Part One, in which we return to the land whence I came and discover a lot of others go there now too…
Begin: Los Angeles, CA
End: Asheville, NC
Time is a son of a bitch. It’ll take you what feels like years to make a couple weeks go by while you’re waiting for something to happen. Then when that something happens it runs through your life like a hot flash, quick as shit. Fun moves quick as shit. Now this should not be misconstrued as advice to avoid fun, but rather as direction to seek it out more often, so as to avoid the lulls in between where you fall into your routine of suck, otherwise known as a mundane existence. In short, it is all of our duties to fight against that existence.
I have always considered myself to be ahead of the curve when it comes to traveling. While undoubtedly not a rock star (ed. note: nasty on a kazoo though), I am at this point at least a minor league life star, and my stat sheet for setting aside all inhibitions, traipsing across uncharted territory, and leaving a path of destruction through hotels and memories alike is commendable. My gorilla-ssociate can lay claim to possessing a similar skill set, and so it is usually bankable that when the two of us set out in search of adventure we will in the least succeed in finding a good amount of laughter and an unwanted amount of close calls. I hope it always remains this way.
As for this most recent jaunt, I’d say we started out much cleaner than we finished up. In fact the most uncomfortable portion of the first leg of our trip was the airplane ride. Apparently “preferred seating” that costs extra (ed. note: it was the last seat available) actually means “not-preferable seating” as it comes with the seat on the plane that doesn’t recline. I’m good at falling asleep in a lot of places. I’m really good at it when I eat a sleeping pill. I’m next to flawless when I consume two sleeping pills. That is, unless I’m sitting in “preferred seating,” where the seat is angled in a position so unnatural to the human frame that I could not find sleep on a red-eye flight regardless of chemical assistance.
I thereby landed in Aheville, NC (ed. note: hence forth “Beer City”) on Friday morning, having last slept on the Wednesday evening prior. The wise thing would have been to have gotten to mama’s house and taken a nice long nap with the Betty Hound. The type of nap that you wake up from at 10PM and then go back to bed at around midnight. I chose to instead watch Beavis and Butthead for the third time and stuff my face with food until nature took over and rendered my eyes useless.
That of course was about thirty minutes before I was told that I had to begin my scheduled activities for the day. I was after all returning to the land of my upbringing with a purpose. You see Beer City is now a hot-spot for culture within its Appalachian enclave. As such, it has attracted a good bit of excellent music over the past ten years (ed. note: since my departure). This in turn led to AC Entertainment, the same folks that bring us Bonnaroo every year, to bring a yearly event known as Moogfest to Beer City.
Moogfest got its name and its schtick from Bob Moog, who lived in Beer City until he kicked the bucket a few years ago. He was a scientific genius and music visionary and he created synthesizers that changed and continue to change the musical landscape. The festival is predominantly electronic and experimental music. Which is a genre that can encompass many sub-genres. In fact, if you read most of the Wiki-pages for the acts playing the Moogfest you’d be hard-pressed to find one artist whose music has been encapsulated into a single “type.” That isn’t to say you can’t find something outside of those genres on Moogfest weekend. Beer City is a town full of sound, and inevitably you will stumble on some pickin’ and some drum-circlin’, and we certainly did.
That Friday the stumblin’ was of course all done with no sleep, which made it extra stumbly. However it was in this sleep-deprived condition that I was to begin what we will all have to assume is going to be the Kurt Loder segment of my life. Be it so short lived as this first traipse, or should it take on a continuous life afterwards is yet to be seen, but the Moogfest was nontheless the inception of it. As that is where they first slapped the title of “media” around my wrist and unleashed me upon the back-entrances, stages, and green-rooms of the musical world. Thus the very, very beginning of it was my encounter with perchance the most “experimental” act at all of the Moogfest, Causing a Tiger.
They play all improvised on the spot, un-rehearsed sets of tripped out music. Each of the three players hailing from different classical backgrounds. They don’t do drugs, they “party without it” if you will, so thereby you know they were interesting to talk to (ed. note: because the tripiness they play is au-naturale)… They were a good barometer for how I was going to fare at asking questions of people whom I ain’t know. There’s many demons at battle in this interviewing endeavor. For one, do I give a shit? For two, if so, why? For three, do they give a shit? For four, and if so, why? I think within the moment of this first interview both parties seemed to give a bit of a shit, and the reasoning was most likely cloudy on both ends. If summed up it might be that one party seemed to enjoy talking, the other listening.
This would be enough justification for me to run with for the rest of the day. A day that was packed with “Loder-moments,” (ed. note: my own brand of course). I quickly became adept at flashing my credentials as if they meant more than they did, giving an outraged and inconvenienced glare if ever denied acces, and finding my way towards free stuff, particularly booze in the backs of various Moogfest venues. Throughout the rest of the day and on into night I shot the shit (or “Lodered” the shit out of) members of Chromeo, Holy Fuck, and the MVP of the MPC, Mr. AraabMuzik.
I met’em all in different spots. Rapped with Dave One of Chromeo on the top floor of the Marriott Hotel, a place where in my youth I’d worked a couple of catering gigs as a waiter, and so only knew good spots to sneak out of the banquet room and nip a swig from a beer or have a drag. Thus the top floor was new to me, the view is damn solid, you get to see a good bit of Beer City from there. Dave One threw some love to our boy Chach, and called us the Bang-Bus of music, that was enough sound bite for a whole week, but I’m an overachiever, so I sought for more.
If I recall correctly I got to squeeze in a little supper with mom’s and pop’s, it was pretty good, the food in Beer City on a whole has gotten pretty good. Mind you it was not such back in the day. Back in the day shit was schwag (ed. note: not to be confused with “swag,” a word popularized by Mr. “How’s your face?” Tyler the Creator). Now since I don’t work for the tourism board of Beer City I’ll get back to the action. Just wanted to make sure all y’all hipsters be aware that shit weren’t always so hip down there…
What I saw musically this day was just a precursor to what the rest of our trip would entail, a mere appetizer, as we were only really able to take in three festival shows. The first was Atlas Sound at the Orange Peel. A venue that I’d heard much about since having left Beer City as a minor, but had never actually been inside of as an adult. I can report that the Orange Peel is as stated by Rolling Stone, a very good place to see music. However, Atlas Sound left me in want of a different first musical experience inside this space.
It’s not that Bradford Cox isn’t an interesting musician, I enjoy Deerhunter (his other band) and I’ve listened to Atlas Sound records and not loathed them. However, it seems that with his newest stuff, which he has referred to as “the loneliest album” he’s ever made, he is just reaching into the realm of way too weird. I didn’t get it, I didn’t dig it. I didn’t understand the over-ethereal set, I didn’t appreciate the wailing vocals, I didn’t like the staticy synth sounds, I didn’t grasp the point of a room full of people standing still watching some dude weird out in the darkness. I did get why the bar-tender made me clean up the beer that I spilled all over his bar. He simply hit me with a dirty rag and nodded for me to mop. It’s nice to know that even years removed I’m still quite local in that regard.
From that oddity we progressed onto something a bit more my style, and perhaps the most rock’and’roll act of the entire Moogfest. Here Gorilla and I got to exercise our press-passes to their full extent as we skipped past the long lines of folks waiting to be security checked at the Asheville Civic Center (ed. note: do not you dare call it the “ACC”) and breezed on up to the front row of the TV on the Radio set.
Now if you have not seen TV on the Radio live I suggest you mark a date on your calendar to change that. They bring it, always. Even in an arena such as the Civic Center that has been in need of a remodel since the early 1970’s, they were able to overcome the shoddy acoustics and the enormous amount of dead space and put on one hell of a show… We took in enough of this performance and the freaks attending said performance to satisfy our tastes for the night, and then had to split the scene in favor of spending time with the one and only Goose Man and lady Goose, who were back in town for the festivities, and of course to see me. Now for those of you (ed. note: most of you) who have not had a chance to party with the Goose Man, all’s I can say is baton down your hatches and know that if he asks you for a little bit or a pinch of what you’ve got in your bag of goodies then he really means a massive handful and that you will see him tomorrow because he’s about to be wild’and’out (ed. note: to quote Nick Cannon). That was the case on the magical evening in question, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I believe he only licked my face twice and tried to kiss me once, so it was a slow night by Goose standards…
We lost the Gooses sometime shortly after he concluded an argument with a very disinterested bar made over the ratio of hummus to tortilla chips that he was served at the bar. Now, seeing Goose Man was really the #1 priority I had on my to-do list, and having checked that off I would have probably served myself well to retire to the makeshift room that my mother has for me when I return home. However, having still one unattended notch left on our schedule we trekked the long and blustery few blocks from the Civic Center to the newly minted Asheville Music Hall (ed. note: Formerly Stella Blue of Warren Haynes family fame).
Here we met AraabMuzik at the logical time of 330 AM. He had just finished thumping his mighty pointer fingers on the MPC machine, of which he is the MVP. Now, an MPC is like a drum machine, a little silver box with black buttons that one hits with their fingers to make beats. Araab has maybe the scarcest set up I have ever seen from a live performer. It’s just him, his MPC, and a fold out table. The massive sound you get in return, and the bounce back you get from the asses in the audience is really incomparable. I mean, dude taps his fingers and bitches twerk-out until he stops tapping. Backstage after the set I asked him if it was sick to have all of that boogie-power in his fingertips, he gave a real knowing sneer and said “yeah, no doubt.” We both know why he was sneering. We both also knew that it was damn near 4 AM and that I myself looked like the faux-Arab version of Tyrone the Crack-head. Desperately in need of sleep I retired to the sanctity of my childhood home. Thus I shall retire here, in hopes of enticing you to come back tomorrow, when we can skip all the introductory formalities and jump right to the bits about Beats Antique, Passion Pit, how to sneak in almost anyone and anything backstage, and the dude who really tried to fist fight me over a glow-stick… Loder out.
Links for the Day:
– Sick! Black Hole Suuuuuuuuuun! (via Billboard)
– Track 5 = Good Pavement Cover… (via Captain’s Dead)
– That new, new, new shit… (via THE BEST WEBSITE EVER)
– Something everyone should do more often… (via Stereogum)
Los Angeles, these are the shows we suggest you spend minutes of your life at the week of 11/14 – 11/20:
– Take Sunday off, it ain’t shit…