By Mark Taylor
Following on from our Moby preview article, Moby has recently been on a mini-tour in Brazil playing in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

I was present at the press conference with Moby last Friday (16th) at the Hotel Unique prior to him playing the first show there that evening. Moby is well known for being a devout Christian and Vegan, and in person comes across as very stoical and serious, albeit he cracked a smile now and then. Apparently he was tired and kept us waiting 2 hours beyond the official start of the conference, although the organisers tried their best to keep us entertained by holding a short conference with the sponsors (Nokia and Oi!) and the organisers themselves. When Moby appeared he was asked a number of questions, which unfortunately revolved more around his position on US politics which he is well known for having strong views on. It was a shame there weren’t more questions about his music. Aside from politics though I managed to ask him whether this was his first time in Brazil. He replied that he had been here in the early 90s during his “dancier” days and the rave scene with Ultra Nat, and was also here last year after he agreed during a drunken moment to DJ at a party organised by Diesel.

Moby also talked about his musical background. As a child he studied classical guitar and piano, from which he illogically jumped in his later years to form a punk rock band presumably to rebel a little, before settling into dance music in the early 90s (although his music is a somewhat undefinable blend of dance, classical, blues and rock). He was asked about the inspiration for his latest album cover, Hotel, which shows the back of his head as he looks through a window onto a city. He said that the cover was shot in his hometown of New York, from a hotel built across the road from his home. So he’s actually looking down at his own house from this hotel.

Those who are aware of Moby’s music will know that he has contributed more than a track or two to movies, but he explained that typically he’s just asked to contribute a song that he’s already written, so he doesn’t write specifically for film. The only change to this was for a James Bond film several years back where he was asked to jazz up the original theme, although he said it was his typical bad luck that it was one of the worst Bond films to-date. He also mentioned that he’s a big fan of Richard Kelly, who released Donnie Darko back in 2001, and is now working on music for Kelly’s new film, Southland Tales.

The ticket prices for the shows, particularly at Hotel Unique (at a whopping R$300) were also queried. Moby himself wasn’t aware of what was being charged, to no great surprise, and hoped that it hadn’t caused people too much hardship. He cited the prices at Espaco das Americas being lower than those at Hotel Unique, and hoped that people would be able to attend. The organisers were also queried on this prior to Moby’s appearance and they cited the small capacity of the venues for the higher prices (particularly the Hotel Unique, with a capacity for 3000 people). It was also queried why they had chosen such a small venue in São Paulo (10,000 vs. 18,000 in Rio), and the organisers said they had been unable to book a larger venue.

With his recent albums like Play, 18, and Hotel, Moby said that a lot of inspiration comes from “beautiful voices”. Moby is well know in these albums for using samples or recreating certain styles of music e.g. blues, which are then used with a contemporary musical background.

I don’t want to dedicate too much of this article to Moby’s view on politics, despite the previously mentioned dominance of the press conference with questions on this topic from Brazilian journalists. Suffice to say he’s not a fan of George Bush.

Last Tuesday (20th) I also went to Moby’s final show in Brazil of his mini-tour at Espaco das Americas, close to Barra Funda metro station. The venue itself was relatively easy to find, spacious, and well staffed (typical of Brazilin venues). Although it was poorly designed for stage shows as the stage itself was off centre, meaning that half the audience got to face a wall. They had tried their best to compensate for this though by placing a huge screen on the offending wall, as well as other screens around the venue.

The capacity at Espaco das Americas was cited to be 10,000 people, and despite the high ticket price it appeared to be close to or at capacity. Prior to the show itself a DJ was playing some well selected tracks, and close to the 11pm show time people stopped milling about and a few actually began to dance. At 11pm(ish) Moby came on with his group, to the Intro track from Hotel (his latest album). They played several tracks from Hotel, as well as the more popular tracks from 18 and Play, and also some of his Golden Oldies such as Go! (a rave track with a sample from Twin Peaks) and Feeling So Real (which even Moby described as ridiculously over the top rave track). Moby ordinarily plays most of the instruments and even sings on his albums, although he does recruit the odd person. Of course when playing live he needs a lot more support so he had a female vocalist (from the UK) as well as a bass guitarist, drummer, and keyboard player. Moby himself alternated between singing, playing lead guitar, playing the bongos, and just dancing around the stage.

Moby was a pretty good compere, complaining about the layout of the stage and apologising as well as dedicating a song to those poor souls facing the wall on the right-hand side of the venue. He also spoke “Obrigado” a few times at the end of songs (although often it was repeated “thank you thank you thank you’s” which it had to be said did disrupt the music a little), as well as running some political commentary on Bush. I saw him play in Switzerland 3 or so years ago, and he also apologised then for 1. being an “ignorant American” and 2. for George Bush, which received raputurous applause both in Switzerland and here in Brazil. He even got the entire audience to “give the finger” to Mr. Bush, and took a photo. I’m not sure if he’ll be forwarding it. Moby showed more than a passing interest for the nationality of his audience and played a Sepultura song (a Brazilian Heavy Metal group) as well as a Bossanova style version of Radiohead’s Creep.

All-in-all it was a great show in terms of both music and entertaintment, Moby didn’t dissapoint.

Here are some of my photos from the show (click on the thumbnail to see the larger version).

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Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review Brazil: Moby Review
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