ATP Weekend One: The Dirty Three: the DiS diary...
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DrownedinSound.com went to All Tomorrow’s Parties’ The Dirty Three-curated weekender at the end of April. We arrived full of excitement, bubbling like freshly poured pints of £3-a-pop lager. Then we drank too many £3-a-pop lagers and fell over the garden furniture outside our chalet. Loudly. And annoyed our neighbour. Sorry.
Here’s our story, as told by those that were there to see everything that unfolded from April 27 ‘til April 29, at Minehead’s Butlins holiday camp. We’re not proud, all that much. We are still exhausted. Yes, still.
We’ll be back for Versus The Fans on May 18, that you can be sure of.
The London-based DiS contingent – Samuel Strang, Alex Denney and me – leaves Paddington Station a little earlier than we’d like; an hour later two of us are standing, despite our reserved seating, because we’re too scared to boot an old lady out from one of our pre-booked chairs. She eats a sandwich, loudly. I dislike old people immensely.
There aren't many things that I would travel six hours each way for, but All Tomorrow's Parties is definitely one of them. Somewhere between your favourite childhood holiday and a real-life dream team of foreign, obscure or just down right GOOD bands picked by someone well-versed in the language of music, ATP is the chosen festival for all those left alienated by the popular mixture of poor headliners, worse beer and mindless vandalism, and is probably the only festival that you can get shitted on by a pigeon whilst indoors, unless you drunkenly let Pigeon Detectives bassist Dave fulfil his defecation fantasies on your bare chest.
Having heard nothing but great things about the concept of All Tomorrow’s Parties and its decidedly collective indie mentality, not all that much arm-twisting persuasion was required to make Minehead my first festival destination of 2007. The fact it’s set in a Butlins holiday camp adds a touch of the surreal to the whole event, as customary trucker caps and beards replace the obligatory sight of Redcoats, while the Joanna Newsom-cloning factory has obviously been in overdrive: every other girl looks like a carbon copy of said chanteuse. Not a bad thing so far as the eyes are concerned, just as long as they don’t all s-th-c-weeeem at once. Still, I’m too busy reminiscing about my first-ever trip to a holiday camp in sunny Blackpool, even if this one is severely lessened by the lack of donkeys…
This year's festival is curated by Australian post-rock demi-legends The Dirty Three, and whilst the majority of the artists playing are rooted closely, musically or geographically, to the 'headliners', there are certainly enough curveballs to keep things interesting. The first, and the opening band for this attendee, are The Only Ones, who perform their first set for nearly three centuries. Fronted by legendary (and allegedly reformed) crack-head Peter Perrett, the band rips through a sharp set which sounds like it has been honed by decades of touring rather than desolation, and surprisingly they don't have just one song – tracks from all four of their full-length releases sound as tight, even if not as fresh, as they probably did on wax cylinder.
“Got there in the end.”
“I’ll fucking get you in the end.”
So ran the delightful encounter between DiS staffer Samuel Strang and Joel, bassist moonlighting with ATP festival curators The Dirty Three and our neighbour for the weekend. Poor Sam: his apparently innocuous remark had only been directed at the angry antipodean after we’d just seen him struggle manfully with opening a beer bottle on his patio fence. But he wasn’t amused, and off he stalked with murderous intent, leaving the already shambling Strang quaking in his boots.
Still, it wasn’t all bad: the particularly fine Somerset weather bringing with it a stunning array of ‘Nick Cave girls’, all silken of limb and floaty of dress, doe-eyed but with a vixen-like sureness of movement that suggests they’d make tender prey indeed of consumptive little wastrels such as ourselves. Or, at least, maybe they would if we could grow proper beards: the men here are nearly all hirsute, tastefully attired in snugly-fitted finery, and possibly in the habit of taking themselves a bit too seriously.
Only able to muster the latter of these requirements, DiS hobbles off, beer-soaked bonces all sick with desire to check out The Only Ones. We’re glad we did: their blues-tinged punk might sound ready for the knackers’ yard, but Pete Perrett remains as sweetly engaging a vocalist as ever. He’s an influential one, too, his naively melodic style contrasting with the hectoring sarcasm of Rotten and his myriad imitators and finding admirers right up to kindred romantic spirits like The Libertines.
Though only five years his elder, Peter Perrett looks something of a decrepit lady on the vast Pavilion Stage when compared to the meticulously well-groomed Nick Cave, who tomorrow will perform both his own material and that of Grinderman. Though his frail frame and peculiar vocals seems to be withering to a stop, The Only Ones are a sight to behold as they open proceedings. Most of the set’s material is over two decades old, but having recently enjoyed something of a renaissance, feted by Pete Doherty, ‘The Whole of the Law’ and ‘Why Don’t You Kill Yourself’ sound absorbingly cold-hearted and resigned.
The Only Ones are boring. I want to play racing car games in the arcade.
Flicking through the timetable booklet and picking out the must-see events isn’t difficult as such, but more a case of drop a pen in and see where it lands. On Friday, there was only one place my trusty implement could call home: smack in the middle of the Pavilion Stage at around 7pm. The Only Ones may be a strange choice of opener for a festival of this kind, and certainly out of kilter musically with the rest of the bill, but their first show for 26 years was something not to be missed.
While the three lesser-known band members look like average 50-year-olds, it’s the sight of singer Pete Perrett that causes many a horrified gasp. Making Kate Moss look like Beth Ditto’s twin, never has a truer word been put to song than his seemingly self-autobiographical “I look ill but I don’t care about it” from his charges’ most famous three minutes. Which they play near perfectly towards the end of a surprisingly tight set that many would have expected to resemble a multi-vehicle pile-up on the M6; it actually flows quite majestically.
Seriously, I don’t get why so many people are watching this band… but I was but a year old the last time they played.
Elsewhere, Psarandonis and Art Of Fighting impress these ears at the same time with traditional Greek tales gone slightly rock and haunting Appleseed Cast-gone slowcore ballads respectively, but the highlight of the night is reached during its closing moments with Josh T Pearson's (mostly) solo set. The former Lift To Experience frontman has narrowed down his sound to merely an acoustic guitar and foot stamping, but his heart-wrenching and honest lyrics soar further than ever, exorcising demons as they fly to the heavens. In quiet awe I retreat to sleep and dream of hope. Or drink heavily with the rest of the DrownedinSound party. One of the two.
Party? That’s what Samuel and Mike (hi) do during a five-hour DJ set, after The Dirty Three… but more in a moment…
After a brief stint in mid-tempo indie purgatory with the hopelessly mistitled Art Of Fighting (no art, no fighting, almost certainly no ‘of’), we head off for a sozzled date with Josh T Pearson, whose avant-blues racket sounds like Mogwai working their way through the Harry Smith folk anthology. Pearson hawks up all the old hellhound-on-my-trail clichés with spittoon-levelling intensity while his band summons some genuinely creepy passages of music, but clichés they remain nonetheless, and DiS is left searching for the substance behind the well-worn gutbucket imagery.
The rest of Friday is, of course, dominated by violins and beards, with the energetic posturing of Warren Ellis and the The Dirty Three’s and stories of hell, the devil and… more about hell and the devil if the truth be known. Josh T Pearson’s between-song banter involves his wife, a pig, sexual intercourse and a duck. All in the same sentence, too.
Five hours is a long DJ set – quite amazingly, some people on site are performing six-hour sets – but we’re up for it fo’sho. DiS’s Friday night set is a mix of Motown soul, indie-dance (The Gossip and Black Eyes in the same set = fun times) and The Locust. One lady approaches us – ‘us’ being Sam (very drunk) and me (not so) throughout, save for a brief cameo by Dom and Jordan around midnight – to complain three times; she finally calls us (me?) “The worst DJ she has ever seen”. I laugh – it’s now that I play The Locust. At 3am I wrap things up with The Birthday Party and wander back for a couple of beers and much-needed sleep… a whole two hours of it. Or something.
Before anything else: Tesco. Alex Denney needs a tuna sandwich, but they don’t have any. They do have ham and mustard. That’s what he gets. He pretends that he’s happy with it, but I can read him, even through such drunken eyes – he’s not happy. Or am I squinting too hard? It is disturbingly bright outside the dank and dark of the already stinking chalet.
Refreshed and dressed to impress I return to the centre just in time to catch Magnolia Electric Co. on the largest stage, one day after they played a set on a smaller one. Although their country-rock workings are not as dull as some would suggest, they still fall short of filling the vast room in front of them. Next door, Felix Lakjo delivers the most jaw-dropping set of the weekend with some of the fastest and most relentless zither playing known to man. How his fingers aren't worn to the knuckle I have no idea. Shame he didn't have any songs. Unlike Low, who quite predictably break hearts and wet eyes with a set that, whilst falling someway short of their best for the main part, is a strong contender for the best of the weekend. I'm pretty sure I'll never hear anything better than 'Dragonfly' live. Ever.
Low are at their disgruntled best.
After a mixed first evening, all told, it’s a welcome surprise to find Shannon Wright on ear-splitting form as the second of Saturday’s main stage performers. Hers is a fantastic set, pounding out bruising guitar licks that get straight to the heart of everything that’s dark and sexy about the blues, like PJ Harvey at her most cathartic. If the music is sexual, Wright’s performance borders on pornographic – a hip-thrusting, arse-waggling display of Kylie-esque proportions. I think I’m in love.
Next up are Low. Hello, Low, lovely weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? “All the babies, they’re gonna die!” Oh, Christ. Like Win Butler fronting Yo La Tengo, Low have always been a morose, slightly chin-stroking proposition, and today their ponderous slowcore musings just aren’t the ticket for my money. Time for a spot of stage-hopping.
Alan Vega looks a good bet to ratchet up energy levels on Centre Stage; unfortunately it turns out to be for all the wrong reasons, as the Suicide legend proceeds to deliver a set of delusional rantings over some drilling techno nonsense, like Atari Teenage Riot fronted by a tramp. Seriously, the man could have Alzheimer’s and no-one would be able to tell the difference.
At no point am I sure whether Alan Vega is taking the piss or not; his gurning face and gesticulations are straight out of some sketch show piss-take of this brand of experimentation. It’s The Fast Show’s jazz club clip uprooted and dropped on top of a Berlin circuit board manufacturing plant, all SMASH BANG BUZZ with a freaking maniac of an OAP up front prowling the front of the stage like a tired old tiger unable to catch its prey these days. It’ll die, in time; I leave Vega to do just that this afternoon. Nick Cave is swanning about like he owns the place downstairs, photographers tracing his steps as he wanders these halls.
Too many beers and about one hour’s kip later, it’s Saturday lunchtime, and decision time as three acts with nothing in common whatsoever are gracing each stage at the same time. Easy choice, let’s go see all three. Magnolia Electric Co. are the kind of band my grandparents (God rest their souls) would have liked. It’s country and it’s dull, sorry. Felix Lajko on the other hand is simply astonishing, just for the fact his fingers are still connected to his hands as the way he attacks his zither for a relentless 45-minute, no-breaks slot is nothing short of venomous. Don’t try this at home kids. Having winced through the majority of Lajko’s set, a slight diversion to the Reds stage is in order for Digital Primitives, but with kick-off time approaching one’s thoughts lie elsewhere, and quick trip to Ladbrokes punctuates the day’s activities.
The fact the girl behind the counter wouldn’t give me odds on Kylie Minogue appearing during Nick Cave’s set doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Low, although Shannon Wright’s grizzled impersonations of Kristin Hersch and Patti Smith coupled with the fact I’m stood in a cluster of people going “shhshhh” every time someone dares to breathe or at worst take a picture of the Minnesota trio almost does. Still, their quiet yet epic asides range from enlightening to breathtaking, and ‘Pissing…’ is possibly everyone’s favourite song of the weekend. Thus far, at least.
Somewhere between bands, outside of the festivals confines, the greatest weekend of football this season takes place. Man Utd virtually win the title thanks to Phil Neville’s best goal for the club, Chelsea draw despite Bolton's massive loss, Leeds go down (as good as), Forest win and Liverpool don't. Can the weekend get any better? It takes a couple of hours.
Time to squeeze in a quick bite to eat methinks, so we head off to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the on-site Pizza Hut. Unfortunately, this also means we can hear Jason Pierce and his mates from the local Baptist church massacre Sound Of Confusion-era Spacemen 3 classics, and we cover our ears to escape these wrongdoings immediately. What next, Kevin Shields and the Cantamus choir covering ‘To Here Knows When’? ‘Tis wrong I say, wrong.
Memories of Spacemen 3 are pissed on by Acoustic Mainlines, commercial post-rock tunes are played by Yann Tiersen and band, cities are destroyed as The Scientists rock the rankin twat out of Minehead…
It’s 8pm now and the tension is palpable as the crowds wait patiently for the main draw to arrive for the first of two successive hour-long shows, first in a quasi-solo guise appearing with a pared-down Bad Seeds line-up (a.k.a. a solo show), and second as grumpy old man-in-chief of Grinderman. They’re waiting for Nick Cave, of course, and when the man eventually bounds onstage, looking resplendent in three-piece suit and handlebar ‘tache, it looks like it’s going to be well worth the wait, the band recasting ‘West Country Girl’ as a fearsome, churning swamp-rocker, Cave lunging wildly at his piano in a manner entirely inappropriate for a man of his advancing years. Cave’s in generous form – showboating a little, even, as he encourages the crowd to spew forth their requests, but he still rattles through the hits with a healthy disregard for their original incarnations, making for a thrillingly inconsistent performance. So while a slightly lugubrious rendition of ‘The Mercy Seat’ tries but fails to dim the power of that song’s extraordinary lyrics, he also breathes poignant life into ‘The Ship Song’, and turns in a jazz-inflected, Nina Simone-esque version of pop noir classic ‘Red Right Hand’. But ‘Abbatoir Blues’ is still shit, whichever way you put it.
One small cause for concern: what the fuck was Bobby Gillespie doing up there? Stones pastichery, faux avant-garde experimentalism, and now a spot of funky dancing for the Bad Seeds – is there literally anything this man can’t do badly?
The opening to ‘Get It On’ doesn’t work – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are clearly so distracted by the maraca-shaking Scot on stage with them that they’ve forgotten to turn their amps on. Rant cleared, it’s time for that superb buzz, the RARRARRARRAR dirge that opens Grinderman. But instead of a fuck-you-skull-open flood of noise we get a fizz and a pop. And then silence. Ooops.
Nick Cave plays 'Mercy Seat' and then performs the third-best set of the day with Grinderman. Yet this is merely the calm before the Teutonic storm of German industrial legends Einstúrzende Neubaten, who pulverise the Centre Stage with a set both surprisingly song-driven yet deliciously coated with terrifying noise. A girl that looks like Joanna Newsom is in tears, comforted by a boy who also looks like Joanna Newsom. The rest of us have Cheshire Cat grins and hyena snarls, driven close to insanity but in the best possible way. The perfect way to end the day / evening / night. Everyone is 'avin it large.
Wheeled back out under the Grinderman moniker as something of reprise after Cave’s solo performance, this greatly-heralded debut live performance should have been a blunt clout in the gut. Instead, it lacks the primitive edge so essential to the record. That Bobby Gillespie, a man who eternally seems to have his finger deeply stuck in somewhere, appears as an unnecessary second-stool drummer dulls events further. Though Cave’s bitterly-tongued performance sounds with the Gothic sullenness of The Birthday Party, it’s just calling out to be a little more succinct.
Industrial trailblazers Einstúrzende Neubauten are on hand to provide a spanner-waving highlight of the festival. Lots of bands sound evil or sing about being evil, but Neubauten trounce them all into the dust simply by being evil. Blixa Bargeld is a seriously scary-looking man, imposing frame squeezed into a three-piece suit, manically gesturing stage left at some poor soul about something that evidently isn’t to his satisfaction. Maybe they ordered the wrong-sized spanners. It’s a surprisingly focussed set, rarely resorting to the noise-mongering tactics that earned them their notoriety (spanner incident excepted), and the highlight comes when one song builds suddenly and terrifyingly from Bargeld’s clipped German phrasings to a series of crescendoing ‘heeeeeeeees’ and Bargeld dredging up horrific shrieks with his hands covering his face.
The next few hours involve much movement between stages, as the prospect of seeing an hour’s worth of Nick Cave doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement, although I do catch his only song of note as far as I’m concerned, ‘The Mercy Seat’, which sounds impeccable if slightly watered down.
Competing with the Caveman wasn’t going to be easy for any artist, so French multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen isn’t presented with the easiest task of the day. Largely unknown by many in the UK prior to this festival appearance, he and his band play what can only be described as radio-friendly post-rock complete with Theremin interludes at random interludes, and even though several of the songs stray a bit too close to U2 territory for some people’s comfort zones, his set is invigorating all the same.
Unfortunately, we don’t hang around to exchange pleasantries as Grinderman are playing the big stage below, and the extended line-up featuring Bobby Gillespie as well as the aforementioned Cave, Ellis et al pull off a combination of swamp-blues and garage pizzazz that, despite a nervous start, reaches an intense level of ferocity during the cascading ‘Honey Bee’ and marauding ‘No Pussy Blues’. The only question that remains is whether or not they’ll take this show on the road in the future, but for now, it feels kind of good being one of only a few hundred (thousand, surely – Ed) that has actually seen Grinderman live.
Saturday was always going to be a long day, so it’s back to the Centre Stage where a blurry-eyed and increasingly worse for wear me sees The Scientists (surprisingly good in a white-noise coated Mudhoney kind of way), Nina Nastasia (dull as a dull singer/songwriter can be), and Einsturzende Neubaten (controversial 20 years ago but comatose this evening).
Youpi Youpi Yeah yelp, while Einsturzende Neubauten play the hits.
Nina Nastasia is frequently, enduringly beautiful live – although my memory of her in Crouch End’s Kings Head last year is a little foggy now, what with the booze I imbibed that night, what remains in the ol’ grey matter is heart-poppingly perfect – but tonight she fails to make herself heard above a crowd similarly sodden with alcohol. Collaborating with The Dirty Three’s Jim White, she’s striking when the slightest hush descends, but for the majority of her time on stage she’s playing to a room only half attentive; the front few rows, the few-hundred hardcore, are pleased… but the rest of us are largely unmoved. Sadly.
All of which brings us sadly but surprisingly quickly to the final day. The entertainment is kicked off by Papa M, with what I personally find to be one of the most disappointing sets of the day. Not that his Red House Painters-come-Red House Painters mournful strumming isn't nice in the same way that having your dick rubbed whilst waking up until you find out its your mum holding your member is; it is just that I thought he was Ariel Pink. I don't know why.
Jordan Dowling fancies his mum. ROFL.
The Dirty Three follow with their second-best set of the weekend. Warren Ellis throws in a typically virtuoso performance to the melting pot, but something is missing. Again I put it down to the sheer size of the room; you really need to smell the Fosters and Kangaroo meat on his breath before the hairs on your neck straighten. Silver Mt Zion Orchestra are on straight after with their 'high, lonesome sound' of post-rock, drone rock and anti-folk. The one-and-a-half hour set is an overall success, but the newest tracks, particularly 'Engine Broke', leave a lot to be desired. Luckily, other unrecorded tracks 'Blind Blind Blind' and 'One Million Died To Make This Sound' are arguably the strongest songs the seven-piece band have written.
With the sun beating down all weekend, Sunday morning seems as good a time as any to wander into Minehead’s town centre and sample the local beverages on offer, and having found a quaint little boozer showing live Sky Sports and selling 8.9% proof cider it was more a case of “do I have to?” when the question of what time I was getting back on site arose. But return I did, just in time to catch about half an hour’s worth (or just over two songs in setlist terms) of Silver Mt Zion Orchestra. Intricate, poised, well-rehearsed and finely crafted they may be, but boy, these songs don’t half go on forever. Refuge is sought in one of the many beer gardens situated around this quite idyllic setting.
Mary Margaret O’Hara hasn’t got even the foggiest clue as to where she is (Centre Stage, love) – acclaimed though she may be, and rightfully so, her Miss America gorgeousness fails to translate itself to the stage. Her bassist shows up late, with barely a brace of songs remaining, to complete a band seemingly at absolute odds with their singer, a woman who’d really rather be out of the spotlight than attracting the cynical glare of a few thousand beardies and weirdies. What should – sorry, could – have been transcendental is merely unforgettable, although regrettably for the wrong reasons.
White Magic’s folk meanderings take them through spaghetti western warbling to Egyptian dub warbling without particularly leaving the front door; they boast a fine singer in Mira Billotte but to these ears sound like an uninteresting jam band.
Joanna Newsom make two Sunday appearances and receives rapturous applause and dedicated silence as she launches through Ys. However, softly-spoken is one thing and whimpering is another. Melodramatically discussing her ‘sunstroke’, she sounds like a jumper-tugging spoilt child, especially when we’ve spent the afternoon dwelling in the dimly-lit second stage.
Newsom’s twin sets sandwich one from her beau of choice Bill Callahan. The former Smog man delivers a typically fine, understated but emotionally weighty set that really shows his partner up – while Callahan’s deep, mature tones stab straight to the heart, Newsom’s irritating wail sends the synapses into a frenzy. Who allowed this woman to attract so much acclaim, really? I have to run away after four songs, despite my best efforts to stick her second set out. She’s an unsightly coldsore on the lip of ATP’s first weekend – some like to pick at her ‘til they’re in tears, the losers, while sensible folk eradicate the infection. Cat Power is little better on the main Pavilion Stage – even with admirable backing from her recently assembled Dirty Delta Blues band, the always-erratic performer fails to be either mesmerising or frustratingly wide of the mark. She’s simply boring, and even ‘The Greatest’ is delivered in bleakly limp fashion. It’s still the highlight of her set, worryingly.
Bill Callahan’s brilliant set showcases material from soon-to-be-released Woke On A Whaleheart as well as Smog standards, but seems abruptly interrupted at the end to bring on his partner Newsom’s bloody-stringed harp.
The queue might be snaking round the block to see his missus but Bill Callahan’s not letting that put him off. After all, he is the lo-fi Leonard Cohen, a double espresso shot to the heart of darkly humorous poetry delivered in the kind of baritone you want to crawl inside and fall asleep in. I arrive two-thirds into his set to find him clad in pastel golfer’s uniform, gurning as he wraps his dulcet tones around those biting words, then ending on an inexplicable bum note with a wretched two-step country ditty in which he advises us to “learn from the vegetables”. For about ten minutes.
What can I say about Joanna Newsom? She certainly divides opinion, and in spite of initial misgivings about an over-reverent crowd that seems to hang on her every word, her musicality is simply too great to dismiss. Her eccentric phrasing, though at times gratingly babyish, is exquisite, her vocal gymnastics and impeccable sense of songcraft on occasion even justifying those excitable Kate Bush comparisons. It seems a shame, then, that she is unlikely ever to write her ‘Running Up That Hill’ or ‘Wuthering Heights’ – the fantasy world she inhabits is too cloistered, too secreted away from the trappings of modernity to yield a top twenty hit any time in the near future.
Not being able to get into Joanna Newsom, nor having a strong desire to do, I sit the next couple of hours out in the comfort of a Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat feast, and follow this with some heavy drinking. I arrive back in the hub of the festival in time to catch the last ten minutes of Reds closer Secretary, whose mix of saxophone meandering and frantic percussion samples makes me a little sorry for not coming in earlier.
The weekend’s lack of sleep and over-exuberant intake of liquid refreshment just about takes its toll come Sunday afternoon, and the only thing left to do is get a passing mobile phone video recording of part of Ms Newsom’s set as a present for the loved one back home, drink more beer and retire to bed early nursing an almighty headache.
Relaxation at this juncture is paramount – DiS has another DJ set to get through before retiring from the weekend’s festivities, in Reds (the third stage, essentially), so soaks up the last of the sun after Newsom’s blithering ridiculousness, takes on board a few cold lagers, and packs for an hour-long session at the decks. Mercifully there are no complaints this time, with the exception of those from the DJ – hello – as the PA is far too quiet for the first few songs. Bad form.
Who better to draw a close to the festival than DrownedinSound's own Mike Diver, playing hot licks for hot chicks in the second DiS DJ set of the weekend (I didn’t even pay him to say this – Ed). Those left in Reds dance their asses off to Battles, Lords and semi-successful mixing attempts (semi-successful? – Ed), but it’s evident that the final hours are drawing in.
Sam Strang has evaded death at the hands of our Australian neighbour. Alex Denney, though, is rather worse for wear – he’s still in bed, moaning something about the night before’s intake, when the cleaner knocks for the first time, advising us to, y’know, get on our way.
It’s impossible to sum up the entire festival with one rating or one line, so I won't even attempt to. All that needs to be said is that Barry Hogan and his team should be praised for providing such a stunning alternative to the usual humdrum festival. The same goes for Headline Security and the staff of the resort whose constant professionalism and positive attitude maintained the happy-go-ecstatic mood of the long weekend. Not much of a summarisation, but who needs sound-bites when you have memories? Not me at least.
Whilst The Dirty Three’s weekend was all very interesting, hopefully Versus the Fans proves itself as slightly more innovative.
As festivals go, the atmosphere and overall politeness of everyone from staff to punters and artists made this ATP debut a very pleasurable experience, and one that will no doubt be repeated at a later date.
Beards, particularly the one belonging to Josh T Pearson
On-site Pizza Hut with all-day (and all-night) buffet
The DiS DJ sets (apologies for not playing Chapterhouse and the Pixies to the people who asked for ‘em)
Sitting in a pub on Sunday surrounded by half a dozen Derby fans watching them cry into their beers as Mark Kennedy made it 2-0 to Palace! Result
Leeds getting relegated (forget the technicalities, you’re down)
The Only Ones still being alive
Joanna Newsom look-alikes
Trucker caps – wrong
Expensive energy drinks
Joanna Newsom sound-alikes
Violins. Nice in small doses, but a wee bit excessive here
Butlins bar staff shouting “20 going in” every time a note changed hands at the bar
All photographs by Gary Wolstenholme. From top: Warren Ellis of The Dirty Three (main), The Only Ones (twice), Art Of Fighting, Josh T Pearson, Magnolia Electric Co., Shannon Wright, Digital Primitives, Low, Nick Cave (twice), Nina Nastasia, Youpi Youpi Yeah, Papa M, Silver Mt Zion Orchestra, Cat Power, Joanna Newsom, Warren Ellis of The Dirty Three
For more information on All Tomorrow's Parties, their upcoming gigs and label releases, click here. See you at Versus The Fans!
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