All Tomorrow's Parties: United Sounds of ATP, Weekend 1 Featuring Devendra Banhart, Comets on Fire,
Forget your bucket and spade, put away your sunhat. All Tomorrow's Parties is here and peddling an entirely different kind of seaside rock.
All Tomorrow's Parties: United Sounds of ATP, Weekend 1 Featuring Devendra Banhart, Comets on Fire, Vashti Bunyan, Black Mountain, and Bert Jansch
All Tomorrow's Parties: United Sounds of ATP, Weekend 1 Featuring Devendra Banhart, Comets on Fire,City: Rye, UK
Venue: Camber Sands Holiday Centre
Pontins Holiday Camp, on the south coast of England, is the epitome of the post-war, utilitarian, no-frills working-class destination. Its squat, two-story chalet-blocks -- as redolent of the prison-camp as the cheap motel -- house cramped living spaces with bolted-down furniture, pay-as-you-go electricity metres, and low-quality fixtures, all penned in by battered railings with flaking paint. The nub of the camp is the entertainment complex, which features flashing coin-hungry fruit machines, video games, fast-food outlets, a garish faux-cockney pub, and night-club areas on two different floors -- usually enlivened by the sounds of karaoke, tawdry pop-dance hits, and faded crooners on the nostalgia circuit. In other words, it's not the kind of place you would expect to see turned over for a couple of weekends a year to thousands of alternative music fans. Then again, ATP has never been your average concert promoter. With regular high-profile, multi-act shows in both the US and the UK, ATP instinctively capitalises on the eclectic musical consciousness borne from broadband internet collections and peer-to-peer file-sharing -- a new musical terrain where free jazz and noise get along just fine with folk and garage rock. An ATP event is the best chance for music fans to see all the bands that matter to them in one place. In this respect, Weekend 1 of United Sounds of ATP didn't disappoint. As the name suggests, there was a marked emphasis on American acts. Each day's line-up was curated by the headliner, and as a result, had a distinct flavor. Friday was organised by grunge survivors Mudhoney; Saturday belonged to art-punk agitators Yeah Yeah Yeahs; and Sunday nestled under the ubiquitous gaze of new-folk troubadour Devendra Banhart. In terms of programming, this trifecta roughly corresponded to the genres of rock, experimental, and folk music, respectively. The weekend's trajectory suggested something like "rock-the-fuck-out, weird-the-fuck-out, and mellow-the-fuck-out."