We knew it was going to be bleak, but holy shit we had no idea just how bleak it was going to become.
Myself and my ATP Pranksters were at a storm thrashed Prestatyn in November. All Tomorrow's Parties was back for the first time since 2013. The dark, wet abandoned Pontins seemed more a recreation of the post apocalyptic TV series 'Threads' than a holiday camp, which is oddly adapt given the contrary nature of the festival. Also one of the 'On the Buses' movies was filmed there fact fans!
After a 18 hour car journey (I exaggerate for comic effect, it was actually 19 hours) we arrived stiff limbed and managed to get into the to find the Micah P Hinson set in full flight. I was a little pissed off that Micah P was on so early as he was one of the sets I wanted to see. Although as it turned out I managed to see most of his set. He was as great as usual, although he seemed a bit lost at sea if I’m honest.
One of the other acts I was looking forward to was Micachu and the Shapes so I was again disappointed to discover that they’d cancelled. Although I did wonder how I was going to make it to see them start at 1:30 in the morning. So after being grumpy for a bit I kicked back and just enjoyed the ATP randomness with my mates. I dipped in and out of bands the first who really caught my attention were Viet Cong. I was aware of them from 6Music, but they really came into their own live. The drummer especially was dynamic and I even forgive him for barging past me a bit later on. Lightning Bolt were always going to be worth a watch and it was thrilling to see people crowd surfing and the sheer noise those two can make is insane. There were a set of seats at the back of the main stage and I didn't think I could get any closer to stage as it was so loud, but I did manage to get to get down to the front for a bit of moshing which really helped clear the pipes.I saw a bit of The Album Leaf performing an album in its entirety, enjoyed it but decided to flat off. It wasn’t a late night for me.
My band barometer ‘Captain’ Keef Legero told me that the Saturday was heavy with some hard-core electronica, so it was a day of wandering and discovery, which to be honest is one of the joys of a festival in general and ATP specifically. Lots of people were saying good things about The Album Leaf the day before so I went to see their second set and I thought they were amazing, blissful with a bit of bight. Hadn't heard of the band before and went and bought the album.
Sunday morning I got up and went for an hour and a half. I went for a run down on the sea front. It was blowing a gale and at some points it felt like I was running on the spot while being sand blasted. Upon my return to the chalet I was told that my skin looked radiant. I didn't feel that I made enough of an effort to see bands on the Saturday so I got in to see Jessica Pratt, who was perfect for a Sunday morning. At one point I rubbed my eye and a load of sand fell out from that morning’s run.
After that I hung out with my chalet buddies Woody, Jas and Keef and saw a wonderfully batsh it crazy Portuguese band who seemed to be all in fancy dress. They were followed by Death who had a lot of spirit and were unintentionally hilarious when they said: “We’ve never played in England before!” Audience: “You still haven’t!”
I was stupidly excited to learn that DJ Marc Riley – the person who has done more than anyone else in recent history to introduce me to new music - was going to be at the festival. I really wanted to have a photo taken with Marc and to tell him how much I enjoy his show. Of course when I did get the chance to speak to him I burbled at him. He looked confused and asked me what I was saying. He had a pint in one hand and a phone in the other just to add to the confusion when I thrust my hand out to shake. He was nice enough and I did manage to get my photo taken with him.
I think after my Close Encounter of a Lard Kind I went to see Younghusband who I thought were okay, didn't think they shinned live unlike the next band I saw who knocked my sand filled socks off.
Thee Oh Sees were undoubtedly one of the – if not THE – stand out band of the weekend. I heard them on the Marc Riley show and hadn’t really got them, but live they were a force of nature. Two drummers facing each other and a very charismatic singer. More crowd surfing and a slightly under boiled stand-off between the lead singer and the security.
Singer: “Hey man, bring that girl back in or we’re not going to carry on playing.”
Security: “Don’t care.”
They did come back on and were amazing
I enjoyed Courtney Barnett but she would always have a hard time following Thee Oh Sees. Her set was a very polished club venue one which did jar a tad with how the rest of the weekend went. Good to see her though.
I floated around and eventually settled in the seats at the back of the main stage with Keef and together we watched Build to Spill, who I thought I’d never heard of but when they began to play I knew more and more songs than I realised. I didn't see the entire set as it was pushing 2am which is wayyyyy past my bed time.
I loved ATP and completely forgot that it's at it's best when it's presenting you with you're new favorite band.I hope it's back for good, and I hope I can go again. If not it was a great way to go out.