Moby has always been an intriguing person. He’s proved to be a popular, energetic and innovative creator. He also has a number of personal struggles that have gained public attention and earned him some notoriety. He has managed to turn those challenges around by bettering himself with a thoughtful introspection and advocating for both personal growth and social and cultural change. Moby kicked off NeueHouse’s “Sunset Sounds” on Friday with a special acoustic performance referencing his new Deutsche Gramophone album “Reprise,” followed by a screening of “Moby Doc.” The event concluded with Moby manning the wheels of steel with a DJ set. The album and film were both released on May 28th.
The Moby Doc and Reprise event was held at sunset on the NeueHouse outdoor terrace overlooking Sunset Boulevard. The open-air event space on the third floor of the mixed use building is located in the former home of the historic CBS radio building and studio, across from Gower Gulch where Rodney Bingenheimer’s favorite Denny’s is located. The terrace is facing west, so the location gets all the marvelous golden light of sundown. The area is wide open and you have a 240-degree view of Hollywood’s wonderful architecture, rife with towers and those iconic palm trees. There are plenty of comfortable seating options and a bar in the back. NeueHouse has large attentive wait staff to wait on you wherever you may be seated with a menu of delightful food and drink options.
Photo Gallery after the Break
Moby started off the evening with some casual banter and storytelling infused with an acoustic set of songs from Reprise, aided on melodica by Charles Gooding with backing vocals by Julie Mintz. Moby likened his approach that night to spending an evening with friends, saying, “One, I hate touring. If I never have to go on tour again I’ll be very happy. What I love doing is playing music with my friends, in my backyard, as a bunch of people here will attest to. I like setting in the backyard and playing cover songs eating vegan pizza and being stupid. That is my ideal way of touring.”
He then opened the performance with his rendition of The Doors’ LA Woman and Guns and Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine. It was loose, campy, and fun. I don’t know the capacity of the Terraces, but there were well over two hundred people in attendance to celebrate the release of both “Moby Doc” and Moby’s Deutsche Gramophone album, Reprise. It was fun, and the audience was there for Moby.
Moby provided amusing and at times self-deprecating stories of his life with some candid and thoughtful insights. One of the more endearing qualities of the performer is his ability to assess himself in a real and earnest way, sans the trappings of fame, revealing nuggets of truths he’s gleaned from personal experiences over the years. He’s always smart and sympathetic. He tells relatable stories that inform and entertain, interspersed with the music that everybody knows and loves. His set was a great ice breaker and was a great warmup for the screening of Moby Doc.
I found Moby Doc pretty engaging, revealing how Moby became Moby. He had a tragic childhood, losing his father at an early age, and a less than attentive mother. He found solace and friendship in animals, and developed a profound love for music. Moby Doc details his early days in New York that led to the success of Go! The doc also details the artist’s foundering to failure and bottoming out with a failed punk album not many have heard, and the despair that followed.
The odd and very unexpected, but fortunate, rise of Play cemented the musician’s international stardom and fame. His meteoric rise also accelerated his journey into alcohol and drug abuse. It’s all a wild ride that leads ultimately to a happy ending.
It’s a surrealist documentary with animation, re-enactments, interviews, and archival footage. There are interviews with artists like Gary Basemen, David Lynch, and David Bowie. Gary Baseman’s animation is part of the storytelling, and is a welcome addition to the movie. It’s the story of a man who struggled with addiction and excess, who was able to turn things around to become a vegan activist and a thoughtful voice for social change. Director Rob Gordon Bralver says it’s more of a psychological portrait, rather than a traditional biopic. It a moving tribute to Moby’s struggle, best described by David Bowie, “Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” I think this perfectly sums up the Moby Doc.
Once the movie ended, Moby took to the stage where he talked for a bit more and introduced his dog, Bagel, to everyone, and then started the party off DJing a set that started off with Madonna and continued into the night. Some people grouped together to visit, and others started shaking a leg. It was splendid the way Moby kicked off NeueHouse’s “Summer Sounds” series with great music and a marvelous recounting of a music icon’s life. Let’s do it again!