Minehead, Somerset, 15/5/2010
published: 1 /
...while on the second they talk about performances from Blitzen Trapper, Fiery Furnaces, Camera Obscura, Pavement and Atlas Sound
BH: I didn’t really come to ATP expecting to see bands who seem to want to find the middle ground between the Floyd and Fleetwood Mac. This was just effortlessly good!
JR: I was pleasantly surprised by these guys; from their name I was expecting some kind of German drone metal, but what was actually delivered was a fresh slice of psych-folk-rock stuff that kicked Saturday off with an “ooh, that’s actually alright”
MR: I always thought Blitzen Trapper were a bunch of quiet, folky, beardy types, but they’re not at all really, though a couple of them did have beards. They really rocked. Another pleasant surprise in a seemingly endless stream of pleasant surprises.
BH: I was 90 per cent expecting a big let down - they can write killer pop songs, but they have also the capacity to lose their audience entirely with prog ramblings. But, instead the Friedbergers belted out fired up garage rock. It didn’t capture their whimsical charm, or their tunefulness… but it seemed sincere, and made for a good set.
SJ: Unfortunately it’s the whimsical charm and tunefulness that I like about their songs, so this was an utter let down. I was hoping seeing the band live would inspire me to seek out more of their back catalogue, but instead it had the opposite effect.
JR: I think this one would have been great for those that know the Fiery Furnaces and could pick out songs they liked, but for those unfamiliar with their stuff it might have proved a bit impenetrable (as Sarah has maybe shown). All the same, I enjoyed the set – it was music you could stamp your feet to!
MR: I was also pretty concerned that these would be a let down, but they delivered a tight, rocked up, fun(!?) set that made me like them even more. I have photographic evidence of the Friedbergers smiling! Who’d have thought it!
BH: I can see why some people have told me they aren’t much cop live. They don’t give any impression that they want to be on the stage. Even as Tracyanne Campbell’s habit of concentrating most heavily on the need for tiny adjustments in the monitor annoyed me, the songs were a constant delight.
SJ: It’s true that Camera Obscura always seem to look on the verge of suicide, but somehow the music flowing from the stage is some of the most beautiful and uplifting to come out of the highlands.
Their set was pure joy, even if they weren’t convinced themselves. Everything, down from the quirky 50s styling to the hazy effects on the lead vocals worked perfectly.
JR: This is the second time I’ve seen the lovely Camera Obscura play live, and if anything they looked more miserable for this set than the last one. But, the songs are still great and the summery soul vibes brought a bit of a party atmosphere to the festival in the fading sun. Or glowing artificial light, as the stage was inside.
MR: Miserable Scots; lovely, sunny music. That’s all I have to add.
BH: This was Pavement, on stage, singing Pavement songs - sloppily enough so that it seemed like a real band and not a rehearsed stage-show, but competently enough that it didn’t seem soul-less either. Stephen Malkmus seemed to be lost in his own little world, but his sincerity when doing ‘We Dance’ suggested that he really did want to be there! ‘Range Life’ and ‘Gold Soundz’, at the end, were exactly what you want from a band who probably won’t ever be in front of a British audience again.
SJ: It was a treat to get to see Pavement at all and the audience knew it. Each song was met with a wave of recognition and they fed off the energy in the crowd.
I’m uneasy to admit it, but I’ve only ever been a fan in passing so to hear their ‘best of’ live was like a wake up call to how good their songs actually are, and also how much of an influence they have been on so many other great bands.
JR: Quite simply, astoundingly good. Did everything a headliner should do – all the songs you wanted to hear, played exactly as you’d like to hear them. Seeing Bob Nastanovich dance with his wife on-stage as the band played ‘We Dance’ was at once funny and really quite touching. To be honest, after they played ‘Kennel District’ I could have gone away happy – it’s one of my favourite songs.
I wasn’t so pleased with whoever was standing behind me; they seemed to be trying to merge into my body. It was at best distracting
MR: What can I say? Wow. Everything I hoped it would be. I yelled along tunelessly to every song. A very strong contender for my best ever gig. As far as I was concerned, Pavement could have played all night. It would have made me a very happy man. The band were on really good form, with no signs of ill-feeling among the members. They all looked like they were really enjoying themselves, although Stephen Malkmus would occasionally chuck his guitar around and goof about in a way that he might be getting a little restless. At one point, he threw his guitar in the air and almost dropped it on his head – that could’ve brought the show to a very swift close.
Unfortunately, you have to accept the band will never play ‘Carrot Rope’ live, but everything they did play was brilliant. A large chunk of it was taken from their first two albums, ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ and ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’, though generally it was a pretty good spread across the whole of their back catalogue. The crowd’s reaction when the band played ‘Gold Soundz’ was my best moment. Worth the ticket price alone.
BH : Woozy - it caught the mood perfectly. His songs sounded much better here than on record and I like the album, while the electronic parts could happily have gone on forever. An hour after Pavement sung it, ‘We Dance’ cropped up again, and somehow he didn’t just get away with it, he owned it!
SJ: A combination of the over heating in the second stage, the laid back sound of the music and maybe also a few beers, meant I watched Atlas Sound with closed eyes, but my ears were wide open! A perfect follow up to all the excitement leading up to Pavement and a great end to the second night (well for some of us).
Bradford Cox’s live version of ‘Walkabout’ was not to be missed, and came close to topping the original which is rare in a song you love.
JR: Genuinely amazing – the perfect way to end a day’s festivaling (I’ve made this word up). I sat back and, like Sarah, shut my eyes and opened my mind! I didn’t really open my mind, but I liked the music very much and felt extremely relaxed.
His on-stage banter was really warm and friendly too. And camp as Christmas. It was particularly lovely when the crowd sang him ‘Happy Birthday’; he danced around the stage and then declared “You guys are the best birthday party ever!” It was a touching moment. Mark definitely cried
MR: I did well up a little. After the adrenaline-fuelled high that was Pavement’s set, the ambient pop of Atlas Sound was a perfect way to end the night. I love his music, and it was great to hear stripped down versions of ‘Walkabout’, ‘Sheila’ and ‘Attic Lights’. Ben’s right; the abstract parts of his set just washed over you, they never got boring. And it goes without saying that the cover of ‘We Dance’ was the high point.
MR: Just a quick note for this one. Still Flyin’s indie/reggae/dance/pop mash up sounded brilliant. The band were energetic performers and they were another pleasant surprise. But the late night slot they were given, straight after the laid back ambience of Atlas Sound, did not fit them at all. They should have been on in the afternoon, when people were more energetic and likely to approach things with an open mind. Still Flyin’ got a fraction of the audience they deserved, and even attracted some hostility from the crowd. Good band – wrong slot.