My favorite discovery during ATP? That would be Los Angeles drummer circle maniacs Foot Village. These aren't those dopey hippies you see at Bonnaroo wearing sandals and needing a shower. The three dudes and a lady just plain kick ass. It's a blur of furious pounding, flying hair backed by a screaming female. It must a good release of toxins and endorphins where these people take the stage. To some, they might not make sense. It can veir into the non-sensical because, at times, their energy overtakes them and you just get noise on top of noise on top of yelps. But before you know it, it comes together and it becomes some sort of singular tribal primal scream.
Half of the fun of their set was seeing them rotate around their drum sets and getting caught up in the action. I looked online for some live videos and they usually play in tight spaces. For ATP, the wide stage of Conventiol Hall actually benefited them because the sound traveled and bounced everywhere. They sounded like an invading army.
I'm listening to one of their four albums, Fuck the Future 2, which has more of an experimental, poetry slam feeling rather random chaos. I think they are a better live band then on record, because you don't get a sense of their musical acrobatics on an album.
They are sticking for a few more days on the east coast, so the Philly and NYC peops can witness the craziness.
Friday 7: Pi Lam -- Philadelphia
Saturday 8: AS220 -- Providence
Sunday 9: Death By Audio - Brooklyn
My favorite set on Saturday from a band name named Portishead was Battles. The inventive instrumentalists who take programmed beats and intricate rhythms started the party that led in Ultramagnetic MCs and then into the headliners. I had never seen them live before, and they just blew me away. You marvel at the grooves they lay down that built and built until your head starts freaking out. It's not just a bunch of guys pressing buttons and creating them album. With Ian Williams playin guitar, hitting lopps and working the keyboards upside, he's like a musical juggles. Even more so now when they are down one member with Tyondai Braxton leaving last year.
What was great abour their set was that it makes their new album, Glass Drop, sound better. It's goofy, bright and gloriously weird. On the this album, they brought in vocals from "In Cars' maestro Gary Numan, Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino and Chilean pop singer Matias Aguayo guesting. The singers appeared behind the band on screens ... when they worked. It seemed that they had some problems keeping these large panels working. The crowd went crazy when the screens flashed pictures of melted ice cream cones, which obviously was the beginning of Ice Cream. For their big hit, Atlas, the replaced their vocals with those of a child's chorus.
The New York trio have a slew on international date. Their ATP appearance was their first stop, and it will end at ATP England.
The dates, with Irish band Walls opening up from 6-17, then Tokyo band Nisennenmondai will take over:
Rocktober 6 – VIA Festival, Pittsburgh
Rocktober 7 – Vic Theatre, Chicago
Rocktober 8 – Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Rocktober 11 – Wilma Theater, Missoula
Rocktober 12 – Neptune, Seattle
Rocktober 13 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Rocktober 15 – Treasure Island Festival, San Francisco
Rocktober 16 – Glasshouse, Pamona
Rocktober 17 – Mayan Theater, Los Angeles
Rocktober 18 – The Venue, Scottsdale
Rocktober 20 – Fitzgerald’s, Houston
Rocktober 21 – Emo’s, Austin
Rocktober 22 – Granada Theater, Dallas
Rocktober 24 – Exit In, Nashville
Rocktober 25 – Work/Play, Birmingham
Rocktober 26 – Crowbar, Tampa
Rocktober 27 – Grand Central, Miami
Rocktober 28 – Masquerade, Atlanta
Rocktober 29 – Moogfest, Asheville
Rocktober 30 – 9.30 Club, Washington
Rocktober 31 – Theater of the Living Arts, Philadelphia
November 1 – Webster Hall, New York
I figure for tonight's post, I highlight the picture I took outside of the stage. I'm sure many of you haven't made the journey down to Asbury Park. For my British audience, Asbury Park is the Blackpool of America. It was once a thriving getaway at the Turn of the Century to the Prohibition eras, equal to the Atlantic City we see in Boardwalk Empire. Then after World War II, the city started its decline, culminating in riots in 1970. From there on, the boardwalk was run down and sad. You had to climb a fence in order to get to the beach. Away from the beach, yeah, it's a bit rough.
This turn of events inspired the Springsteen to write "My City of Ruins"
It was only until the last decade, where the city finally started to pick things up. It now has a thriving art and music scene. The boardwalk has upscale restaurants and clubs. For us who went to ATP, we can all appreciate the Convention Hall, Paramount Theatre and connecting arcade. It looked a lot different when the Wrestler was filmed there. It's not a complete turnaround for the whole town because they are few parts that are sort of sketchy, but it's going in the right direction.
If you were to ask me the difference between All Tomorrow's Parties and the defunct All Points West, I would say popcorn. Everywhere you went in the Convention Hall, you smelled popcorn -- sweet, buttery, warm popcorn. Even by the Asbury Park Roastery, you smelled coffee mixed with popcorn. If you want to talk about a business boom, that coffee shop's line was always about 20 deep.
Since me and relaxation don't mix, I tried a bit to soak in the evening on the beach with the slight chill in the air. Both bars overlooked the beach and sea, where ATP set-up a bonfire.
On the boardwalk, I've mentioned the Silverball Museum, where ATP ticket holders got free admin for the weekend. Their sign-in sheet got to be a 1,000 before I finally got over. I spotted one of the Deerhoof fellas admiring the vintage machines. It's the one place I didn't see Mangum. For a guy who is sort of recluse, he was everywhere.
Go all the way down, and you see the remnants of the casino. It's one the distinguishable architectural relics from its glory days of 1900s. The other being the Howard Johnson's, which is now an upscale bar/restaurant.
Finally, yes, the music scene, which is geared towards rock-a-billy, surf and punk rock. The upi-center is Asbury Lanes, which held a few sets from Shellac and Peanut Butter Wolf and trivia contests. I've been there many times, and just dig the vibe and the people. It's one of those places that has regulars. I don't think I could be a regular, since I don't have tattooes, dyed hair or smell like an ashtray. When Brooklyn Bowl was being built, I was thinking it would be like Asbury Lanes, sort of kitchy, made to look run down and with a lot of local color. Nah, they went clean and classy. Asbury Lanes, it's real old school. A lot of characters frequent the joint during its burleque or roller derby nights.
Ben Ratliff over at the NY Times has good piece about the overall ATP experience and how it's a different beast of a music festival then Lollapalooza or Bonaroo. He has it correct, it's just a different class of concert-goers. Yes, we actually go to a festival for the music. For me, ATP is quality, not quantity. I would think it an awesome feat for a band like Portishead to choose a line-up. I would like to know who they wanted, but couldn't get to perform.
Now for some pictures. This is on the far end of the boardwalk.
Asbury Lanes. Mark it 8, dude.
Shep Fairey made his mark around the city as you can see.
This was on the second floor of the convention hall.
Somebody got married. Portishead should have invited them to the show.
The local kids theater company staged a little impromtu performance. You know, it's good for the kids. They the Glee and the American Idol, so it brings them to singing Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat on the boardwalk. Don't ask how I know what they were singing.
It really happened. It's astonishing! The triumphant Portishead came to the historic hamlet of Asbury Park and played two nights. They rarely tour, or rarely record, yet they came to New Jersey for their first East Coast visit in over a decade. The anticipation for their headlining sets was intense. People packed in the Asbury Park Convention Center with cameras and phones ready to take a blurry pic of Beth.
And for me, I'm standing five feet from the action, just so I can bring you these photos.
Their performances were nothing short of extraordinary. What makes the veteran UK band pioneers at their craft is the intense mood they create, expert compositions and willingness to bend genres. Above all, their music is cinematic, heart-felt and deeply emotional. We go to shows either to drink and have a good time, jump around, be part of the scene, etc. With Portishead, they take you on a journey that is both stimulating to the mind, body and ears.
As you can see with the setlists, they played the big hits. You have the jazzy, torch song that is "Glory Box," the James Bond theme-styled "All Mine", the living nightmare of "Machine Gun," the seductive "Wandering Star," the hip hop-infused "Numb" and the ultra cool "Cowboys". My favorite is the closer, "We Carry On" from their long-in-the works 2008 album, Third, which was my favorite album of that year. It's a sonic experience of metallic guitars and tricked out electronics. That song plays like a futuristic car chase.
I did expect some sort of visual display, and we got some crazy images -- mostly static, patterns, warped artwork and live video feeds of the band. It was an essential part of the performance, because let's face it, Beth Gibbons sings like she's about to be shot by a firing squad or on the verge of tears. She plays the wounded and fragile woman, so she spends the time between verses walking back to Geoff Barrows. When she does sing, she barely moves, only moving her head back and forth with a pained expression of her space.
Thus, it was shocking that she ended Saturday's set by crowd surfing and running a victory lap through the crowd. I guess she wanted to show her appreciation and excitement for the weekend. Give your hands up for Beth G., and she ain't to youngin', she's 46.
The Saturday crowd felt like it was at capacity, and they were loud and cheered well-after the last song. Their sets were something for ages, because let's face it, Jersey doesn't many acts like Portishead coming around.
While I prefer Saturday's performance because everybody was amped up, these photos are from Sunday, because I just had a better luck. Saturday's are below in the other post.
And Chuck D gives his approval with the fist bump. YEAAAAAHHHH BOOYYYEEEEE! That was awesome. He recognizes the skills.
I am spent MusicSnobbery nation. Three nights, two full days of bands amidst the surroundings of historic Asbury Park. Let me know, out of towners, what did you think of the Asbury Park boardwalk, the convention center, Asbury Lanes? It seemed to be a well-attended weekend and I didn't hear complaining.
Sunday's line-up included return performances by headliner/curators Portishead, who now head up the Turnpike for two nights in New York and a Jimmy Fallon appearance, where I'm sure he well scream their name when he introduces him. Before them, Public Enemy threw a party and shook the room down to its very core. They might not made new music recently, by Chuck and Flav still turn it out. I kind of wish they played Saturday because by the time they were done, I was worn out from the jumping and fist pumping.Then Chuck took to the stage during "Machine Gun"
Once, again I'll go more in-depth on the weekend over the next week. Hopefully, I'll get all the good stuff before I go away.
A sample of pics from Sunday:
J.G. Thirlwell's Manorexia
Day Two of All Tomorrow's Parties was one of the finest day of music I've experienced in my music journeys. It's 3am and I'm still juiced from Portishead's long-awaited return to the Eastern United States. Portishead should come to the Jerz more often. Beth Gibbons is more than welcome to crowd surf when I town.
They are not to be outdone by Battles, who melted my face off with the intricate electro-rock pop. I hit music and baseball nirvana. Battles was just killing it on stage, while I had my photo in my hand so I can check the Phillies progress.
Much much much more later. Needs me some sleep. Here are some photos to give you taste of the day.
Marc Ribot's Cermaic Dog
The Pop Group
Day One in the books. It's shaping up to be a fine weekend of rock, rap, folk, pop and everything in between. The Asbury Park Convention Hall is looking awesome -- beautifully restored. We should all dress up like character from Boardwalk Empire tomorrow.
Jeff Mangum was dynamite. His voice never faulted and his went through his catalogue.
More on everything later. Just want to give you a bit of taste for those coming down tomorrow.
Only word of advice -- bring cash.