What You Missed (and avoided) at All Points West
My Bloody Valentine talks about miffing Tool fans, Chris Martin does his best 'Billie Jean,' fest mud is no earplug substitute
The second year for All Points West, July 31-Aug. 2, was a bumpy one for promoters and attendees alike. The weekend had its fair share of high points, as well as quite a few low.
Below, we ouline what you missed at APW each day - and what you were better off missing.
As videos of the event circulate online, it's worth noting that Jay-Z performing Beastie Boys' "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" literally was one of the best moments in music this summer. It was an apt tribute to the group that couldn't perform, due to Adam Yauch's medical condition, and it was a perfect cover for Hov, who hails from Brooklyn and rhymed in front of a giant screen projecting images of the projects off of Kent Ave.
Though we predicted she would tackle A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It?," Lykke Li, instead, did a rendition of Kings Of Leon's "Knocked Up." The whole crowd sang as she whirled around like Stevie Nicks. Kings Of Leon, coincidentally, headlined this thing last year.
Speaking of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip went through all the old material, including a mind-melting "Award To" and "Find My Way." P.S., dude rocked sweatpants. CLASSY.
The newly reunited Pharcyde made their way through most of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." Complete with the opening dance moves. We turned 10 again.
Love him or hate him Chris Martin has balls. Not only did Coldplay honor the memory of Michael Jackson with an all-acoustic "Billie Jean," sans drums, Martin also paid his homage to Beastie Boys with a solo piano and voice take on "Fight For Your Right To Party."
Stella Artois: $9
Ferry from Manhattan to Liberty State Park: $25
Single-day ticket: $89
Best deal for food: big fat burrito, $9
Note to sponsors and advertisers: The best of the free stuff came from Twix, with free Twix, and H&M, who had a chilled-out tent with computers to check your email, a place to plug in your phone and a big TV screen of the main stage. I have no need for a pocket fan when it's raining.
Mobile phone coverage was a struggle for every carrier. Would it have killed organizers to set up a cell tower on top of the stages? Or is that just another unavoidable New York festival constriction?
The cover: mud. And I don't wanna be hearing comparisons about how mud is rock 'n' roll and how All Points West is just like Woodstock, blah blah blah. This isn't a big crowd of hippies, and it didn't cost $6 to get in. And the wood chips just made the manure smell more poignant.
As per usual, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sported a most unusual fashion at the fest, with a short black burka made up of prayer flags - and a headscarf - plus a multi-colored leather glove, singular. The stage had a giant eyeball in the middle of the backdrop. It was awesome.
The members of Tool took a backseat to the visuals, by Adam Jones; these creep-tastic videos and images both stole the show and made it (the best is from the band's biggest and older hits, Stinkfist. Entrancing.). Meanwhile, frontman Maynard Keenan, mohawked, writhed and contorted his marionette of a body infront of noisy screens, in all black. That fashion may be the only attribute he shared with Jay-Z.
Tim & Eric, who are best known for their improv-heavy dorkery on "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job," had a load of sketches that were more bizarre than one-liner hilarious, though they brought down the house by ripping away their suit pants and button-downs to reveal what could be best described as lime-green piped unitards fit for the ice capade.
Echo & The Bunnymen's frontman Ian McCullough gave his best fashion middle finger as he sang (probably wasted) with a thigh-length wool peacoat, cigarette in hand.
We Are Scientist's Keith Murray wore a plastic-flower lei and a party shirt, but holy cow, if that man doesn't rock a beautiful head of gray hair.
No sport coats for Vampire Weekend. Just a plaid shirt for Ezra Koenig. There were plenty of boat shoes present, however.
Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys will never not look 16.
We finally figured it out: Guy Garvey of Elbow looks just like Ricky Gervais. He sounds like Sting, five notes lower in his register. We love him like babies love milk.
ALL NOISE, NO NOISE
My Bloody Valentine has now made the perfect imprint on fans and scarred Tool-only attendees. They droned their way through nine minutes of pure white noise smack dab in the middle of "You Made Me Realise." To paraphrase a friend, I fell asleep despite myself, I saw myself when I was older, I transcended. Middle fingers were raised as often as devil horns. Backstage afterward, asking guitarist and hazy vocalist Belinda Butcher if they played it for that long because they planned it or were just trying to piss off impatient Tool fans, she said it was about 50-50.
That being said, Tool was loud, My Bloody Valentine was louder, but I'll be damned: Scottish instrumental shoegazers Mogwai were loudest.
Due to severe thunderstorms on Sunday, many acts literally never got their time in the sun: sets from Steel Train, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and The Gaslight Anthem were canceled entirely. Poor, lovely PT Walkley only got two songs. Sets from Akron/Family and We Are Scientists were abridged. Janeane Garofalo, Christian Finnegan and Todd Barry had to cram in the funny into severely short minutes.
If only MGMT's performances were as energetic as their album. Alas, it was practically dirge-like. We'd rather the frontmen put down their instruments and do it right.
GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS
Congrats to promoters for booking bands with female presence. Neko Case, St. Vincent, Chairlift, The Postelles, The Ting Tings, Crystal Castles, La Roux and more all boast prominent girl force, which is rare at big fests. Not a lot on the mainstage, except for Karen O, Bilinda and a couple backup singers for shit-kicking Gogol Bordello, but still, nice.
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