ATP curated by The Breeders: Rated!
Butlins, Minehead - 15-17 May
Photographer: Sara Bowrey19 May 2009
Overall – 9/10
All Tomorrow’s Parties is the ultimate muso’s music festival. Curated by a different band or artist every time, it bleeds and breeds mutual appreciation. Nobody’s a purist anymore. The music we love spans genres, continents and decades. This was both evident in the refreshingly diverse line-up this year’s curators – The Breeders – had picked and in the melting pot crowd the weekend drew. A whole barrel of fun from start to end, ATP just goes from strength to strength.
Getting There and Back – 7/10
Three days and nights of music in a self-catering chalet in Minehead could only mean one thing: road trip. There was no other feasible way of transporting all that booze and fruit. The latter is always a guilt purchase. Wonderful though Butlins’ culinary options were (ahem), we all know you can offset pizza, fish n chips and burgers with apples, oranges and bananas. Piling in the car was also a chance to get reacquainted with long-forgotten mixtapes, perfect for getting hyped up on the way there and staying awake on the way back.
The Site – 7/10
Ahhh Butlins. There’s something very endearing about this very British institution, despite the disturbing similarity to a shopping mall. Everything under one roof is great if your Christmas present list is longer than your arm but at a festival that celebrates music, the commercial undertone did jar a little. On the flip side: no tents! This was a stroke of genius. Chalets meant sofas, showers and siestas. All the things required for sustaining stamina levels for all the other fun stuff on offer – like a trip to the beautiful beach just across the way. Sadly we didn’t catch a film at ATP cinema or drop a stitch at Kelley Deal’s knitting circle but it was warming to know that they were on offer.
Atmosphere – 9/10
There is always a great vibe at ATP and this weekend was no exception: lots of exciting music, smiley happy people and friendly staff. Not to mention geese, ducks and rabbits everywhere. You can’t beat baby rabbits to add a little sunshine to a hangover. Speaking of the weather, there was just enough sun to keep us happy and just enough rain to suits the ducks.
Holy Fuck – 8/10
Excitement about the Canadian group’s set had been growing all Saturday and by the time 1.30am came around, Centre Stage was packed. Diving straight in, within minutes they had the floor bouncing so violently that certain death seemed imminent. Not that anyone cared. The whole crowd were so caught up in the moment and the music that even a few small technical hitches only heightened the anticipation and atmosphere. The only complaint was an hour was too short. We could have jumped around for two.
Gang Of Four – 8/10
Proving they’ve still well and truly got it, the post-punk rockers didn’t just chuck themselves around the stage with vigour – they picked on electrical appliances too. Having thrilled the crowd in the Pavilion with bracing renditions of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘I Love A Man In Uniform’, frontman King set about a microwave oven with a baseball bat. It sounded amazing if you’re wondering.
Foals – 8/10
Clearly elated to be headlining ATP, the Oxford four-piece treated fans to a blistering blend of ‘Antidotes’ favourites and unfinished new material. More of a live jam than a set of songs, their intense and jerky guitar rhythms had festival goers singing their praises for the rest of the evening.
Kimya Dawson – 7/10
Bathed in light and blowing bubbles, the Moldy Peaches singer-songwriter charmed with sweetly sharp songs and an endearing vulnerability. Cracking jokes about backing dancers and borrowing leotards from The Frogs, Dawson overcame self-confessed nerves with a wink and a nod. Lovely.
The Soft Pack – 7/10
An early afternoon spot on a Sunday could be a difficult one but not for this bunch of breezy San Diego rockers. Their infectious energy and instant familiarity recharged a tired ATP’s batteries in a very compact 45 minutes.
Missing Bon Iver. Please don’t tell us how good he was. We know.
While The Frogs entertained in suits made of tinsel, a group of 40s-dressed, tattooed folk by the fruit machines drew a crowd of their own. Competitive arm-wrestling was the name of the game and the girls were winning. Pummelling the boys in fact. Awesome.
By Ruth Saxelby