My friend and I ate dinner as soon as we arrived in Asheville. It was nothing special. I’m not going to rip on the restaurant we ate at, but it was nothing special. We ran to the Active Child concert.
Active Child gave a super strange concert that was weirdly epic. The whole thing was just this grown ginger man, sitting down and playing the harp. And it was awesome! Every Active Child song was like finding a new way to cry. Pat Grossi is an emotional wreck, but my god, did he give one hell of a performance, which ended with one final cry behind a bombastic, bass-heavy beat.
The M83 concert also got off to a weird start. A man in a mask walked onstage. Trippy? Yes. But the audience knew what was happening. It was time for M83. The man in the mask (mask seen here) slowly raised both hands, commanding the audience’s attention, and the audience responded obediently, raising its hands along with him. Then, the man dropped his hands and ran offstage. Strange. Anthony Gonzalez and the band walked on a few minutes later behind the “Intro” beat. I was able to see them perform “Intro,” “Midnight City,” and “Reunion” before I had to leave, and each was amazing and epic, and I’m overusing the word “epic,” but really guys, you had to be there. The performance was spectacular and surprisingly pitch-perfect, not to mention that everything that happened in the Asheville Civic Center was only enhanced by the fish swimming in the sky (Lil Wayne reference?), the kaleidoscope visuals on the big screen, and the awkward, drug-induced swaying (dancing?) from the audience. We ran out of there in horror and because it was time for the Childish Gambino concert. Hurry up, we’re dreaming.
We had a front-row view of the Childish Gambino concert, which was awesome. We saw the stage being set up: Ludwig Gorannson tuning his guitar, Thomas Drayton setting up his bass (slappin da bass, man), and Sad Billy Idol polishing his violin (or whatever violinists do). When Donald didn’t come on stage at exactly the scheduled time, the young crowd quickly got impatient, chanting “Gambino! Gambino! Gambino!” Finally, he came out rapping “Hero” from last year’s Culdesac. The next hour and a half consisted of everybody’s favorite Gambino tracks. It’s actually kind of amazing. The guy has so many hits already–before his first commerical release. Some of the highlights from the concert were the never-before-performed-live “L.E.S.” and “Heartbeat” from Camp, his “Rolling in the Deep” remix with John Legend’s vocals, his freestyle over the “I’m A Boss” beat, and the “Lights Turned On” rager to close the show. I don’t think I can tell you how great the it all was. Donald Glover is on a whole ‘nother level. You can see and hear his passion as he performs. Like, actual, real, raw passion. Amazing.
Passion Pit came on soon after Gambino which ended a little bit late. It was the last show of the night for us. Michael Angelakos and Co. could not have ended it any more perfectly. Passion Pit has got hits, and they played all of them. The crowd really got into it, too, and Angelakos had so much (drunken) charisma on stage; it was infectious. Everybody was dancing and singing along. I’m still amazed that Angelakos could stay in his upper register the ENTIRE night and be on pitch THE ENTIRE TIME. Passion Pit as a whole is just good at its job. Manners live sounded like CD-quality Manners; oh, but they didn’t stop at Manners. They played new material, too, “testing” songs as they tour North America. At Moogfest, they tested two songs from their sophomore effort; both strangely patriotic (one was called “American Bride”; the other was called something else. It was the better of the two).
Huh. God bless America, I guess.
The Sunday schedule is literally what I’ll be doing on Sunday. Step-by-step. Play-by-play. (Really, it’s to help my stalker out, ‘cause right now, I’m beginning to think I don’t have one! Yikes!)
Friday, October 28
5:15 – 6:15 Matthew Dear
6:30 – 7:30 Mayer Hawthorne & the County
7:30 – 8:30 The Antlers
MP3: “Putting the Dog to Sleep” – The Antlers
(8:30 – 8:00 Time travel)
8:00 – 9:00 Little Dragon
9:00 – 9:30 RELAX
9:30 – 11:00 Chromeo (over Holy F**k? Tough call.)
11:00 – 12:00 Moby
12:30 – 2:00 – TV on the Radio
Saturday, October 29
2:00 – 4:00 Brian Eno’s Illustrated Talk (if you bought tickets)
4:00 – 5:00 The Naked & Famous
MP3: “All of This” – The Naked & Famous
5:00 – 6:00 YACHT
MP3: “Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire)” – YACHT
6:30 – 7:30 SBTRKT (bands with all CAPS letters, stick togethers)
MP3: “Never Never” – SBTRKT
7:30 – 8:00 Catch the end of the Crystal Castles show!
8:30 – 9:30 The Flaming Lips
9:30 – 10:45 Toro y Moi (SC REPRESENT!)
MP3: “Blessa (Daytrotter Session)” – Toro y Moi
10:45 – 12:15 St. Vincent (Crush ninjas like I’m crushing on Annie Clark…)
12:45 – 2:00 Battles
Sunday, October 30
5:30 – 6:15 Active Child
6:30 – 7:00 M83 (The show goes ‘til 7:45, but I’ll have to run over to the Renaissance Asheville Hotel for the Childish Gambino show, missing both The Drums AND Neon Indian. Gah!)
MP3: “Fall” – M83
7:15 – 8:30 Childish Gambino
MP3: “Verse on DJ Sosupersam’s ‘This Way Up’ Mixtape” – Childish Gambino
8:30 – 9:00 The Gambino show is over. Lose your shit. You can die peacefully now. Now, run over to the Asheville Civic Center to catch some of the James Murphy show!
9:00 – 10:30 Passion Pit
MP3: “Little Secrets” – Passion Pit
10:30 – 11:15 Ghostland Observatory (The show goes ‘til 11:45, but I wanna see Gold Panda!)
11:15 – 11:30 Drive to The Orange Peel, blasting Gold Panda.
11:30 – 12:30 Gold Panda
Check out the Moogfest website for the full schedule, ticket information, and much much more.
Active Child, also known as Pat Grossi, is releasing a new record called You Are All I See via Vagrant Records on August 23rd. When I started listening to the album, I was blown away. Opening track “You Are All I See” was a beautiful start; I felt as if I was being lead into the ocean with my eyes wide open. Colorful, refreshing, smooth, cool – it felt great. As the album went on, I started to feel as though Active Child was trying a bit too hard to be dark and grandiose. The album fits with the times, taking the likes of James Blake, Bon Iver, and SBTRKT and pulling it into Pat Grossi’s own backyard, which features a unique blend of electronic music and the occasional acoustic harp plucking. The mixture is quite beautiful and unique, but with an album ten songs long, I was left begging for more depth, more diversity in the sounds. There are a few standout tracks that I gave five stars, but the remainder become a jumbled mix of falsetto, drums, twinkling sounds, and synthesized instruments that all sound about the same.
I am begging myself to like this album and to not write such a harsh review. Perhaps with more listens, the songs will begin to separate themselves. There are standout tracks on the album, which, for me, include “You Are All I See,” “Hanging On,” High Priestess,” and “Ivy.” The rest, however, send the message that Pat Grossi hit a creative block somewhere along the way. I do believe, though, that Active Child has the potential to be something great, but perhaps it will take something drastic like heartbreak and entering a period of solitude for Grossi to take it to the next level.
*Not from the actual album
Album Rating: 5/10
Continue reading to see upcoming tour dates and album tracklisting.