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Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • Mr Beck goes to Moogfest - join him if you will

    For a nice fat album full of Moogfest memories, head over to our facebook page - it's at https://www.facebook.com/pg/MainDragMusic/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155567634874905

    We set sail for the unexplored coast of North Carolina on a Wednesday. In a mini-cooper.

    The bewildering sense that we'd soon be surrounded by a transcontinental collective of like minded individuals made the three hours of sun baked Holland Tunnel traffic bearable, even 'zen' if you will. And by we, I mean my wife Molly and I. We have been married for 10 years and I can think of no other travel partner who could compare. She is a visual artist, set designer, activist, pit-bull dog mother and tougher than I. Moog was kind enough to hook me up with a couple of general admission passes, and given the current socio-political climate I felt it absolutely necessary for her to join me amongst the sea of delightful and peaceful nerds. Frankly, Moogfest makes our NYC bubble feel more like an orb of effervescence rising up through the cola that is America. We were immediately embraced by folks from all over the world who did just come to party, but to learn and experience, to discuss and debate. Truly, it was utopia.

    Part 1: CAMPING

    We arrived at our original campsite only to find an ignorant neighbor was upset by the themes of the festival (science, equality, creativity, humanitarianism, consciousness, love) and decided to make a fuss, involving the Durham police dept. ROMR (www.romr.com) scrambled to relocate the site and much to our amazement, landed upon the Charles R. Keith Arboretum (http://www.keitharboretum.com). Charles Keith, now in his late 80's, spent his life traveling the world collecting cuttings, saplings and seeds which he planted by hand on this 100 acre property. In the center of the property amongst Japanese white birch and Scandinavian willow stood a confused great sequoia. The original cutting had been clipped from another that had been struck by lightning and destroyed. Mr. Keith planted the small cutting in 1986. In 2017, a mere 31 years later, it stands 85 feet tall.
    His late 1800's home was a homage to all things Tolkien and Emerson and Thoreau. The ceilings were inches above my head and held up by petrified wooden beams. The library was through a smallish oblong door and among the many, many hardbound books was a massive rock garden with obvious figurines of personal value littered throughout. I have never seen a home tell such a vibrant story of its owner. There was a claw-foot bathtub with brass fixtures available for us to wash the grime of camping off. I must mention that I thoroughly enjoy camping and do not mind the rust of dirt around my ankles, however I do not care much for venomous snakes. While lying in my hammock in the early morning sun, my wife uttered an unpleasant phrase: "Stay in the hammock, it's coming right at you, I have to go". I peered over the edge of the parachute nylon and saw beneath me a 4 foot water moccasin gently sliding through the brush, likely on his way to the nearby Koi pond for a sip of water. Molly and I decided that we'd be sleeping on the porch from then on.

    Part 2: MOOGFEST

    The city of Durham expanded rapidly following the civil war due to a thriving, exploding tobacco industry. The epicenter of the festival, which was laid out much like SXSW, was at the former Bull Durham Tobacco campus. A sprawling industrial complex with massive wooden beams and thick walls of brick was now hosting an event catering to all walks of life, sharing a communal love for creativity and enlightenment. Michael Winslow, famous for his role as Larvelle Jones in all 7 Police Academy films, performed using only his voice in the center of campus for a large crowd of receptive parents and enthralled children as we walked in. The vibe was set.

    Inside the air-conditioned complex was a synthesizer enthusiasts compiled lifetime christmas list of knobs, buttons and sliders. Moog engineers were on-site building the new Subsequent 37 CV right in the middle of it all as people mulled about, grasping for headphones like outstretching branches as they sunk into the quicksand of overstimulation. Their MoogFest exclusive DRAM (drummer from another mother) module was nearly unapproachable. I had to pretend that I was a press photographer just to get close enough. It was so much fun to mess with that I forgot to take the photo.

    MoogFest is in a league of it's own when it comes to music festivals. We sat in a beautiful theater called the Carolina for a 2 hour discussion with some of CERN's lead scientists and engineers for the large hadron collider. The machine, which is 17 miles long and costs nearly 7 billion dollars, smashes particles together at nearly the speed of light. It has led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, also known as the "God particle", which gives other particles their mass. We tend to think of mass as intrinsic to an object and an object is built out of particles, but without the higgs boson, mass fundamentally would not exist. I have not the squishy grey matter to really interpret this idea, and that is exactly why Moogfest is so f*@cking amazing! These alien brain boxes came all the way from Switzerland to talk to us...at a music festival...in Durham North Carolina. Molly separately went to a discussion led by a man who's name escapes me with an aluminum peg leg that worked closely with Carl Sagan. During the Voyager program, he wanted to include an etching of the nude human form. This idea was rejected by some sort of Òlewdness advisory boardÓ, so he developed a device that measured the hertz of a vaginal contraction and fired them as radio waves towards the nearest black hole over the next 40 years. Another interesting talk involved a man who, using an arduino based software program called Supercollider (open-source), mimicked the algorithmic patterns of fireflies by striking found objects such as gears with tiny robotic arms individually mic'd. The result being a familiar, organic and beautifully resonant symphony of tuned metal objects. With a similar approach, he also recorded the sound of ice melting off of the magnolia tree in his front yard and assigned the droplets to the fret-board of a guitar. The result being an indistinguishable shift from gentle water sounds to frantic and frayed classical guitar. You might wonder, why dedicate so much time and effort into something so devoid of practical application? But then, just sit back and think of how beautiful it is that this man simply enjoys the process. It certainly makes watching television a lot more plebeian an activity. And again, this is the spirit of Moogfest.

    Part 3: MOOGFEST PERFORMANCES

    Molly and I considered the performances somewhat secondary to our mission of engaging with other like-minded people, but what makes this festival so special is the integration of the programming. The seamless transition of science, technology, engineering, art and science IS the festival. It is the sum of its parts. The overall experience is the point of attending. That being said, Animal Collective, Flying Lotus, Wolf Eyes, Talib Kweli, Noveller, S U R V I V E, Zola Jesus, Simian Mobile Disco, 808 State, Gotye, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Pharmakon, is a mind altering line-up. There were tons of other acts that I didn't get to see and wish that I could have. The outdoor main stage was the late night meeting point and from there, after the main acts, everyone found themselves over at The Armory to end the evening with chest thumping hallucinatory DJ sets and psychedelic visual projections. Not a speck of litter was left on the streets for the ENTIRE festival. The amount of respect the patrons of Moogfest had for one another was a testament to the brand and mission. Moog is not just a manufacturer of electronic musical equipment. Moog is an appreciation for futurist thought and action. In our world today, I can think of no better benchmark. They are a socially conscious and active, employee owned, ethical SMALL business with soul. Sounds familiar to me.

    Thanks to Nick, Linda and Andrew of Moog www.moogmusic.com , to Saria of RabbitholeFX www.rabbitholfx.com , Greg Fox of www.pioneerworks.org , Sarah of Noveller www.sarahlipstate.com , Adriel, Brian and Chad at ROMR www.romr.com , Matt of Sensorium www.sensorium.works, our camp family (too many to name), The Dream Wanderer Magic Bus crew, and all of the friends that we made whose names I don't remember. If it's any consolation, I won't ever forget you.

    Lastly to my wife Molly for being the coolest and most supportive person in my past, present and future life. We were older yesterday and getting younger by the minute.

    MOOG$$$LIFE.

  • Thursday, May 18th - Vox Tiny Amp Concert

    Vox Amplification and Main Drag Music present The Tiny Amp Concert featuring Vox's revolutionary NuTube MV50 amp line.

    Join us Thursday, May 18th at 8:00 for a closer look at Vox's ground-breaking new line. Experts will be on hand to explain this amazing new amplification technology and three great local bands: Jessica Ackerley, Overlake and Sic Tic will showcase all three of the MV50 styles on our stage. Beverages will be served and, of course, we'll be offering special discounts on all Vox products.

    Prepare to have everything you thought you knew about guitar amps wiped away by these ultra compact tone-plants!

    See you Thursday, and check out the amazing tones in the meantime!

  • Main Drag featured in new Jojo Mayer Doc

    This is beyond cool! One of our favourite musician's on earth has a new (and quite beautifully done) documentary out. Superb bit of storytelling, and just happens to feature a little music store in Brooklyn and our resident drum genius in it.

    Check it out! We're at 14:45, but make sure to watch the whole thing, it's a fascinating glimpse into this great musician's mind.

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