Not being woken up by a blazing dawn sun, a drunk girl falling on your tent over, or a drunk bloke relieving himself in the remnants of your bonfire was by far the least interesting but most pleasant way to start day 2 at a music festival. Rolling out of bed and beginning the almighty fry up was The Docktor who rustled us up a feast (Note: 4 blokes sharing 3 cans of baked beans with their for breakfast is not advised for those with sensitive noses or a strong gag reflex). To work it off we hit the sandy coastline for some beach football! After all it was a rather unusual glorious sunny day! A few bruises and an abundance of sand in all manner of bodily crevices later, we caught wind of a secret gig going on.
Not being able resist the urge of the secret gig we were treated to an extra special show from Wax Fang @ Reds who were set to perform the entirety of Prince’s timeless album Purple Rain.
Wax Fang as Prince
Complete with comedy wigs, 70’s flares and more than required bodily hair on show Wax Fang both looked and sounded simply amazing. Their Prince routine was perfect, from the shrieking vocals right down to the note perfect solo’s and ambient keyboards. This was tongue in cheek delight and as they played hit after hit such as When Doves Cry, & I Would Die For You. Despite playing covers this was a guaranteed highlight for the festival as they faded slowly out with the fully extended version of the epic Purple Rain, the entire crowd swaying hands aloft to cheer this inspired performance.
Later that afternoon we had the biggest clash of the weekend, music or the FA Cup Final. I was the only one who made it away from the TV as I headed out to catch Blitzen Trapper. I was so glad I did! Their Americana influenced folk was at times beautiful and bold, while always being catchy and melodic. Lead singer sounded very close to a less nasally Bob Dylan but more or less managed to steer clear of the obvious comparisons. Their instrumentation was excellent and they did not get overpowered by the size of the arena, their music suited this perfectly. On the whole a very impressive performance that I really enjoyed.
It was at this point I found myself pondered over the weekend’s stage schedule structure. Most bands played for at least 45 minutes each with most being granted 1 hour. Now this is a good thing if you happen to like the bands that are on, but with a limited number of bands over the 3 days, 37, this leans itself to being quite restrictive.
On the plus side though if you missed the start of a set It didn’t matter so much as they would be playing for ages anyways. Looks like this was one debate I was not going to solve in a hurry so I decided to stick my head into Centre Stage for Saccarine Trust, before promptly removing it again realising the last 30 mins for the Cup Final & lunch was a more profitable use of time.
Disappointed after a Pompy defeat our next band of the day were up on the Main Stage. I have to admit that I went into this show with rampaging negative bias against Fiery Furnaces. Their brand of twisted indie is not the most approachable, unless you have an arty streak or a connoisseur complex. But I can say they’re live shows are a blast. Kicking into their tunes with wistful breeziness and rampaging a noisy fed back amp the combo of pop and rock was ideal. Melody wise they had big enough progressions to keep everyone nodding their heads (Apparently dancing at ATP is un cool), and enough catchy guitar licks to make me happy. This was a huge surprise, as they dropped their sweetness and blasted their way through a very entertaining set!
We quickly shuffled our way through the crowds, we had a date with Boris. The gargantuan Japanese noise rock behemoths had some technical problems in setting up and were late in getting started, but it was well worth the wait. If Spinal Tap turn it to ’11’ then Boris have their amps set to 111 as this was the most epically loud show the earth has ever seen. A drum kick sounded like a firework exploding, a bass thump was making my clothes move and the power chords where like a head gremlin playing the migraine march on your frontal lobe!
When this audio wall hit’s you square in the face, it sends you flying into a dizzying sonic spiral of intense rock energy which is astoundingly great. The songs themselves were very lucidly progressive, with heavy sections counterbalanced with some inventive and beautiful melodies. The greatest compliment to Boris was evident in the crowd. Despite near deafening volumes which could knock planets out orbit…nobody was going anywhere! Instead they were putting fingers in their ears and remaining down the front sharing the epic sounds.
Now for the reason we were all here, it was time for Pavement on a Main Stage filled to capacity (you can almost feel the desolation on the rest of the site). In one form we’d seen all the Pavement members bar front man Steven Malkmus himself over the weekend already, (Spiral Stairs, Marble Valley) so when they finally got down to their actual set it felt like we were pretty acquainted with them already.
The biggest cheers of the weekend greeted them as they made their way onstage and began playing a solid all round set of their greatest hits. Their pop sound was rougher live, but this made for a far better performance. With so much joy in the room there was a lot to love and little to fault in this show. Throwing in classic tracks like their biggest hit Cut Your Hair, Stereo and Gold Soundz, Pavement were lapping up energy from the crowd and flinging it right back.
This felt like a great return for the American indie heroes, but with a room full of people who signed up to their ATP curated festival and sold out the event before announcing any bands except themselves, I ask “was it going to be any different?” Nonetheless a superb showing for the weekends main headliner!
After chilling out for a while on the sofa with a few of our beers, we arrived at Reds and looked on is disbelief! The queue to get in was snaking around the smokers hangout with no indication of movement. Of course everyone was here to see the fiery DIY garage rock of those crazy Israelis’, Monotonix. After asking the door security informed us that the venue was full! 5 minutes later as we walked past him into the venue I wondered what on earth is going on?
This bewilderment was to continue once inside. Monotonix were sitting on their own stage, in only a their shorts and full chests of hair in the middle of the floor with the crowd all sitting down around them. They sounded immense! None of it made the slight bit of sense, but their three piece rock captured the spirit of beer soaked garage rock and roll ethics which is so lacking in the modern era. After about 15 minutes this spirit was too hard to ignore as the seated crowd stood up, overcome with the desire to rock out!
Sadly this was quickly brought to a halt as Butlins security stepped in and dragged Monotonix off stage, citing capacity problems and accusing the band of inciting violence. A lot of unhappy faces booed them which was unfair as they did nothing wrong, the hatred was rife and if the crowd was to kick off against the security team they would have had serious trouble on their hands. Thankfully we were at ATP not Reading festival so everyone trotted off mumbling and grumbling about the appalling security operation and health & safety gone mad.
Saddened we headed upstairs to an extremely packed Centre stage where a lone American was onstage. Atlas Sound was an incredibly annoying, whiny, overly American youth who did little or nothing to impress any of the DiR.net posse. The atmosphere was weak and uninspiring almost as much as his in between song nonsense. A lacklustre showing which was one of the most dull of the weekend.
It’s 1am and the final band took to the stage. Still Flyin’ in more of a collective than a band. With 12 members on stage you get the jist why. They had 2 trumpeters, 2 percussion, 4 singers, a keyboardist, a guitarist, a bas player and a random guy whose job it was to shake a ball shaped maraca and bound about stage. It comes as no surprise then that they play pop. This was an extremely joyous set with a carnival atmosphere that had people bopping along into the wee hours. Their reggae influenced, almost ska-indie pop was great fun way to round off day 2.#