Simon Weeds ventured to Alexandra Palace, North London, to attend ATP’s (All Tomorrow’s Parties) latest music festival. Big names included Slayer, Mogwai and Afghan Whigs, these being their only UK tour dates. Here are his highlights.
This being the evening where Slayer took to the stage as the headline act, the music for the entire night was on the heavy side. American metal band Wolves in the Throne Room stood out with a different approach to black metal, with a tense, atmospheric, apocalyptic sound.
Slayer, playing the entirety of their Reign in Blood album was relentless. I was stood about three rows back from the front, and knew it would probably get rough. I looked to my left, and saw my mates. I turned to my right and saw a bald giant with a beard, his arms in a cross formation, chanting “Slayer. Slayer. Slayer.” I was going to die. Instead, I ended up really enjoying Slayer and their fans are great – anyone on their feet is up for getting pulped, if you hit the ground, everyone helps you up. Great start to the festival.
The music came down a notch from heavy metal, with Mogwai headlining in the evening. Most of the bands during the day were good, but the one that stood out was Codeine. They formed in the very late 80s, released two albums in the 90s and promptly split. They reformed this year, and I’m grateful they did. Slowcore Indie Rock at its best. They clearly stood out among the other bands that day, and what was astonishing was they sounded so tight for three guys who shook hands at the end of the set, like they hadn’t said hello since 1994.
Unfortunately the music on Sunday was eclipsed (for me) by a Q&A session with Louis Theroux about his new documentary. He also curated the films, which were being shown that day, obviously all documentaries. The first was about a guy who tries to make a feature length horror film with his friends – basically exploring the validity of the American dream, and it was as hilarious as it was weirdly fascinating. I would recommend ‘American Movie’ to anyone. The second was D.A Pennebaker’s ‘Don’t Look Back’, following Bob Dylan on his UK tour in the 60s. I’d seen it before, but if you haven’t, it’s a must-see.
Overall it was a great weekend of music, and it was fresh because I barely knew any of the bands, therefore managing to find some new artists who had previously gone under the radar. Apologies for the deviance into film – if it’s any consolation, Louis Theroux is into The Shins, Radiohead and Spoon (a guy with a ginger beard asked him).
Words: Simon Weeds