ATP Vs The Fans II - Rated!
United Kingdom | 18 May 2009
Love it or hate it, All Tomorrows Parties pack a musical punch that only a few rivals can match, says Howard Jones.
Overall - 9/10
People love ATP for the same reasons that others despise it (not least the Butlins staff). This passionate divide cannot dispute the fact that ATP always has a dependable line up of quality. A few acts are adored by most of the patrons and then scores of others acts on the bill are loved by a few diehard fans. This year’s line up for the second ATP Vs The Fans special (ATP bosses pick one half of the line-up, ticket-holders the other) is more of the same. As usual, Butlins Holiday Camp in Minehead, Somerset acts as the host for the gathering of music‘s most notoriously snobbish fans.
Getting there and back - 6/10
ATP Fans know a trip to Somerset is part of the bargain. Minehead is by no means out of bounds but is still awkwardly located for both car and public transport and the train can be especially expensive. However it still has several things going for it: finding a parking space and traffic queues. Neither are an issue at such a small event and festival-goers can leave anytime as the timetable of Minehead dictates.
The Site - 6/10
A stay at Butlins never promises great things even when you are about to sample some of the most exciting leftfield indie around. One can never complain about the chalets or facilities - this is classier than 99% of festivals - yet, it is always frustrating to know that outside the dingy darkened rooms is a glorious spring day. I hedge my bets that Beirut would be the perfect gig if staged out on the beach (though maybe not Fuck Buttons). The site is sweetly located to the beach and there are plenty of activities on offer. Hmmm…bowling or Holy Fuck?
Atmosphere - 7/10
ATP has a grand tradition of bringing together some of the most passionate and intelligent music fans around. Some sets are sadly muted as the crowds seem more interested in analysing the music than going crazy and forgetting their inhibitions. Yet, for the most part the sublime sets are impeccably observed such as Grizzly Bear and the raucous revelled in with Chk Chk Chk being a prime example.
M83 - 8/10
If you want unstoppable melodrama and beautiful wall of sound noise then ask for M83 as the soundtrack to your next life affirming moment. The set balances the M83 of old, for the shoegazers out there, between the shinier synth pop of the new album ‘Saturday=Youth’ which sounds big and epic as well.
Liam Finn - 7/10
There’s nothing remotely new or particularly exciting about his music yet live his sound cannot be bettered. All he does is layer guitars, drums and vocals upon each other. That’s it. Yet, his songs re-invent themselves as mysterious and unique pieces that put him above 99% of singer songwriters with ordinary songs like ‘Second chance’ transformed into immense emotional affairs.
Fuck Buttons - 7/10
The Bristolians that hate panto know an easy gig when they see one. A fans’ favourite set that plays most of debut album ‘Street Horrrsing’. It’s a gorgeous sunset outside apparently but most people would prefer some nihilistic dance noise for 45 minutes. This is confirmed by a rammed room and some very noisy approval for two men with laptops.
Edan - 8/10
Has anyone made a better leftfield hip hop album than ‘Primitive Plus’ since the new millennium began? Edam as one rather drunk punter insists on calling him is given free reign over the Friday night party for two hours which fly by thanks to a healthy dose of psychedelic noise, leftfield samples and some sick beats.
Errors - 8/10
Despite making two sublime dance records in three years, Errors still remain relatively unknown to the common dance fan. This is a set taking the finest from their two albums with both ‘Mr. Milk’ and ‘Salut France’ drawing some of the biggest cheers of the weekend – it’s top class minimalist dance music that is cold and yet euphoric at times.
Chk Chk Chk - 8/10
The sense of anticipation for a notoriously great live band is unpalatable. People are ready to unload the last remains of their energy into this one set. Nick Chk Chk Chk is the quintessentially ‘I don’t give a fuck, I just wanna dance’ frontman of an ensemble of musicians that produce some deliciously funky jams with a live sound that cannot be beaten.