Your All Tomorrow's Parties' NY 2009 Memories All in One Place: Nick Cave's Peanut M&Ms, David Yow's Head Kicks, Steve Albini's Poker Table, and More
Rebecca Smeyne Kutsher's, the land of impossible indie-music dreams
Yeah, so All Tomorrow's Parties New York. It happened this past weekend upstate and it was epic. Nick Cave played piano with the Dirty Three, who did Ocean Songs in its entirety. David Cross got so hammered Friday he could barely tell jokes. ("My goodness, fuckin' Jameson, though," he said at one poine when he went blank.) Boredoms' nine-drummer ceremonial-offering-like salvo went so far over their 75-minute time, stagehands started dismantling their kits while the drummers were still bashing away. Brooklyn's very own Oneida led a 12-hour improv jam session in a corner bar that'd been temporarily renamed the Oneida Sportsman Lounge, a fusty room that smelled, as one colleague put it, "like my mom's pants." Steve Albini, for the second year in a row, ran a poker-room that was open to anyone with ten bucks. Jim Jarmusch spoke to a tiny packed room and said things like, "When I get depressed, [I just] think of all the music I haven't heard." Crystal Castles' Sharpie-eyelined front-writher Alice did not punch anyone in the face. No Age cycled through Husker Du songs with Bob Mould; Deerhunter's Bradford Cox joined the trio for a cover of Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers' "Chinese Rocks." The Flaming Lips emerged on Sunday night through an LCD birth canal; Wayne Coyne crowd-surfed, per usual, in a plastic bubble. Later, Bob Mould DJ'd in the Oneida room and Bradford Cox hosted an impromptu, acoustic lakeside jam. It was, let's repeat, epic.
Even rattling off such a list still doesn't truly convey the whole thing. Offstage, there is no real division between the audience and performers, and the potential for serendipitous encounters like finding Nick Cave firing away at a first-person shooter game, is not only possible, but likely. Plus, there are diversions like a playground, ping-pong table, pool, cosmetics counter--it is, as it's been said, music-nerd sleepaway camp set in The Shining. All things told, ATP ends up being a particularly unusual experience, especially when, say, you end up locked inside an early-morning hotel-room party with 100 other people or getting kicked, like many, in the head by Jesus Lizard's David Yow. So we solicited personal highlights from the weekend, from the dude selling cupcake-shaped "special" brownies to a five-year-old boy named Patrick there with his father to see the Flaming Lips to Vincent Moon, the cinematographer of the official All Tomorrow's Parties documentary and more. Here are their memories all in one place.
Abbey Braden for ATP
Jim Jarmusch, film director
During his post-Mystery Train Q&A on Sunday.
1. The Melvins, fantastic
2. Animal Collective, ethereally beautiful
3. Dead Meadow, I'm a big fan
4. Excited for Boris tonight.
5. I love No Age too.
6. Of course, the Flaming Lips.
Shirley Braha, producer, New York Noise
1. More significant than what was at ATP was what wasn't at ATP. There were no tacky sponsorship signs on stage or corporate marketing partners, no elitist VIP area that I'd inevitably have to find my way into, no long lines or oppressive crowds, no invasive security guards. Wish every fest was like this!
2. You could pretty much do whatever you wanted. My friend Parker and I decided to take a nap on the floor inside one of the elevators, maybe just to see what would happen. Turns out elevators are a nice place to get some rest.
3. The food court was under what used to be a giant sukkah for the Jewish holidays. Made me want to hang colored-paper chains and plastic fruit everywhere. My family would definitely approve of this fest.
4. I got locked inside a party that we happened upon on Saturday night. There were about 100 random kids crammed into a hotel room. We left after a while but then went back to rescue the Smirnoff and we were stuck there because no one could get the door to open! Neighbor was nice enough to let everyone out.
5. Hitched a ride back to the city with some boys (at ATP, you're always with boys) at 2:30am after the Flaming Lips. We hit up McDonald's as they switched to the morning menu right before our very eyes. It was a magical end to a magical weekend!
Christopher, Lizzy, and her butterfly wings
Lizzy Morrison, butterfly-winged reveler.
("'Lizzy' like Thin, 'Morrison' like Jim")
1. This boy Christopher I met at Akron/Family last night. [Hugging him] He's my British ginger.
2. Playing on the playground last night when I was rolling.
3. Making enough money selling pills to stay another day.
4. Having more fun than my ex yesterday, which was his birthday.
5. Staying up until six am and getting locked in that room where everybody was partying last night.
Christopher, Lizzy's British ginger
Manchester, England but "will be chilling in New York for the next week or so"
1. Partying at six am and getting locked in that room with Lizzy.
4. Dirty Three with Nick Cave on piano
5. Flaming Lips
Abbey Braden for ATP
Dana Janssen, Akron/Family
Drummer who'd been wearing knee socks the whole weekend
2. Oneida's Ocropolis
3. Seeing the Big Dipper
4. The Shining vibe. It's like ATP curated by David Lynch.
5. My knee socks. We were just in Portland and our vehicle got broken into and my suitcase was stolen. Fortunately, I happened to be wearing these socks and shorts, so they've been doubling as my pants for five days.
Vincent Moon, Filmmaker/cinematographer
All Tomorrow's Parties, The Takeaway Shows
1. Trying some handstands, which didn't work, during Animal Collective's best show ever.
2. Looking at EYE in the middle of the Boredoms show and dropping a tear thinking it is the most beautiful and radical creation I witnessed since I spent a day wandering in Barcelona on the steps of Gaudi.
3. Being screamed in the face for five minutes, while lying on a table outside, by a girl who had all the reasons to be angry with me.
4. Being high for the Flaming Lips show and being smashed by the best first ten minutes of any show on earth. Then thinking why do you play your tricks all at once. Then wanting to go to bed.
5. Thinking the whole weekend that there was so many recording devices on that I would never be able to make a movie about this festival again and that I would have to switch to music finally.
Will Hermes, contributor, Rolling Stone, NPR
Sixteen ATP highlights, as previously published on Facebook
3. A couple thousand Animal Collective fans exploding out of druggy beat-murk into the dazzling pranic light of "Brothersport"
4. Boris dematerializing into dry ice/low-frequency roar during "Feedbacker"
5. Shvitzing in the steam room five minutes before Sufjan Stevens
on Saturday afternoon
6. Nick Cave and a pre-adolescent girl blasting away with toy .45s in the arcade on the Atari "Site 4" console (he was ruthless)
7. Sam Beam's guitar playing, and of course his lovely voice, during his solo Iron & Wine set
8. That lovely, anonymous girl at the rear lobby piano who played vocal-less piano arrangements of Joanna Newsom songs (plus Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1")
9. Banh mi hot dogs at the Asia Dog stand
10. Green tea butter cookies at the Asia Dog stand
11. Brownies (various sources)
12. The temperature of the swimming pool: just right
13. Sun Ra veteran Marshall Allen's solo at the end of the Caribou Vibration Ensemble set
14. Audience creativity w/ a couple hundred laser pointers distributed for the Flaming Lips finale
15. Knowing that, if all else failed on Sunday, one could always drop in on Oneida's 12-hour jam and reboot
16. Chocolate bobka at Cohen's Bakery in Ellenville on the drive home