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ATP: Peel Slowly and See – Day Three

Reviews

ATP: Peel Slowly and See – Day Three

ATP 2015.
The crowd. Photo: ATP/Facebook.

Day Three at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2015 fought for my attention and won.

HAM

True men. Ham dress as impressively as they sound. Sincerely one of the best bands in Iceland. They make you proud of this culture, and unconcerned about the state of Icelandic culture. Their serious, stern-faced playing separates aural wheat from chaff.

Always a pleasure to hear ‘Dauð hóra.’ It makes me livid. Its lividity makes me want to smash a chair against large glass panes.

Lightning Bolt

Like getting punched in the face repeatedly while hung-over.

Loop

Beautiful silhouettes belting out fuzzy garage rock. Reminded me of Singapore Sling. Smoky, velvety—the way rock should be.

Pink Street Boys

I’ll keep it short and sweet: the most fun I had all festival long. Their shows are absolutely insane. They are PUNK ROCK. Don’t believe me? Go to one of their shows and try your best not to get hit by a flying bottle, spit on, manically flung across the room or beaten to a bloody pulp... in that order.

Swans

Squeal.

What to say. I was possessed. They had such an implicit aura of “Don’t f#ck with us.” They are western country music without the country music. They are sheer terror. They are Poe’s most haunting incantation. Most importantly, they are men. Men among boys.

They are the rush of adrenaline after homicide. They make you feel invulnerable, as if you are saddled on the back of a Texas black stallion with a poncho, ten-gallon hat, and a .50 caliber handgun in the wild American west.

At moments I was unable to describe how I felt. There was no cloaking behind lights or patrons choking on smoke. It was as if they were performing at a Grand Ole Opry ablaze as you begin the process of meeting your maker.

Yes, it would see as though the intensity and sternness of the Icelandic people has finally met its match in this act. I wonder who would win in a steel cage match, the members of Swans or HAM.

It’s also not easy to describe what I saw in the faces of the people watching them. At best, perhaps I can offer: “withered devastation.” They don’t need much to kill on stage.

I’m glad they didn’t choose to be murderers in the end. It seems as though what they reflect are the darkest hues of the American experience, if only because beaten faces don’t lie.

America’s sinful past emerges through this music. Call it cathartic, like Real Horror Show. Americans seem to pass violence and chaos through the bloodstream, and it shows in performances such as theirs.

Man, do I love looking at Michael Gira’s face, it’s anachronistic, something that would have featured well in the earliest of photography. What an incredible presence.

At the end, we got a smile from them all. What a smile it was.

Ghostigital

Fun for the whole family. At one point I was expecting Einar to channel M. Bison. Quick, change the channel! Man, I love this band.

DJ Óli Dóri

Naturally, I had to have the weekend close with one Iceland’s premier DJs at the decks. Christ, what a winner!

Yes, it’s true: Óli Dóri’s blending of electronic styles, his understanding of musical dynamics and his ability to feel for the preferences of any given crowd made him an ideal choice for the penultimate event to the conclusion of festivities. And deliver he did, quite marvelously, in fact.

Alas, I would have stayed longer for Barry’s set, but my body failed me! Cursed thing. Oh well, in the Hindu tradition, I’d have many other opportunities to relive this experience...

...But never as it was during these many splendored nights. In sum, it can be said that my backside was bruised and beaten from being kicked by all of the performances nearly all the way home.

For you see, ATP 2015 was a cavalcade of personal heroes, all of whom having decimated my preconceptions about what good music can be to bits. It was enough to turn even this very jaded scribbler loose in his writing... and you know what, it’s a timeless feeling shared by many.

To that end, I will continue to cut loose. With that freewheeling spirit in mind, I suddenly feel the need to channel/mutilate the freewheeler, T.S. Eliot and one of his essential works, The Hollow Men, for my own purposes (not that he can mind).

This is the way ATP ends: Not with a whimper but a bang.

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