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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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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Music Park: Gary Numan (The Pleasure Principle) @ Moogfest 2016 — 5/20/16

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Gary Numan sings at the Carolina Theatre during Moogfest 2016 on May 20. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Whereas on the first night of his Moogfest residency Gary Numan played a lot of guitar, on the second night, he played a lot of synthesizer. With as much passion as ever, Gary threw himself across a Virus TI imbuing warmth into crystalline synthpop.

Hewing mostly to the tracklist order, Gary continued his Moogfest residency with a night dedicated to his album The Pleasure Principle at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC, on Friday, May 20. The Pleasure Principle, the second of three albums in Gary’s “Machine Trilogy,” is easily the most universally recognized of his early records in part because of the still-ubiquitous hit single “Cars,” which he performed with as much fervor as ever at the midpoint of his set.

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Music Park: HEALTH @ Moogfest 2016 — 5/20/16

Health 12 HEALTH perform at Motorco Park for Moogfest 2016 on May 20, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

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

And indeed John Famiglietti of HEALTH switched up from bass to synth, swinging the bass around to his back to swoop down on the synthesizer rig in front of him, laid flat on a plastic crate. As a man fond of big cinematic flourishes, he may have been the star player in this specific show by his band HEALTH, performing at the Motorco Park in Durham, NC, on Friday, May 20.

That’s not to say that John could do this show single-handedly! He was capably met, and balanced, by frontman Jake Duzsik, who sang in a manner occasionally evocative of New Order’s Barney Sumner and also played some dazzling guitar. Side by side, Jake and John present quite the team, effortlessly merging dynamic rock with sweeping electronics. (Drummer Benjamin Jared Miller was good as well!)

And so it was that Los Angeles noise rock trio HEALTH brought flair to Moogfest 2016.

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Snapshots: Grimes @ Moogfest 2016 — 5/20/16

Grimes 11 Grimes charms at Moogfest 2016 at Motorco Park on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Having released her fifth album, Art Angels, late last year, Grimes has officially hit the mainstream. She sold out the 9:30 Club in DC about 10 days ago, hit the Sweetlife Festival locally, and proved a big sensation on the second day of Moogfest 2016.

For Moogfest, Grimes performed at Motorco Park in Durham, NC, on Friday, May 20, 2016, and the place went insane. People clamored for a better view of the awkward, shy singer, who has become more and more musically accessible throughout her career.

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