APW Day 2: It Might Get Loud

by mattdentler
August 2, 2009 6:25 AM
1 Comment
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Day Two of All Points West was beautiful, the skies cleared and the sun came out. It never got too hot, though, which is likely connected to how it's now rainy again on Day Three. The big headliner was prog-metal band Tool, an act I've seen some four times during high school and college. They haven't toured all that much since I was in college (granted, that wasn't too many years ago) so this was a reunion of sorts. And, they did not disappoint. They are such an exacting band when they play live, their stage presence can almost feel cold. However, they mixed it up for the crowds at All Points West, throwing in textures and asides for staples such as the already-brilliant "Stinkfist." If Friday was about hip-hop (with acts like Jay-Z, Q-Tip, and Pharcyde on the bill), then Saturday at All Points West was about harder, darker rock.

There were more than a few Tool fans in the crowd expressing disappointment with British shoegazer pioneers My Bloody Valentine, who played before their beloved band. Chants of "you suck!" and "turn up the vocals!" could be heard in between songs while My Bloody Valentine simply ignored it all and washed the audience over a noise storm that had many attendees reeling with their ears covered. Don't get me wrong, it would have been nice to hear Bilinda Butcher's melodic vocals better, but as a fan of the band, I knew what I was there to see. Here are some photos from Day Two:

(New York's The Postelles opened up the afternoon, previewing songs from their upcoming debut LP. The band definitely has that poppy/Strokesy vibe, but with talent to match.)

(The Arctic Monkeys from Sheffield, UK were a bigger buzz band in 2006 and 2007. Since then, they've faded off the American radar, and Saturday's performance didn't help matters. The band was phoning it in, lacking any real excitement or punch. It was actually rather boring.)

(Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, charged through with a dynamic set. While her material - particularly the great stuff from new album Actor - plays better indoors, she held her own amongst the hard rockers in the audience.)

(Gypsy punk-rockers Gogol Bordello did not disappoint a tad, giving audiences an energetic and fun performance.)

(Gogol Bordello frontman - and sometimes actor - Eugene Hutz. I couldn't choose just one photo.)

(I had the pleasant feeling of thinking I was back in Austin, as I watched country/folk songstress Neko Case on Saturday.)

(Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields, from My Bloody Valentine on Saturday night. Magic for some of us, noise for others.)

(With a few radio hits under their belt, British dance-rock duo The Ting Tings had more than a few fans turn up for their day-ending set on a smaller-than-deserved stage. This is a band that is breaking through and it's a good thing. See them live if you can, it's a party.)

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1 Comment

  • Bungalow Bill | August 2, 2009 11:40 AMReply

    Arctic Monkeys tuned in brilliantly and wittily to teenage social experience in England in 2005 and in their lyrics forged an incisive demotic poetry and in their music a tight, angular, complimentary sound which gained them a huge, unhyped groundswell of support amongst kids in the North of England. Unfortunately, this was later hyped by the UK music press. That put up the backs of US music journalists and you Americans rarely make the effort to accept or understand cultural phonemena that lie outside your own inward-focused culture. The Beatles were a rare exception.

    The rest of the world has embraced them (as it has the Kings of Leon and the Killers, who made it in the UK and whom we have reimported to you).

    Alex Turner has continued to evolve as a songwrtier and the band have evolved as musicians but most US commentators have yet to recover from their initial antipathies. You don't listen to AM, let alone hear them.

    I saw the Beatles live in 1964. Neither they nor AM were/are into histrionics on stage. That's not being boring. AM concentrate on getting the sound right. They're younger than the Beatles were then and they're a more accomplished live band.

    Watch this space.