Monk Agog! Sparks In Concert… In His Town!

Sparks ca. 2013. Suave… very suave.

Sparks ca. 2013. Suave… very suave.

Last Friday, I stopped my wife in the doorway to our home and with a crazed look in my eye said “We have to attend the Mountain Oasis Festival this year!” She guessed three times but missed the target [but not before trying John Foxx]. In a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moment to end them all, I had just found out that personal icons, Sparks will actually play a rare concert East of the Mississippi and South of the Mason-Dixon line at this year’s inaugural Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit this October 25-27 in Asheville, North Carolina. I’m still reeling from the news since what I’d heard from the festival thus far was irrelevant to my ears. So here’s a little background.

The Mountain Oasis Festival was a response by the AC Entertainment promotional company to the parting of ways that they had with the Robert Moog Foundation this year over the future of the Moogfest Festival, which is traditionally held in Asheville during the last weekend in October. The Moogfest has a new promotional company in Detroit’s Paxahau and will now be held in the Spring starting in 2014. I look forward to see what they will be serving.

In the meantime, AC is working the action they already have a stake in with this new festival which looks similar to Moogfest, but no doubt missing the educational and panel functions that make Moogfest more than just a show. It’s even being held in the same time frame that they used for Moogfest, but to date, the Mountain Oasis Festival lineup didn’t speak to me. I’m beyond caring about Gary Numan now, and his buddy Trent Reznor and the re-animated Nine Inch Nails were long gone from my Record Cell by the Mid-90s and my Third Rate Industrial Purge that saw the likes of them, KMFMD, Skinny Puppy, et. al. ejected for trade-in value. But Sparks on the lineup is a no-brainer, and buying day passes for the modest asking price is not a problem either… thanks to my sales and auctions of my no longer valued music inventory.

As hell froze over and I actually attended Moogfest last year [they added Harold Budd to the lineup late in the game, who was a must-see] to my enjoyment, I have confidence that AC can run a festival in my town that’s a pleasure to attend. I wasn’t too confident in the talent involved this year, but that’s been rectified by the presence of the Mael Brothers. They are titans, in my world and seriously, never play in the Southeast. Hell, they barely have concerts in America. I am expecting that this will be their current Two Hands, One Mouth tour with just the two of them onstage with duo arrangements of their awe-inspiring canon of brilliant songs. Join me in late October for the follow up.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to Monk Agog! Sparks In Concert… In His Town!

  1. Echorich says:

    I am beginning to think that if I think hard enough or dig deep enough into my record collection, I can conjure up any number of happy coincidences…I have been listening to Sparks on and off for a few months…They were always that band that NOBODY I knew got. Their very European irony was lost on Americans and were always more fashionable than popular. A perfect combination for them to be one of my favorites!

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  2. zoo says:

    Sparks…I’ve tried, I really have, but I just can’t get into them. Intellectually, I can recognize and appreciate the songwriting quality, humor, and creativity. But my ears can’t get fully on board. (As someone once said to me when he and I disagreed on a band, I had “inferior ears”). Every now and then, I’ll listen to Kimono in My House or Propaganda to see if I feel any different, but I don’t. Is there any other essential Sparks album I should hit up that may change my mind?

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – Give their tribute album to themselves “Plagiarism” a try. It hits many songwriting moods and modes with a measured grace. They have moved far from the frantic hyperactivity of “Kimono” and “Propaganda.” At the very least you may respond to the seminal “Number One In Heaven.”

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  3. JT says:

    Coincidentally, I’ve been an a Sparks kick lately too. I’m going to have to vote for Angst In My Pants as my fave record by them, Zoo.
    Here they are performing the title track [one of the weakest on the album, IMHO] just two months ago:

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Thanks for that worthy interjection! I love that song, but still need a copy of the album, sadly. I have “Kimono” and everything they’ve released from “Music That You Can Dance To” to “Exotic Creatures Of The Deep,” pathetic, I know! Maybye for my birthday I can hand off the rest of the Sparks canon to my wife and say “here’s the big gift want list.” She loves Sparks, too. She’s obsessed with “L’il Beethoven” in particular “Suburban Homeboy.” Me? I go for “Your Call’s Very Important To Us. Please Hold.” At least she’s seen Sparks before, opening for Patti Smith in 1977! I’m cheesed off that “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” is primarily available on vinyl! There are CDs of it, they’re just part of expen$ive multi-format overload boxed sets or DLX EDs for the glitterati [appropriately priced, of course.]

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  4. JT says:

    I am agog that you’ve never hear this elpee! Sparks classics like Moustache, Instant Weight Loss, I Predict, Sex Town, and the untouchable classic for the ages Eaten By The Monster of Love all await! This is their second most “new wave” sounding album; the follow-up is even more so… Sparks In Outer Space [Cool Places and All You Ever Think About is Sex are on that one!].

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – I beg limited budget. Also, Sparks had been around 10 years by the time I had heard them in 1981, so I was already cowed by the number of back catalog albums to investigate. That stayed my hand out of the paralysis of sheer numbers until I made my first purchase [the mediocre Interior Design] and kept up from that point. I worked my way backward when I ran across a CD in the used bins [rare]. Yeah, I’m just sick about it. Especially since the more I listen to them, the more I worship them.

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