Interview: Andy McCluskey of OMD (@ Wolf Trap, 6/15/16)

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Andy McCluskey (left) and Paul Humphreys of OMD (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

As a champion of new wave music in general and synthesizers specifically, one of my biggest musical heroes is Andy McCluskey, frontman for the groundbreaking British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). A decade ago, Andy reunited with collaborator Paul Humphreys and relaunched the classic OMD lineup, which has been publishing new albums in recent years. And here in the United States, OMD remains celebrated for ‘80s singles such as “Enola Gay,” “So in Love,” and of course “If You Leave” (the band’s contribution to the soundtrack of the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink).

I had the singular honor of chatting with Andy recently about OMD’s upcoming tour of America, recent projects (including a new OMD album in the making), and matters of state in the European Union! [We also discussed more politics, but I cut some of that in favor of length and focus.]

Mickey McCarter: Hello, Andy!

Andy McCluskey: Mickey, hello again, how are you?

MM: Great! How are you?

AM: Great! I just got home from a very successful concert in Stockholm over the weekend, and the sun is shining in England, so all is good. [OMD played in Stockholm recently on May 21.]

MM: Fantastic! Since you mention that concert, you’ve been doing quite a bit of live album shows and releases, and that all seems to be going very well.

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Music Park: Moogfest 2016 Pt. 3 of 3 (Durham, NC) — 5/21/16

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It’s Gary Numan’s Day on the third day of Moogfest 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Saturday, May 21, could have been Gary Numan Day in Durham, NC, as the Moogfest headliner had quite a day there. First, he received the 2016 Moog Innovation Award in an afternoon ceremony, and then he performed the third of three concerts a few hours later at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theatre.

Sadly, I couldn’t make Gary’s award ceremony as the 2pm time conflicted with a Moogfest show by Gwenno, who was high on my “to see” list for the synthesizer festival.

Toward the end of her show, Welsh songstress Gwenno apologized for the sad lyrics of songs on her debut solo album, Y Dydd Olaf, which after all was inspired by a Welsch dystopian science fiction novel of the same name from 1976. (The title translates as “the last day.”)

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Music Park: Gary Numan (Telekon) @ Moogfest 2016 — 5/21/16

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Gary Numan performs during Moogfest 2016 at the Carolina Theatre on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

When Kraftwerk performed as headliner in three shows for Moogfest 2014, the synthesizer pioneers essentially played the same (very good) show three times.

Gary Numan, being something of an overachiever, performed three different shows over three different nights as the headliner for Moogfest 2016. On the last day of Moogfest, Gary had quite a day — first receiving the 2016 Moog Innovation Award in a ceremony on Saturday, May 21, and then performing the third of his three concerts a few hours later at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC.

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Music Park: Gwenno @ Moogfest 2016 — 5/21/16

Gwenno 15 Gwenno performs during Moogfest in Durham, NC, on May 21, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Toward the end of her show, Welsh songstress Gwenno apologized for the sad lyrics of songs on her debut solo album, Y Dydd Olaf, which after all was inspired by a Welsch dystopian science fiction novel of the same name from 1976. (The title translates as “the last day.”)

“This song is called Calon Peiriant, which means the heart of the machine,” said Gwenno during a performance at the First Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC, on Saturday, May 21. “But you can pretend it’s about something much happier since it’s written in Welsh and you may not know the lyrics in a foreign language anyway. So this song is called ‘Heart of the Machine,’ or if you prefer, ‘I Love Red Wine.’”

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Don’t Miss: Yumi Zouma @ DC9, 6/8/16

Yumi-Zouma-Yoncalla-1-new-lead-photoYumi Zouma (Photo Courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR)

Yumi Zouma comes to DC9 on Wednesday, June 8th, bringing an effortless, breezy dreampop sound.

From New Zealand, the band includes Christie Simpson (lead vocals), Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder (guitar) and Josh Burgess.

Their new album, Yoncalla, came out today, May 27th, just in time for their US tour (started on May 25th in San Francisco). I recommend you buy yourself a copy quick, on iTunes or even a vinyl copy.

Songs like “Barricade (Matter Of Fact)” and “Keep It Close To Me” are the perfect complement to our newly found summer (or is it going to rain again?). Light, airy and completely catchy.

 

Yumi Zouma
DC9
Wednesday, June 8
Doors 8:30pm
$10
All ages

Don’t Miss: Firefly Music Festival @ The Woodlands of Dover, 6/16-6/19/16

Firefly 1Get excited for Firefly 2016!

The fifth annual Firefly Music Festival (June 16-19) is fast approaching. The full schedule is now available here.

With seven different stages and 134 bands and artists over four days, each day of this year’s festival will bring an impressive display of musical power.

Some highlights I’m looking forward to include; Ellie Goulding, CHVRCHES, Florence + The Machine, Silversun Pickups and Mumford & Sons.

Single day passes are also available if you can’t attend the full festival.

In addition to all the music you can handle, the food and alcohol options look promising. Nearly 30 restaurants will be available, from tacos to schnitzel to curry to BBQ to chicken and waffles and more.

Of course, since the festival is in Delaware, the partnership with Dogfish Head Brewery continues in the form of a grand tent, The Brewery. This year, the specialty beers are:

  1. Alternate Takes #1: a double IPA (ABV: 7.8)
  2. Alternate Takes #2: a Belgian-style brown ale (ABV: TBD)
  3. Biere de Provence: a summer saison (ABV: 8.3)

 

Firefly Music Festival
The Woodlands of Dover (Delaware)
Thursday, June 16 through Sunday, June 19
See full schedule for set times
$119 Single Day Pass ($319 4-Day Pass)
VIP: $699 4-Day Pass (Super VIP: $2499)
All ages

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Music Park: Moogfest 2016 Pt. 2 (of 3) (Durham, NC) — 5/20/16

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Art pop diva Grimes sings at Moogfest 2016 in Durham, NC, on Friday, May 20, 2016.

The sun was shining in Durham, NC, last weekend, and Moogfest 2016 was well underway! There were shows to review at this, the premiere music festival dedicated to the synthesizer, and I hopped straight to reviewing them.

I spent a lot of my time at Moogfest around what I guess would be the north end of the central downtown area in Durham, as Motorco Music Hall and its adjoining Motorco Park hosted a lot of the most interesting shows on the agenda. And it was well situated near other bars and the best downtown barbecue restaurant, The Pit.

While at Motorco Park on Friday, May 20, for the second day of Moogfest, I was introduced to Los Angeles noise rock trio HEALTH.

“Wow,” I said when I saw them. “That guy is playing his synthesizer ON THE GROUND.”

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