Moogfest 2014: Friday, 4-25-14 [nighttime]

Egyptian Lover kicked it off early with a free street show

Egyptian Lover kicked it off early with a free street show

Egyptian Lover – Electro

As I said earlier, two months ago I had never heard of Egyptian Lover. One Guardian article on the TR-808 later, he’s the go-to man for pure 808 beats and old school electro, and his two hour set was definitely dancing fuel. There were a few guys popping the whole set and even a senior had to get down. I probably lost about 600 calories, myself. He started out the set taking over from another DJ who was blasting house [it looked like C Powers but it was much more obnoxious than his set before Pet Shop Boys, so it might have been someone else unannounced on the schedule] and when Egyptian Lover took over the wheels of steel, the ride got a lot smoother. The set started out with Lover cutting records while his MC, Jamie Jupiter, stoked the crowd up.

Lover was mixing records with bursts of 808 injected into the mix, but after about 30 minutes of this it was time to take it live, and then it was just him programming the 808 with a synth player joining him and Jupiter onstage. The sound was fresh and clean, and after the house set prior, balm to these ears. It’s was pleasing to hear something so funky without resorting to bass porn, as I’m now calling it. It was treble funk, if you will! As the late afternoon began to turn to early evening, the street was packed with revelers who took advantage of this free Moogfest set. There were many shows where a wristband was not needed and this was a real highlight. The mix included classic Egyptian Lover jams as well as freestyle improv where the beatmaster and his synth player improvised for the crowd. I am so glad that I became aware of Egyptian Lover in time to take advantage of this free gift Moofgest gave us!

Kraftwerk hit a sweeter spot with 'Neon Lights' on performance 2 at Moogfest

Kraftwerk hit a sweeter spot with ‘Neon Lights’ on performance 2 at Moogfest

Kraftwerk – Synthpop Pioneers – Set 2

After the previous evening, I was not entirely sure that I was going to see the other Kraftwerk shows. The sound was poor, and I was not convinced, but a nearly four hour hole in my proposed schedule convinced me otherwise, since I’d be out to nearly 2:00 a.m. seeing other acts. The show began as previous, with somewhat curtailed bass response this time. I later found out that they fried the board the previous night, and maybe this led to a slightly better mix. The show this evening only occasionally descended to thorax-rattling levels.

I was surprised to immediately hear differences from what I caught of the previous night’s set. Subtle differences in the mix intrigued me since the one time I’d seen Kraftwerk before, my friends and I had a discussion over just how much of it was live. After hearing the second set, I’m guessing they take the man-machine ethos pretty seriously, with the load carried equally to create something unique from event to event. Against all odds, I actually think Kraftwerk are in that way like any good rock band! They may sing about numbers, but they don’t necessarily play by them.

The set list changes happened early on with the lovely “Metropolis” from set 1 replaced with “Electric Cafe” for the second set. I was excited to hear “Neon Lights” played exactly as it always had been on the “Man Machine” album, with no concessions to the dance audience. It was a peak moment for me in this set and I got a little misty-eyed at hearing the gorgeous melody. The better mix this evening ensured that I didn’t regret hearing this classic one iota! In fact, if it was the “Man Machine” album you loved, these concerts had the complete album played at the festival. “Computerworld” was in second place with all of it, save for “Pocket Calculator” performed.

Another delight was “Das Model” performed in the original German language. This gorgeous number was a surprise hit in the UK, getting to number one in 1981 after being issued [originally] as the B-side to “Computer Love.” The 1978 song was no longer too far ahead of its time to be a hit three years later. When I saw Kraftwerk in 1998, at that point in time, the version of “Autobahn” played was the terrible version from “The Mix.” Not so this time, with a classic sounding “Autobahn” proffered for a huge improvement to my heart and ears! The song was performed in three “movements” and clocked in at around 8-10 minutes. About as long as the version on “The Mix” but far more faithful to the original album version! It was blissful to hear this PPM seminal single live in a way that was congruent with the song I’d grown up with.

Similarly, I was happy to hear that “Tour De France” was performed in its original 1983 format, when it could have been the weaker 2003 version, though the band effortlessly segued from the ’83 mix into “Tour De France Etape 1/2” for a suite that blended old and new and worked fairly well. This was followed by “La Forme” but at this point, I had to leave the Kraftwerk set to make my way to the free stage again for a DJ set by none other than Giorgio Moroder.

Next: …The return of Kraftwerk

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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