ATP: Peel Slowly and See – Day One


ATP: Peel Slowly and See – Day One

Iggy Pop - ATP 2015.
Iggy Pop performing at ATP 2015. Photo: ATP/Facebook.

From technopunk miscreants to art-folk aficionados, All Tomorrow’s Parties delighted festival goers from all walks of life with a veritable hlaðborð (‘buffet’) of delights. Here are some of my personal highlights.

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

Chelsea Wolfe

This fine woman’s set began with a bit of interesting bass pulse punk music. I loved how appropriately they utilized the minor scale. At times I found her music very grimy, a factor which stimulated me greatly. I loved how the bassist was dressed. They are a very dark group, indeed.

There were moments when I felt like I was listening to black metal. They were like Hera’s band from the film Málmhaus (Metalhead), playing ‘Svarthamar’ at the end. I was curious to know why she was shrouded.

In a way, their sound reminded me of Mammút. Light triangles formed behind them. Lots of shades of blue everywhere.

I liked the samples they chose, they were very ominous, almost doom-metal-like. I absolutely loved the hollowbody she played. Got to love humbucker pickups. At one point, I moved closer to the stage to find more emotions in their faces.

I liked the way they just let chords hang and fade. Very spaced-out chords. Not standard rock melancholia. It was quite enjoyable to see a steadily-growing audience attend to their set. It was music fit for the ambience of the environment, which at this point in the day was only starting.

In the end, they simply walked off stage.

ATP 2015 - The Bug.The Bug. Photo: ATP/Magnús Elvar Jónsson.

The Bug

Before The Bug began, I took a moment to observe the audio techs. These individuals are nearly always ignored by the performer on stage, seldom getting a shout-out, yet they are so very crucial.

During The Bug’s performance, so much on their side of things could have gone wrong that didn’t, thanks largely to them. Their set began with lots of smoke. Lots. Then came haunting alarms that could have signaled a nuclear bomb’s imminent arrival.

They utilized strange samples, as well as unexpected and crushing beats. After sitting down to relax, I soon found myself standing. This group utilized technology well vis-a-vis the physical dynamic.

There was so much bass it hurt my ears. There was reverbing drums—awesome. I gathered they were a bit like Death Grips, it was only later that I discovered that they actually worked with them.

It’s nice to see a band working the crowd. Yes, this music has teeth. The female MC was quite good. She utilized very atypical hip hop rhyming. To me, feminine energy means everything to a musical act. The equation is unbalanced if the air is overwhelmed by testosterone. It means a lot to get the female fans into it.

After a while, this music felt like art. I enjoy their very disjointed texts, rhyme schemes, varying accents and inflections. This music was beautifully strange. A nice warm-up for Public Enemy.

Public Enemy - ATP 2015.Public Enemy. Photo: ATP/Brynjar Snær.

Public Enemy

I swear, hearts could have exploded. I’d never seen anything like that. Everything that could be said about the anatomy of Public Enemy’s show, its vitality, its energy, its immediacy, has undoubtedly been said by writers before, so I will simply add to that chorus by saying that this group deserves to be considered an American national treasure—they are as seminal and classic as any act can aspire to be. They let none of us down with their performance. Easily one of the best of the weekend.

Iggy Pop

I’m sorry, I’m a religious man, and in my faith, thou shalt have no other gods before Iggy. The man played nearly every song I wanted to hear, executed them flawlessly, and most importantly, gave me the feelings I associated with them when I first heard them anew. Amen.

Iggy Pop - ATP 2015.Iggy Pop. Photo: ATP/Facebook.

Mr. Silla

A flawless, beautiful performance by a woman with enormous talent and creativity. The songs that she sings can bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face. One of Iceland’s best voices, by far. I cannot wait for her record to drop. It will be a hit for sure.

Other events:

Ben Frost Literature Hour

Now this was fun. First, I learned that Dingo means coward, then I learned that Ben is quite the naturalist. I learned manifold ways in which hatred of the foreign extends to flora and fauna. Most importantly, I learned that there is no such thing as native species, only initial lodgings based on geological accidents. In a way, I relearned what it means to be an immigrant in a new land.

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