All Tomorrow's Parties, Butlins, Minehead
ATP has always been a connoisseur's festival. Held at a Butlins, you stay in a chalet and enjoy showers and accountable food vendors. More importantly, though, because it's run by fans of the obscure, you simply get to watch a better class of band. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, is in charge of this particular iteration, which has a line-up more esoteric than ever.
Iggy and the Stooges headline the first night: they're on their usual belligerent form, pounding and hollering away. They're preceded by Built to Spill, another seminal band of a slightly younger vintage. These emo pioneers are a revelation, weaving gorgeous, savage soundscapes washed over by beguiling triple-guitar harmonies.
Top billed on Saturday night are The xx, who play a tight set. It's okay, but it hardly lends itself to festival-headlining grandiloquence. Instead, it burns slow and bass-heavy. They do manage a rather dry, laconic and unexpected cover of ATB's late-90s hit "9pm (Till I Come)", though.
The performance of the weekend is by Boredoms, an uncategorisable band from Japan. There are seven drum kits on stage, arranged around a seven-necked guitar standing there like a krautrock totem pole. These are furiously beaten by a select handful of drummers for a full 90 minutes of unremitting stick-to-skin violence. It is astonishing.
Daniel Johnston, introduced by Groening, cuts a forlorn figure, a small guy hunched over a very small guitar. He quivers as he plays, and slurs his words. It's arresting in an extremely lo-fi sort of way, but why he has such a good reputation is a mystery.
Spiritualized, though, are an event. There have to be 20 of them up there, including an eight-piece choir and a timpani. They play through their seminal Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, which becomes something extraordinary in a live orchestral context. It's massive: a wall of devotional sound blowing a capacity crowd practically off its feet.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
The Interview film review: Controversial gross-out satire is broad, bawdy and bad - but undeniably entertaining
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'