This coming Thursday sees the arrival of the annual Thanksgiving holiday here in America. Like everyone else, I’ll be eating turkey among family. I’ll also be thinking about what I was thankful for this year, and perhaps the thing that pops up the most is live music. I’ve seen plenty of it this year, mostly great, and one of the highlights was the second annual MoogFest in Asheville, North Carolina.
Friday, October 28
My first stop at this year’s MoogFest was at The Orange Peel to catch Atlas Sound. With Deerhunter, Bradford Cox tends to mix sprawling psych-rock landscapes with gorgeous melodies. His solo project, Atlas Sound, follows a similar sound, but whereas Deerhunter can get very loud and very rocking, Atlas Sound songs tend to be quieter, more fragile affairs, usually absent of electric guitars. Sitting on a stool in the middle of the stage, Cox played and sang delicate melodies that he would then loop over one another. Songs would build from vocals and guitar to a great wall of sound. This was the third time I had seen Atlas Sound, and while I enjoy Cox’s solo performances, I’ve seen what he’s capable of with a band backing him (Atlanta band The Selmanaires backed him at one of those prior shows). While he certainly does a fine job on his own, the songs just sound better when he brings a band along. After catching a few songs, I decided to move along and head over to the Asheville Civic Center.
I must make a confession: prior to MoogFest, I had not listened to one second of Tangerine Dream’s music. So when I first walked into the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium half-way through the band’s set, I was pleased to hear psychedelic, ambient soundscapes coming from the speakers. This went on for a couple songs. Then things just got….. weird. The music quickly devolved into cheesy, Mannheim-Steamroller-like synth-schlock. Guitarist Bernhard Beibl and saxophonist would play solos that sounded straight out of a 1970’s porn flick. While it was interesting to watch leader Edgar Froese experiment with all manner of Moog synthesizers, plus the fact that he looked like some sort of urban witchdoctor with his hat, scarf, glasses, and long white hair, I ultimately walked away disappointed, knowing what the band was capable of.
TV On The Radio
Brian Eno’s Illustrated Talk
77 Million Paintings