All Tomorrow’s Parties

May 23, 2007

I went to All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival this weekend. It was held at Butlins in Minehead, a lovely little village on the North Somerset coast with a lumping great holiday camp plonked on the edge of it. For any readers unfamiliar with the festival’s format, you and your friends hire a chalet in the camp, and the organisers put on a load of bands to watch, generally from the more obscure, arty or noisy corners of the wonderful world of popular music.

Anyway, now I’m feeling slightly less knackered, here’s what I thought about some of the bands I saw. First of all, band of the weekend goes to Les Savy Fav. They are 4 fairly normal looking blokes from NYC, and this guy Tim Harrington (on the left, in case there’s any doubt):

As you can probably imagine, it’s pretty crazy stuff, with Harrington leaping into the audience, at one point ending up right in front of me, which was exhilirating if a little alarming. The rest of a band provide a steady backing of serrated hardcore in a Fugazi or Pixies style.

Running Les Savy Fav a close second were Cornelius. They are from Japan, and play woozy psychedelic pop music, with the odd crunching guitar thrown in for good measure. What really sets them apart is their stage show, which features lights and back projections that change in synch with the music to an incredible degree. This gives the performance an element of sensory overload, and I mean that in a good way!

Other bands of note were Battles, who played intense electronic glam rock with looped drumbeats; Shellac, who played on the cavernous main stage, meaning their usually neck-snapping impact was dissipated; Slint, who were a little bit too noodly to make a huge impact, although “Good Morning, Captain” was monumental; and Isis, who were very heavy and good.

Finally, a shout out to playing pool and to inebriated bowling. Good times, although I’m still feeling fuzzy now!

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