10 Artists To See At MoogFest

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Whether your thing is knob-twiddling IDMers, dance, funk bands or psych-rock, MoogFest has you covered. And, wisely, they’ve programmed it so that fans will have to make some hard decisions. Girl Talk or Panda Bear? Thievery Corporation or Jonsi? Here are 10 artists we don’t want to miss.

MGMT and Kuroma

Okay, technically two bands. But they are on tour together now and the enfant terrible mastermind of Kuroma, Hank Sullivant, was once a member of MGMT. Sullivant’s classy mix of pop hooks, synth lines and weighty, often-personal lyrics is a perfect aperitif to MGMT’s Congratulations material, which finds Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser exploring more of the ‘60s than 2007’s blockbuster, ‘80s-vibing Oracular Spectacular. Hit up the one-two punch of Kuroma and MGMT with a side of Big Boi in the middle.

Four Tet

October has found Kieran Hebden playing a string of dates in North America before he heads back across the pond to finish out the year. His 2010 album, There Is Love In You, is an exquisitely beautiful affair filled with repetitive electronic fugues, while Four Tet’s live show turns the sampler station into a science lab, with dance beats aplenty.

Big Boi

After fellow ATLien Cee Lo had to cancel his Sunday night MoogFest gig, Big Boi is guaranteed to bring it, especially coming off the heels of his latest release, the stompin’, struttin’ Sir Lucius Left Foot. Big Boi is also one of the few hip-hop acts at a dance and electronic-heavy festival.


Sigur Ros’ Jónsi Birgisson came out from behind the curtain of his ethereal Icelandic band for this year’s Go. Much anticipation awaits the singer’s solo set at MoogFest, with the not-too-distant memory of Sigur Ros’ legendary wee hours set at Bonnaroo in 2008. For his solo album Go, Jónsi enlisted New York composer Nico Muhly. He’s been playing a few shows around the U.S. Watch the capes and feathers fly!

Panda Bear

With the release last week of the second installment in the Tomboy series, “You Can Count on Me” backed with “Alsatian Darn,” excitement over the forthcoming full album from Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox has reached a feverish pitch. Audio and video from recent solo appearances at Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival and the Pitchfork Festival have been scrutinized, as no doubt his MoogFest set will be.

DâM-FunK (DJ set)

Known for identifying the artist and track titles when he spins obscure cuts, Dam’s (nee Damon Riddick) DJ sets are legendary in L.A. He used to play keyboards on G-funk rap records in the ‘90s and recorded his album Toeachhizown with a decidedly ‘90s mentality: hardware drum machines, synths, tracked to CD. Hopefully, he’s still calling out the hits when he spins. The tracklisting from a recent mixtape, Beautiful Music 4 Beautiful People, is filled with nuggets.


Javelin cousins George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk are guaranteed to put on a party at their late-late 2:20 a.m. set Friday night (er, Saturday morning) at the Moogaplex. We recently spoke with the guys about their new country album, but for their live shows they’re still playing hits like it’s the high school prom, banging out numbers like “Vibrationz” and the HEALTH remix “In Heat.”

Dan Deacon

What will Dan Deacon come up with at MoogFest? It seems like a match made in heaven. The Baltimore sonic sculptor seems patently created for a MoogFest spectacle. Indeed, he’s calling one of his two festival sets “Dan Deacon’s Ambient Analog Moog Set,” which just gets the mental juices going. While both sets are listed on his website as “solo,” he recently took a 15-piece band on the road to bring his album Bromst to life. One guess for MoogFest is that the early set will lean on the ambient – gurgling Moog synth lines floating on top of Deacon-esque noise – while the later set will pull from the party-heavy jams of Spiderman Of The Rings.

Neon Indian

A consummate gear head, Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo contacted Moog Music shortly before his meteoric rise to fame. The instrument maker hooked him up with some gear and filled in some questions on vintage equipment. So when the call came to play MoogFest, Palomo was undoubtedly psyched. His performance at MoogFest should be a good one. It’s one of his last gigs before he heads to Helsinki for the winter to work on the followup to Psychic Chasms.

Bernie Worrell

Volt Per Octaves (featuring Bernie Worrell)
Headtronics (featuring Freekbass, Bernie Worrell and DJ Spooky)

With the super-cool epithet of “most sampled keyboardist ever,” Bernie Worrell, founding member of P-Funk, will appear with the Portland, Oregon-based Volt Per Octaves, a family band consisting of Nick Montoya, his wife Anna and 12-year-old daughter Eve. Worrell will also play with Headtronics, featuring Bootsy Collins’ protégé Freekbass and DJ Spooky. Worrell, who has received the Moog Lifetime Achievement Award, and is also known for his work with Talking Heads, is perhaps the quintessential musician to represent the forward-thinking nature of Moog.

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Kurt Vile At Mercy Lounge, Nashville, 10/23/2010