Another seven days, another seventy-two hours at a holiday park, nothing but that now-familiar hum of amplified indie-rock for an accompaniment to dance-machine hedonism and hot dog-munching air-hockeying. Yes boys, girls, ladies and germs, All Tomorrow’s Parties’ The United Sounds Of ATP rears its bearded face once more, still a little weary after the previous weekend’s frivolity, for three further days of rockin’ good times and crimes against moo-sick-al conventions.
DiS missed the first weekend’s total-aural-immersion, preferring instead to charge our aging batteries for this one, the big one, the one we’ve paid A LOT of money for (freebies? Don’t be stupid). The curators of this weekend’s fun and fury: Dinosaur Jr, Sleater-Kinney and The Shins. We’re excited. We’re very excited. We’ve packed the car and highlighted the relevant A roads from here to there, hoping that we’ll pass an ASDA to stock up on liquor and beer, frozen pizza and breath mints. Now all we need is some idea of who in heck’s playing…
Et volia, our petite chums: we’d like to present to you, the jury of this fine fayre, our selected highlights of the forthcoming weekend of deaf-eared decadence and potty-mouthed barside chatter. Each act’s a winner, believe - we know how to pick ‘em. That was our money on Hedgehunter last year, y’know.
Friday May 19 – Dinosaur Jr Day
Dead Meadow (Upstairs stage, 5.30pm)
It’s stoner-rock, Tim, but not as you know it, you crazy dope-smokin’ freak. Now pull up your socks and stand up straight, that’s m’boy. See, Dead Meadow don’t do lazy - this is slow-motion rock tectonics of a superlative breed, all fuzzed to a fine shine and likely to have your brain bouncing about your skull for a good 48 hours regardless of what toxins are running so very wild in your veins. The DC outfit are heavy on riff but light on intellect, no offence intended, ensuring that their sets are dominated by stomach-crunching bass drones; sure that fella’s saying something, but what do you care when you’re seeing stars on the inside of your eyelids. Far out? Tim, this music’s far in.
Endless days of summer? Bummer…
Broken Social Scene (Upstairs stage, 8.30pm)
There’s a million of them, mostly culled from a million other bands. They’re capable, obviously enough, of playing a million notes at once, but when they do gosh darn it’s like being touched by Heaven’s own spidery fingers of glittering cloud, like being pointed at by that National Lottery hand. IT’S YOU, and thanks a… well… million actually. The odds of you not having a ridiculously good time while in the presence of this Canadian collective, whose latest self-titled album earned itself an official UK release earlier this year, are so long that, frankly, we’re not paying out. Ever. So nerrrr. We told you: we back winners. And here there are… one, two, three, four… a million of them here. And one of 'em's called Kevin? Can’t fail.
Click me I’m sick
Lightning Bolt (Downstairs stage, 2.30pm)
So here’s the plan, Sam m’madam: we down a couple in the queue, dump all our tat at the chalet which is bound to be on the other side of the site, then leg it in to have our pathetic minds blown by a couple of mentalists, one of which is named after a piece of furniture. Deal? Deal! Any late arrivals can rest easy in the knowledge that Lightning Bolt are playing on all three days: look at your schedule thing upon arrival for the FULL information.
This website makes my teeth hurt
Herman Düne (Downstairs stage, 3.15pm)
These (twin) brothers work it out alright, albeit in a folksy, indie-sy, something-y kinda way. They are not American yet are as sweet as apple pie; they’re not hippies, but there’s some kind of mysticism to their smoky trail tales, each delivered so poetically. One twin lives in Brooklyn, one in Berlin: does this mean they don’t get along so great? Only your attendance knows for sure.
Dinosaur Jr (Upstairs stage, 11.30pm)
Oh come on… if you need telling, then you’re not even going to ATP, are you? When they play ‘Little Fury Things’ I’m likely to empty myself out of both ends.
Some haven for old rockers
Saturday May 20 – Sleater-Kinney DayDungen (Upstairs stage, 5.30pm)
Four Swedes, big hair, something like a phenomenon, baby. Dungen’s latest album Ta det lugnt apparently translates as ‘Take It Easy’, which is something few of this weekend’s acts will want you to do – this is a set to relax to, to recharge to, to be consumed by. An absolute favourite of DiS’s editor, Dungen are another multi-performance act – they’ll play again on Sunday.
The Black Heart Procession (Upstairs stage, 7pm)
Pall and Tobias plus friends weave wickedly magical songs of lust and love, hate and horror. The Black Heart Procession are the indie band that found the Blair witch, the folk outfit that plugged in and got shocked like no act before them. Their delicate melodies play out against a backdrop of epic black, the effect so dizzying that you might as well begin by sitting down. Thankfully for you, the upstairs stage offers the opportunity to take the load off, so do so.
Ghosts in the machine
The Gossip (Downstairs stage, 8.45pm)
Brash, bold, bloody blindingly brilliant: Arkansas’ The Gossip are punkateers with a funk-soul brother lurking under skin prickling with urgency and energy. They’ve shared stages with all manner of rockers to swallow – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Le Tigre, The White Stripes – and have all but exclusively stolen the show from under their headliner’s noses. Expect to dance ‘til you sweat your knickers down to your ankles.
Dance me in
Sleater-Kinney (Upstairs stage, 11.30pm)
The rrrrrrrr(how many r’s?)rrrriot girls done good: last year’s The Woods long-player, their seventh in all, was arguably the post-punk trio’s finest record to date: brash and lively, yet layered and intelligent. Capable of the kind of live show that lives on in the memory for months after the event, Sleater-Kinney are one ATP curator that have truly earned their headline slot: power and grace combine to fashion a furious hour-or-so that’s sure to be a critical highlight of the entire weekend.
Make like a tree
Joanna Newsom (Downstairs stage, 10.15pm)
She’s got a harp. She bleats like a lamb. Some kids dig this shit. Me, I’m not so sure, but my inquisitive mind will get the better of my common rocking sense. Expect an opinion-dividing set, for sure, as Ms Newsome’s the absolute epitome of a Marmite performer at this particular event.
Will you stop harping on…
Sunday May 21 – The Shins DayThe Shins (Upstairs stage, 11.30pm)
T’was a side project, originally, but from acorns grow spectacular oaks: James Mercer certainly never expected The Shins to take off the way they have, but here they are, third-day headliners and curators to boot. You know what to expect, right: luscious indie-rock that could melt the ice caps if you took Chutes Too Narrow so far south. Sure to be a classic finale to a great weekend.
The Shins’ website
Band Of Horses (Upstairs stage, 5.30pm)
Hailing from Seattle, Band Of Horses are one of those bands that magically sounds like a hundred bands that came before them, yet adds subtle twists that resonate so utterly contemporarily. Their Sub Pop debut, Everything All The Time, has earned the band – Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke, plus friends – enviable comparisons to the likes of My Morning Jacket and Mercury Rev. DiS would like to toss a little Neil Young into the equation too, if only cos On The Beach helps us sleep. Nightmares, bloody, bloody nightmares…
You know what sucks? Finding out a band has cancelled after already writing about them in a preview piece. Oh well.
Horses for courses
Electrelane (Downstairs stage, 7.15pm)
Brighton belles that upped sticks to all sorts of faraway places, Electrelane nevertheless maintain a particular tautness that’s only usually found in artists that live and breath within the same personal space. Formed back in 1999, the four-piece have undergone a series of line-up alterations, but not once has their highly-charged post-punk suffered for it. Their dalliances with experimentalism are generally successful, too, as their past two records The Power Out and Axes have demonstrated.
Rock me to the moon!
The New Pornographers (Downstairs stage, 10.15pm)
Vancouver outfit featuring the wonderful AC Newman up front. An act who’ll slip seamlessly into a bill devised by a band like The Shins, The New Pornographers’ latest album Twin Cinema is sure to be plundered again and again during what promises to be an unmissable set. This is songwriting at its most classic: instantly engaging yet bursting with longevity and emotional appeal.
Jackie, ditch the cobras and go surfin’
Big Business (Downstairs stage, 4.30pm)
Holy KARP! See what I did there? No? Oh chuff off then…
No, really, go here…