by Chris Sea

photos by Markus Moises

 

Where to begin detailing such a momentous occasion. With the marketing of the event complete, it’s now up to ATP to show us all why we should believe the hype. Here’s the beginning of our conversation, dear reader.

HAM:

If only NATO saw what we are doing with this place now. We are seeing the former government on stage. The least full-of-shit performance ever is occurring. They are simply men on stage, doing what they do best. It’s so cool to see them in this context since I saw them last at Airwaves. Their performance is a cabaret of sorts; it’s like watching a live sex act. No house lights directed me towards my seat…the flash of the guitarist’s instrument against the lights I find striking. The initial thought I have while seeing them is “How different were they to see 20 years ago?” Sigurður´s fires his bass like an assault rifle. Their jackets come off and so do the gloves. It’s appropriate that I’ve arrived to see an Icelandic band for this international, and yet still Icelandic event. I wish I could have stayed around to hear Partýbær.

DJ Tent, Various Times:

Is that Neu! I heard in the DJ tent? Mogwai’s players certainly can spin. Is he playing Dinosaur Jr. as well? Fabulous. I hung out with a guy who looked like Serge Gainsbourg. The most extreme music was to be found in this tent. At one point during the night I heard a house rendition of Machine Gun by Portishead…oh what awaits me tomorrow!

Low:

Low has a very melodic, alternative sound. An odd statement, I know, but since I’ve only heard them a few times before, I think it’s fair to be a little more general. The lighting at Atlantic Studios is superb. It’s very tastetul, indeed. “On my ownnnn” were lyrics I couldn’t forget. The distorted bass sounded so crisp through the sound system at Atlantic as well. It’s funny to note that there’s almost no one I know here. The solos had a magnificent crunch. An echo of applause  roared through the room. It would seem as though each track is a long march.

Shellac:

What can I say? Shellac were fucking brilliant. I’ve been a fan of Steve’s since Songs About Fucking came out, and that was in the womb! Funny that their in between banter included someone positing to Steve, “Have you ever fucked to Songs About Fucking?” to which he gave a definite N-O. The band played to a transfixed audience, oozing confidence and charisma. The power trio’s notes cut like nails, And I would say there’s was the most entertaining performance of the night. Shellac is a steamroller upon all other bands. Their video screen was simply the color white. Songs like “My Black Ass” “Prayer To God” and “The End Of Radio” hit me hard, like a skull coming into direct contact with reinforced concrete. They roared and thundered like a behemoth. Perhaps that is the secret to their longevity: being more incredible than one can elocute. The men put on a tremendous live show – running around on stage, gesticulating, making my heart pulse. At the end of the night, they took the drum set apart on stage. Incredible skill. They are a band’s band. Steve, we love you, and to prove it, please listen to ROK’s full-length interview with Steve.

Kurt Vile and the Violators:

What a pleaser :) Girl Called Alex was stunning, mindblowing. It’s a shame that some douchebag painted over his mural in Philadelphia. What a Prick! Kurt’s band had the most beautiful of solos, feeding back appropriately to each number. There were very tasteful licks, indeed. I loved the Black Flag bars are the programmer’s computer. There is a sort of kinship between folks with those Bars on any part of their person. Glad I’m not the only one who who loves them. Kurt looks incredible in silhouette. Simply beautiful music. Incredible passages on the fretboard which have a clear, distinctive tone. Their music was Velvet-y at times. Apparently, he’s an act for numerous generations, from the 60’s onward, as his appeal could clearly be for all of them. He also has a truly great head of hair.

Mogwai:

First, it should be noted that Young Team is one of the finest records ever made, so to hear any tracks from that record, under the incredible light show that Mogwai provided was a treat in and of itself. Their light show consisted of bursts of light into three hexagonal fixtures – and they beamed so brightly and beautifully. These Glaswegians make their city proud so easily. Their riffs, as you can imagine, were truly epic, particularly on tracks such as Mogwai Fear Satan. The sound system crackled and crunched when they hit chords in unison – they were bursts of energy only akin to solar flares. Mogwai’s riffs are dense, complex affairs. Their appearance is as unpretentious as Shellac’s – just musicians doing their thing. Synth lines were thunderous. When the snare would kick, it was as those you were hearing the voice of a god permeate your being.  Their music reminds me of the innocence of childhood. At one point a band member said, “Thank you for coming. Even though it’s pissing rain, you’ve come to hear our nonsense.” True gentlemanly Scotsmen they are. How could anyone not respect an act that practically invented a genre of music? Their crowd was very diverse.

Stay tuned for Friday’s set on Saturday.