LIVE REPORTMOKUDO TEI7/27 FRI
Lullabies To Snooze By?
Mokudotei is a tiny stage perched in the forest near the Field of Heaven stage along the one-way boardwalk. The audience seat themselves on their own camping chairs around the stage, or find a convenient rock to perch on for lack of anything better. This gives some indication of the vibe Mokudotei deals in: when the crowd aren’t nodding along they’re probably nodding off.
As we wait for Nick Moon to take the stage, Goma and the Jungle Rhytmn Section’s didgeridoo beats are pulsing brashly through the cool respite of the forest canopy and one wonders how Nick Moon’s set will compete against Goma as well the trill of cicadas and crickets all around. Luckily, his set starts just as theirs ends.
Moon enters the stage to soporific afternoon applause and kicks off with a breathy piano ballad before segueing into layered electronic motifs, a theme that runs through much of his set and through his recently released album “Circus Moon”. He pauses between songs and endears himself to the crowd with some pretty passable Japanese. His set is arresting enough to slow boardwalk foot-traffic, but not enough to cause a human pile-up in the woods. He’s a good example of the kind of artist who does well out of a Fuji Rock crowd, having played here in 2013 with his band “Kyte”.
Moon’s dream-pop veers between moods: first these hazy, warm refrains that wouldn’t be out of place on a movie soundtrack, eliciting from our collective false memory summer afternoons of low sun and and beaches that we probably only experienced vicariously through music videos. It’s saccharine and a little underwhelming, Moon’s hushed vocals more the unthreatening dirty caller you wished you’d had on the other end of the phone as a teenager. But the opposing mood that comes through on stronger songs like “Animals” where cascading synth runs and a darker mood take over and are much more compelling experience, for this listener at least, and would be much more fitting at a different time of day.
His set was well-received, but Moon probably would have benefited from a later slot in a more intimate setting – something with four walls, some laser lighting and a more liberal application of booze.