Days two and three were every bit as much of a musical whirlwind as was the first day of Moogfest. Thankfully, the skies cleared up overnight, and Asheville was bright and sunny, though still brutally cold, for the remainder of the weekend. Most of the acts I really wanted to see Saturday were taking place at the outdoor venue, Animoog Playground, so I bundled up and headed that way to catch The Naked and Famous. The charming boy-girl indie duo from New Zealand drew a good sized late afternoon crowd, but the real party began when Crystal Castles took the stage just after dark. Giant costumed aliens kept the audience entertained between and during sets, which was a great segue to the ever animated Flaming Lips.
Since I had just seen them perform at Hopscotch last month, the Lips' show was familiar, but still festive as ever, complete with Wayne Coyne's signature space bubble, lasers, confetti, and balloons. I closed out Saturday night after hoofing it the few blocks back to the Civic Center to watch Amon Tobin. Tobin's performance was a trancey light show spectacular, with an ever changing 3D display projected onto a giant stack of cubes. It sounds weird, but it was strangely mesmerizing and very trippy. Tobin could occasionally be seen in the center cube throughout the performance.
Sunday was the one day I had the most difficulty deciding what to see, since several great shows were overlapping and spread relatively far apart. I started out at the outdoor venue again. Since I got there a little early, I waited to see the only Asheville band playing at the festival, Sonmi. Before they began playing, however, I caught Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) doing an interview behind the stage and managed to get a few words in with the actor/writer/rapper who is probably best known for playing the character Troy on the show Community.
Someone else backstage asked Glover if he planned to stay to watch Beats Antique play, and his description of some of the show piqued my interest enough that I decided to stay. That was a good call, as they put on one of the best live shows I'd seen in ages. Their mixture of gypsy-ish jazz with heavy percussion was accompanied by a fantastic stage performance complete with costumed female dancers, and the finale included a slew of people on stage wearing animal costumes, dancing and bowling will skulls. Even Jason Voorhees made an appearance.
Childish Gambino followed. As one of the only rap acts on the schedule, he was very well received. He worked the crowd with his catchy and clever lyrics, with many singing along with him. Unfortunately, I had to bail on his show a little early so that I could check out some of Neon Indian and James Murphy and Pat Mahoney's disco DJ set, both of which were packed. After spending a few minutes checking out both of the shows at the Civic Center and Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, I had to make the last trip back to the Animoog Playground for the Sunday headliner, Passion Pit. Singer Michael Angelakos owned the stage and sang, well, passionately, running back and forth, dropping to his knees, and jumping around while the crowd went nuts. It was the perfect send off for my drive home that night.
Moogfest launched last year with an incredible line up, and built upon its success even moreso this year. My guess is that it will only get better in its third year. Now that the festival has put Asheville on the musical map, I'm pretty sure it's here to stay.