime viewing, grammin, & dancin!
If you haven’t been keeping up with us our last few posts, here’s a little background on the festival, now based in Durham, NC. Moogfest is a tribute to Dr. Robert Moog & the profound influence his inventions have had on how we hear the world. Over the last sixty years, Bob Moog & Moog Music have pioneered the analog synthesizer & other technology tools for artists. This exchange between engineer & musician is celebrated with a unique festival format where the creative process is understood as a collaboration among many people, across time & space, in commerce & culture.
Another amazing facet of Moogfest is it served as a protest against HB2. This collective artist statement borrows language from exchanges with Gary Numan, The Black Madonna, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, & Jaron Lanier, among others, to sum up the festival’s stance on this detestable law:
“The liberation of LGBTQ+ people is wired into the original components of electronic music culture & personally embodied in the deep, lifelong friendship between our godmother (& trans icon), Wendy Carlos & our godfather, Bob Moog. As artists & futurist thinkers, we oppose HB2 & support justice & equality for everyone. Moogfest is always & already engaged in a conversation about identity, self-expression, gender, & politics. This is essential to our promise of “future thought” & “future sound.” We further commit to addressing this issue head-on, with focus & determination. We will use the podium, the stage, & the dancefloor to manifest a world of inclusivity & compassion. We will surface these ideas because they are essential ingredients for creativity, innovation, & discovery. We are standing our ground in North Carolina. Synthesize Love.”
// DAY 1
Hundred Waters @ Motorco Park : We have to admit that seeing Hundred Waters in an intimate setting vs. an outdoor stage in a parking lot pre-nightfall is preferred, but nevertheless we were impressed by Nicole Miglis’s otherworldly vocals & the band’s overall hypnotic composition. We adore Hundred Waters so this was a great intro to the festival, especially when they played a few highly-anticipated new songs we can’t wait to get our hands on!
c/o Brian Livingstone
Floating Points Ensemble @ Motorco Park : British experimentalist Sam Shepherd & his band provided textured soundscapes with a densely layered amalgam of funk, jazz, & ambience. The dimly lit stage with captivating visuals that transformed in sync with the music put us in a trance, which we believe to be their endgame 😏
Blood Orange @ Motoroco Park : The master of dance moves, guitar, charm, & the return of the Kangol hat. There was never a dull moment in his set between his four piece band, back up dancers / singers, & sax solos. He even graced us with two new tracks (finally!) & a Rihanna cover of James Joint.
Ryan Hemsworth @ The Armory : This cutie turned The Armory into a middle school dance with his set! We held out until our new favorite Drake song Child’s Play came on before we decided our hearts might implode from the earth shattering bass & headed over to The Pinhook before we thought we might start growing gray hairs & using walking canes.
c/o Tommy Coyote
Paula Temple @ The Pinhook : This British producer has been around since the early 00s, & this is apparent in her style in the best way possible. We ended our night with her industrial noise-techno set in the perfect dive bar, reminiscent of a night spent within Germany’s club scene.
// DAY 2
After we picked up the pieces of our broken hearts because the live recording of the Song Exploder podcast with ODESZA was at capacity, we checked out the installation Inside the Music of Grimes : REALiTi. Grimes provided her music stems to Moogfest & Microsoft, & Microsoft & Listen partnered with the festival to create an immersive & interactive environment for fans to manipulate & remix her 2015 track Realiti using Microsoft Kinect technology. Both the visuals & the music respond intuitively to audience movements with the mesh-lined room.
Grimes @ Motorco : Oh. My. Goddess. We’ve seen Grimes a few times between now & 2012, but this performance was definitely everything we ever wanted from this alien pop angel & more. What we’re trying to say is we could’ve left Moogfest at the moment her set ended & been totally fulfilled. I mean if it’s still unclear what we mean, we are obsessed with Grimes & have aspirations of one day being on her girl squad & having matching tattoos because Grimes4Lyfe.
Bicep @ The Armory : Even though we said we could’ve been done at Grimes, this Northern Irish duo delivered the perfect follow up with beefy disco & 90’s house, yet through a modern lens. We’re obviously suckers for splashy hi-hats & chirpy synths you can dance to, especially when it’s in a warehouse setting with some of your favorite people & hilarious visuals.
Robert Hood @ The Armory : Next we saw pioneering DJ/producer Robert Hood. With over 20 years in the game, an original member of Underground Resistance & innovator in Detroit techno’s heyday, he commanded the room with a level of respect that we’ve never really witnessed during a DJ set.
The Black Madonna @ The Armory : We ended the evening in disco heaven fused with classic house with Chicago’s resident RIOT GRRL house DJ, Marea Stamper.
Stay tuned for Pt II of Moogfest, with coverage of Empress Of, D∆WN, DJ Harvey, & a disco brunch we will never forget! x