A Buddhist chant for AC/DC? A string quartet played by seismic data? Three separate Dresden Dolls shows in as many days?
Yeah, A. and I have just been to MONA FOMA
Or to give it's full title: the Museum of Old and New Art's Festival Of Music and Art. Like that full title, this write-up is going to get long. I might split it into three parts. BACKGROUND
Regular readers may remember me raving about MONA
after we visited it in April last year. MONA FOMA is a music festival run by the same people. It's funded by MONA, and curated by Brian Ritchie, who used to be the bass player for the Violent Femmes.
Remember that. It becomes important later.
The festival has a reputation for being eclectic to the point of eccentric, and for having big name acts performing very cheaply. Two of the headliners for this year where the Dresden Dolls and PJ Harvey.
I booked tickets as soon as they went on sale.
Then one of the other headliners (Death Grips) had to cancel. The festival organizers asked the Dresden Dolls if they would play a second set.
Amanda Palmer thought that would be boring. So she came up with another plan, and persuaded Brian Ritchie, Mick Harvey and John Parish to form a supergroup with the Dolls and play the entire first Violent Femmes album live. WEDNESDAY 18 JAN
A. and I flew down to Hobart. Apart from PJ, the Dolls and this supergroup, I had no idea who or what else would be playing at the festival.
We landed in the afternoon, caught up with some friends, and had a nice dinner in a fancy Indian restaurant. The headliners for that night were Girl Talk, but they were sold out and we weren't that interested, so we basically had an early night. THURSDAY 19 JAN
Thursday morning we caught the ferry to MONA to check out the new Wim Delvoye exhibition. (Delvoye created Cloaca, the machine that digests food and produces shit.)
Back on the early afternoon ferry. A bit of rest. Then down to Princes Wharf 1, the giant shed on the harbour where most of the MONA FOMA acts were playing.
Thursday night was the Dresden Dolls headlining. While we waited for them, we saw... SENYAWA
- an Indonesia two piece. Vocals and a self-made bamboo sitar/guitar/percussion instrument. They played sort of grindy metal mixed with folk dancing. TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA
- Japanese artist who plugs the output of a mixing desk back into itself, and mixes the resulting feedback into noise music. Brutal and transcendant, but I could only last half an hour before my ears hurt and we bailed. PRINCE RAMA
- shiny sparkly psychedelic Hare Krishna electro pop from a Brooklyn duo. KELLY O'DEMPSEY
painted on a giant paper scroll while the Tasmanian Improvised Orchestra played. We left half way through to try and get a good spot for the Dresden Dolls, and ended up about one row back from the barrier.
THE DRESDEN DOLLS
were great. We were directly in front of the left-hand speaker stack, so it was *loud*. The show didn't quite have the manic energy of the recent gig at the Forum in Melbourne - the Dolls we giving it their all, but they seemed a little tired or the audience was a bit more subdued. But this is only a relative comparison: they were ripping it up and audience loved it.
There was an official after-party at the festival club FauxMo
, but we chose to go home and get some rest instead.(To be continued...)