Friday, March 16, 2012

Photos/Review: All Tomorrow's Parties - Minehead, UK (Day Two)

ATP Mosaic by Shannon McLean @ ATP Minehead 3/10/12
ATP Mosaic of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Shannon McLean
All Tomorrow's Parties curated by Jeff Mangum
@ Butlin's Holiday Centre, Minehead, UK
Day Two - March 10, 2012

Photos/Review: Rhona "Wiglet Bill" Aquilina

At 10.30am my phone rings, firmly waking me from the slumber the seagulls have been attempting to draw me out of since around 6am with their incessant squawking. It’s my friend who lives in Minehead inviting me out for breakfast in the local ‘Hairy Dog’ pub. After explaining that I’d had little or no sleep and that there was absolutely zero chance of me dragging my sorry self from my bed, I hung up the phone to find that I was unable to go back to sleep. Over an hour and a half later my wife finally woke up and after some breakfast and a bit of ‘Jeff Mangum TV’ we finally noticed that it was turning out to be a spectacularly beautiful day outside.

We headed out of the accommodation for a walk in the sun, through the rows of chalets, on toward the meringue turrets of the skyline pavilion, brilliant white against the cloudless morning sky. We decide to head inside to see if any new and exciting merch had arrived, stopping on the way to take in the awesome ATP mosaic by Shannon McLean (a rendering of the cover of the Neutral Milk Hotel record In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, seen above).

From there we went to Crazy Horse for A Hawk And A Hacksaw, noting along the way the rows of swimming costumes, trunks and towels hanging from the railings in the outside section of Butlin’s pizza restaurant, unsurprised that the beach and the pool had been a draw today. Anyway, we show our wristbands and step into Reds to find we are essentially blinded; the venue is dark as darkest night, quite a shock to the system after that bright sunshine. Moving very carefully, so as not to step on anyone hiding in the shadows, we try to find a better view in the darkness. The musicians, Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost, are seated at the far edges of the stage, projected between them is Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a Russian film classic about peasant love and loss, shown with subtitles. The music is authentic, passionate and highly theatrical. The venue however seems inadequate for the task. There are long stretches where the musicians are silent and the film is paramount. Whilst this is fine for the few attendees standing in the narrow strip where the screen and subtitles are visible, for the rest of us it’s vaguely infuriating. Leaving me to wonder whether ATP might have made use of the cinema on resort for this performance. Heading back out in to the glorious sunshine we are once again rendered virtually blind by the change of lighting.

We had intended to catch Boredoms but ended up being seduced by the sunshine and decided instead to go and get an ice cream and soak up some rays, promising ourselves we’d see Boredoms’ second performance on Sunday. So we sat and watched the world go by and spotted The Apples in Stereo on their way to sound check. All around people were smiling at perfect strangers and making this feel like the friendliest, most awesome ATP ever.

The Apples in stereo (enroute to soundcheck) @ ATP Minehead 3/10/12
Robert Scheider of The Apples in Stereo
That feel-good vibe was to continue on at Centre Stage with The Apples in Stereo. Robert Schneider informed the crowd that it had been his birthday yesterday adding “These have been some of the best shows I’ve seen in my life. Can you believe this shit?” and making several shout-outs to the ladies. It was at this point we spotted some friends who swear they saw Russell Brand in the crowd on their way through. But back to the band, who I can wholeheartedly say inspired an unbelievable amount of super freaky dancing; including one man I spotted who was furiously hopping on one foot, arms out to the side, palms raised to the sky during "Energy" and an obviously very loved up and sweet couple who seemed terminally mal-coordinated and danced together for the entire set.

The Apples in stereo @ ATP Minehead 3/10/12

The Apples in stereo @ ATP Minehead 3/10/12

Then it was back to the chalet for what has become a personal ATP tradition, drinks and the Playstation One classic Bishi Bashi Special. This began some years ago after the portable CD player’s death and before the Mp3 player, I would bring the Playstation along to play music from CD through the television. Turns out it’s just perfect for filling the odd gap between acts once the sun has gone down and the sea breeze is too chilly for the beach. Having missed Yann Tiersen’s previous appearances at ATP we decided to drop into Centre Stage and catch his show. Although I know him from his classical crossover stuff (most famously the soundtrack to Amelie), I had read that he had taken a change in direction. Classical instruments had been replaced by electronics desks and towers. Admittedly, we weren’t really ‘feeling’ it so we went to grab some food and settle the ‘Bishi Bashi’ score over a few more beers in preparation for Scratch Acid later.

Yann Tiersen @ ATP Minehead 3/10/12
Yann Tiersen
We arrive at Centre Stage in good time for Scratch Acid. My friends and I pick a spot for the show so I can find them later and I head to the pit with my camera. Security finally let us in and when they do a woman on the front row behind me says to her friend “We’ve been standing in this spot for seven hours waiting for this and now these arseholes are standing in our way!” Perhaps this should have been the first clue that I was never going to forget the next ten or so minutes. Scratch Acid hit the stage and I’m immediately hit in the shoulder by a full pint of beer hurled from the audience. A quick glance at my camera reveals it is unscathed and I attempt to compose myself and get off some decent pictures. David Yow is leering out over the audience with his mic cord wrapped around his hand attack-style. Swaggering about the stage aggressively, I catch a glint of something ominous in his eyes, his focus shifts and before I know it he has leapt out over my head into the crowd, clattering his shins against the front bar as he does so. I am promptly shoved out of the way first by security as they try to drag him out of the crowd and then by a tech guy desperately feeding more and more mic lead into the audience. Rather predictably Yow’s surfing exploits inspire a slew of imitators who come crashing like waves into the pit causing security to clear it of any non-essentials such as myself for safety reasons. I was so exhilarated I ran from the pit to where my wife was standing. She would later say that she has never seen the whites of my eyes so wide or bright. The rest of the set was incredible, David Yow repeatedly thanking the crowd for clapping. The crowd surfing barely abated for the entire hour they were on stage, the band so good I was barely even distracted by the man standing next to me in a skinny suit, headbanging, air drumming and flapping like a bird.

We head back to our accommodation, exhausted but high as kites on the adrenalin of such an incredible performance. I had to drink an awful lot to get to sleep that night.


Stay tuned for Rhona's final part of her ATP coverage, and check out Part 1's photos and videos if you haven't already.

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