Friday, 14 May 2010
All Tomorrows Parites 2010 - Matt Groening
It’s that time of the year again, May is here and with that comes the start of the long festival season and what better way to start it than with quite possibly the best festival this country has to offer, ATP. It offers the avid festival goer a chance to see the best, most eclectic of lineups, whilst having a roof over your head and a chance to get drunk and go swim in the sea amongst many other things. If you’re reading this site then chances are you’ve already heard of/ been to ATP on a number of occasions, let’s face it, it’s not the industries best kept secret any more but for those who haven’t, it’s set in Butlins and it is simply a delight from start to finish. Where else on earth do you have the opportunity to watch an intense set by Broadcast or Boredoms with seven drummers and then chill out in the Jacuzzi?
Blowing the dust off of my swimming shorts knowing fairly well that the only way these babies would actually get wet over the weekend was if I accidentally spilt beer on them (the intentions were there) I headed from London as far west as possible without stumbling into Wales for yet another amazing weekend.
One thing I love about the festival is the intimacy of the whole event, I only needed to pull into the Tesco’s just round the corner from the site to see hoards of people I knew, some of which I’d seen a few days ago, some I hadn’t seen since last ATP but all were asking that question would the man himself, Matt Groening be there? And although I didn’t have the answers at that point I did pose the question, would a man who has just been asked to curate a three day party involving all of his favourite bands and whose music tastes span as far wide as the Tiger Lillies and The Residents really want to be stuck in a studio somewhere in downtown L.A. drawing cartoons? I don’t think so.
When we finally arrived and sorted our room after a minor incident involving showing Liars my arse we headed straight to Centre Stage, a venue that usually caters for acts such as Peter Andre abreast with cool flashing lights and poles surrounding the venue. Something that would usually be lost on the embarrassing number of people that normally traipse here to see some ungodly pop act but it seems to fit the mood just right for many acts over the weekend. First up was historical set by Broadcast, a band in which you seldom see live, in the grand scheme of things a music lover is more likely to get a press pass to a Pink Floyd reunion than a Broadcast gig so it felt pretty special watching the duo and although the first half of the set which was described as really good background noise by a friend, it was totally overshadowed by the second half where the on stage experimentation with sound and truly beautiful motion on a big screen flourished. They pulled of a magical set ploughing through a vast collection of great songs with the bar being raised unbelievably high for the weekend.
Cold Cave were one of my highlights of late last year playing dark, fuzzed up Kraut Rock inspired dance and whilst it didn’t seem to appeal to everyone I thought they were fantastic, although their three way synth noise blasts would have catered better later on in the evening or even the last act rather than the afternoon.
After a much needed fast food hit it was time for the main event of the day, Iggy and his wonderful Stooges playing ATP’s main stage, the Pavilion. The man is a living legend and one of the most charismatic lead singers in the business, he just seems so at home on stage throwing himself about the stage and at one point getting masses of fans on stage and wandering around going ‘hey man, stick around, take a picture, it’s cool,’ he had the crowd hanging off his every word and when ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ dropped, the place erupted.
For a band that has been going over 25 years I found it amazing that I had never heard of Shonen Knife before (although due to the fact I was at ATP I pretended I had as I’m sure many did) but as with every ATP, this would be a weekend of many discoveries and this Japanese punk pop trio are high on my list of bands to Spotify.
In what seemed like thirty seconds between bands we had one of the highlights of the weekend. Liars, fresh from the shock of seeing my arse earlier took the infamous 1 am slot. Their full frontal intensity did not let up, ploughing through a career-spanning set of new and old. Considering my love for 2007’s ‘Liars’ their new album hadn’t caught me yet, but after hearing material from their latest album Sisterworld live I have most certainly realised the error of my ways and finally got it! I haven’t stopped listening to it since. The highlight for me was, ‘Plaster Casts Of Everything’ which set me off in a frenzy of dancing and jumping as with ‘Clear Island’ their set was unlike any I have ever heard live, Angus Andrew didn’t stop moving, hurling himself around the stage, commanding the crowd before him.
Liars have cemented the fact that their live sets are a force to be reckoned with.
Friday was a quiet night, in fact this ATP was relatively quiet compared to others which was a shock as it’s probably the strongest line-up I’ve seen for a long time (that said, they do surprise me every year.) Myself and some friends stumbled upon a party that would turn out to be talk of the weekend, a chalet that was turned into some kind of ‘Club Tropicana’ esq bar with dj’s, big lights and a properly schooled bartender serving up wicked cocktails for free. We later found out that the party was put on by Diesel, unbeknownst to the good people that put the festival on. It’s kind of cool knowing that the only way corporate sponsors can infiltrate ATP’s walls is by literally buying a ticket, turning up and hoping for the best.
Saturday started with possibly the best hangover cure known to man. Boredoms performing Boadrum. A nine piece ensemble featuring seven drummers one being carried through the crowd partway through the first song, never have I seen such an intense performance with each drummer pounding the hell out of their kit whilst the front-man switches from some form of eight way guitar and various obscure percussion instruments. It really has to be seen to be believed.
After that all I could do was sit and let music wash over me a bit so thankfully the next few bands provided the perfect relief. Danielson played fairly unimpressive indie pop but it did allow time to get my head together before Deerhunter who really test the limits of the Pavillion stage, their music fit that mid day time slot so well with old favourites ‘Nothing Ever Happened’ and ‘Never Stops´ waking the crowd from their sombre state.
Despite being around forty years, this was the first I’d heard of The Residents and they blew my mind. With a stage show vaguely resembling that of an early Genesis show if Peter Gabriel was a psychotic old man writhing around the stage in his underpants (no...Not Phil Collins.) Their performance art was a thing of beauty and craziness.
Amadou and Mariam provided the pavilion with a chance to dance like hell to their cheery array of African Samba beats which certainly lifted the mood after The Residents freakout.
Thanks to a tip off from a friend who works for the festival we headed to the rarely used ‘Jumpin Jacks’ club to see a one off jam with J. Spaceman, some of the Boredoms drummers and Konono No.1 which was great to watch although Spacemans contribution was nothing more than creating feedback over some otherwise awesome world music.
Thee Oh Sees were one of the highlights of the weekend, the four piece create psychedelic party rock which set the pit off into a state of frenzy, the thirteen minute ‘Warm Slime’ showed that this band can really kick out the jams creating well executed noise and feedback through lead singer John Dwyer‘s twelve string monster of a guitar.
Keeping the tempo well and truly up, James Chance provided a set of truly dirty New York funk, with his huge quiff and white suit he proceeded to wow the crowd with his unrelenting sax playing and dancing.
After such a crazy night for all involved there was no surprise that Sunday was the quietest day of all, after finally dragging ourselves out of the chalet we went and saw Tiger Lillies, introduced by mr Groening himself, the ultimate avante-garde trio started off with a few slower numbers which got me a little weepy but thankfully once lead singer picked up his accordion the gig became more of a creepy cabaret show. There is nothing else like these guys.
Spiritualised looked really epic but to be honest it never really caught me. After such a crazy Saturday I’m not sure many of us were up for the underwhelming sounds and despite a full orchestra and choir we gave them the standard fifteen minutes and then moved on.
Playing the second of two shows The XX were a big surprise, partly because I had seen them the night before and was unimpressed but secondly because there was hardly anyone there. By this point it was a mixture of people already gone home, were crashing out or watching The Raincoats downstairs but either way, seeing The XX play to about 200 other people was pretty special, with so much hype about them last year it was great to see them pull it off to a crowd of people who really don’t like hyped bands.
Cocorosie took the final slot of the weekend and filled it with some of the most delicate, beautiful songs of the weekend. Their amazingly charming catchy tunes mixed in so many genres, it was such a pleasure to watch.
I arrived back home a shadow of my former self, a broken man. I extended my deadlines, checked myself in at the doctors, bought the entire Broadcast back catalogue and can’t wait until the Christmas events. Once again ATP has proved that it truly is the best music festival in the country.
Words : Gordon Reid
Photos : Francesca Jones
: Matthew Pratt