Durham, N.C. — Moogfest organizers tried to showcase the diverse genres of music that have adopted synthesizers, and Friday’s Motorco Park performance from HEALTH proved they succeeded.
The Los Angeles band moved from noise rock to metal to dance with ease, sometimes sewing all three genres together at once. As drummer Benjamin Jared Miller slammed out blast beats, bassist John Famiglietti twisted synth knobs and headbanged, spinning his long dark hair like a helicopter.
The act set the tone for the night at Motorco Park, where group after group brought immense energy to the venue. Late in the evening, electro duo ODESZA strode onto the same stage and delivered a set of elastic, earworm-filled indie dance music.
Inside Motorco Park, attendees moved in unison, waving glow sticks and in one case, a green lightsaber. Outside, a group of hula hoopers converged, spinning hypnotically and contorting in and out of their red hoops. For anyone within earshot, the urge to dance was almost overpowering.
While HEALTH and ODESZA bookended Friday’s slate, Grimes was easily the star of the night.
The indie synthpop queen, who was backed by three dancers, seemed ready to erupt with energy as she roamed the stage, dancing wildly, falling on her back and unleashing guttural roars into the the microphone. And yet, whenever she seemed on the verge of combustion, she would leap up, onto her keyboard platform, to sing in her high, controlled falsetto.
At one point, perhaps to show the full range of her powers, she transitioned into a rendition of “Ave Maria,” complete with arpeggiated backing music, before launching into “Oblivion,” a crowd favorite.
Coming in to Moogfest, Grimes was one of the most talked about artists on the bill. On Friday, she didn’t disappoint.