Asheville, North Carolina’s Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, produced by AC Entertainment, Inc. (the producer/promoter behind Moogfest), featured a much broader variety of acts than its name suggests. Though traditional DJ sets were well represented (none better than the Friday night opener by Claude VonStroke), the rest of the bill offered acts for every taste of popular music. The concurrent performances on Friday evening illustrated the eclectic nature of the event, as veteran outsider acts like Half Japanese and Daniel Johnston played in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium while VonStroke, Purity Ring, and Deltron 3030 performed in the larger Exploreasheville.com Arena. The highlight of the evening was Deltron 3030, which is on tour for Event II but played a triumphant, orchestra-assisted set heavy with tunes from the group’s eponymous 2000 album.
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If I could really walk between New Zealand and Iceland (or take a bus at least), I would be amazed. It seems I make a habit of catching artists from either country though. I’ve attended the New Zealand Showcase at (le) Poisson Rouge the last two years, so I decided to go again this year. And I heard that a new artist Ásgeir, would be performing with a special guest at an Iceland Airwaves showcase. I’m not getting out to that festival at the end of the month, so this might be the closest I’ll come to it.
The 2013 Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit will take place from October 25 - 27 in Asheville, North Carolina. AC Entertainment, Inc., the producer/promoter of the festival, has a history with electronic music events in Asheville, having previously produced and programmed the city’s Moogfest from 2010 to 2012. The promotional materials for the summit describe a “vision and programming philosophy” that “celebrate the creative spirit of musical exploration, along with the innovative spark that fuels all of the arts.”
At some point in time, music festivals transformed from being meeting places for like-minded music lovers to by-products of our binge-happy culture that wants all the things at the same place at the same time. Pitchfork Music Festival began as a gathering for fans of the website and, above all, fans of the bands that the website celebrates, but it has increasingly become a festival where, instead of artists and fans clashing in awkward and amusing ways, as one would expect at a festival where Yo La Tengo opens for R. Kelly, people simply listen to the music.
It’s a pessimistic observation to make, but it’s the type of thought you have when your eyes wander away from a Yo La Tengo guitar solo and onto the crowd: frowning R. Kelly fans in lawn chairs (not festival-approved, mind you) at the front, young teens in the middle frantically checking the Pitchfork Music Festival app in between glances at Ira Kaplan swinging his guitar like Kurt Cobain, and, in the back, the older clusters of friends that enter and leave the festival as groups, rarely talking to anyone they didn’t come with.
But first, a little further east at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, was the headline event of NXNE 2013: The National. Finding a spot to park my bike amongst the thousands who’d flocked downtown for the free concert was quite the task, but not nearly as difficult as finding a spot with decent sightlines to catch the band of brothers and the increasingly aged-looking Matt Berninger. Sure, the band’s mix of classics and cuts from their latest, Trouble Will Find Me, was entertaining enough. Yet age has certainly affected this band’s aesthetic, as a hardened realism ends up playing out in tracks like “Graceless”, which sound much more driving than anything they’ve ever done.
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