What Did I Do In England?

Travel diaries and concert reviews suck, so I’ll keep this brief. I think this is ATP #9 or #10 for me. As always, it’s a great time. A bit like a high school reunion with a lousy pizza buffet mixed with a bunch of sniveling English indie kids having a race to see who can get drunk first. All of this, of course, takes place in the windy, cold and wet environs of Western England in Minehead mere blocks from the beach at a holiday resort. However, even with that, it’s still a blast.

So what did I love the most? Earth. Om. Oneida. All three turned in great performances. Hypnotic. Droney. Stellar.

What did I just not "get"? GZA. Aphex Twin. Fuck Buttons. Call me old fashioned, but when I watch somebody perform on stage, I don’t want karaoke (as was the case with GZA) or showmanship akin to watching somebody check their email (AT & FB). And while on the subject of Fuck Buttons, when did "fuck" become the new "black" become the new "the" become the new "young" for band names? Fuck’s sake.

What else was great? Thurston Moore. Black Mountain. Julian Cope.

What was completely unnecessary? The Horrors.

What did I miss the most? First and foremost, the curry trailer outside where you could get a tortilla cone filled with rice and good-to-better-than-good curried veggies or chicken. If I never eat another ATP English Breakfast, I’ll forever be a happy boy. Secondly, I missed the fist fight that took place on stage between Greg and Stephen from Sunn O))). Towards the end of the set, O’Malley comes back out gesturing to Greg a "what the hell" sorta look and Greg hauls off and punches him into a stack of guitar cabinets. At that second, the house lights came up and the show was over. Man, why do I always miss all the fun? I am glad I missed the usual array of DJs who play Springsteen as some sort of ironic post-post-ironic inside joke. God, it makes me yearn for when you could dance til dawn to PiL or the Plugz at the old ATP facility at Camber.

Earth on the big stage upstairs, ATP ’07

And what was the most unforgettable memory of this ATP? Watching Jerry Sadowitz, Scotland’s leading non-bookable Jewish comedian/magician. Most of his set reminded me of hanging out with Mogwai after a night of booze when they just call everybody a "fucking cunt". Most was kinda "eh", but when he ended his set with an underwear trick which left him naked on stage beating off to prove that his dick wasn’t that tiny. Now that was absolutely genius.

Monday took me to London. Iain and I had an exquisite meal and then made our way to The Forum to see (get this) Earth, Boris, Sunn O))) (newly kissed and made up) and Boris and Sunn O))) performing their ALTAR album complete with guest stars. An absolutely killer way to end the weekend. This gig that was so sold out that there were bootleggers  selling ALTAR shirts in front of the venue. Oh, to think what O’Malley would think of the shitty hatchet job these bootleggers did with his original art. Video (with Jessy Sykes performing "The Sinking Belle") is included below. It’s how the ALTAR part of the evening began. The sound doesn’t do it justice, but goddamn, it was one of the most perfect rock moments I’ve ever witnessed.

Oneida on the downstairs stage, ATP ’07

Thanks to Barry, Helen, Karin, Shawn and the rest of the ATP folks for making this ugly American feel at home yet again. Also thanks to Pete for driving ($100 for a tank of gas, ouch!), Jodie for getting me a VIP seat at The Forum, Mark for putting up with me and Iain for the photos and/or snoring.

Indie Rock Auschwitz, Butlins. ATP ’07