All Tomorrow's Parties, Butlins, Minehead

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The Independent Culture

The latest instalment of the alt-rock festival for the discerning indie-rock fan was curated by the post-rock band Explosions in the Sky, who took the baton from former leaders the Dirty Three, Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai. With the exception of Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, who lives in London, and the nu-folkie Adem, the weekend's acts were flown in mainly from the US and Canada.

But as well as alt-rock/folk groups such as Okkervil River and Iron and Wine, there were a sprinkling of hip-hop acts. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah must have wondered what it was they had agreed to play when they descended upon the mostly male skinny-jeans-and-beard-sporting crowd. But a successful hip-hop-by-numbers set from Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan fame had the crowd forming "W"s and dancing.

More commercially, nearly 20 years after their hit album 3 Feet High and Rising picked up a hoard of hip-hop and indie fans alike, De La Soul proved they could still get the party going in a celebratory set that included "Me, Myself and I".

The snaking, 2,000-strong crowd of people queuing to see Battles proved the growing success of the Brooklyn four-piece, whose math-techno-rock has been a building phenomenon along with the rise of indie band Foals.

Explosions' powerful opening on the first night was to be matched by their choice of main acts, The National and Broken Social Scene. Brooklyn band The National played tracks from their equally enthralling albums Alligator and the more recent Boxer, their singer, Matt Berninger, tapping into the depth of emotion with his fatigued baritone. "Fake Empire" and "Slow Show" had a devoted fanbase in raptures, and by the final song, "Mr November", Berninger's impassioned vocals had stepped up the tension.

But Sunday belonged to the Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene, who brought a magical feel to the night with their shimmering, synth-coloured indie-rock-pop. Vocals from Stars' Amy Millan added a sweetness to rousing tracks such as "7/4 (Shoreline)". Most euphoric was their brass- fuelled "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (a Better Day)", a celebratory moment that will be remembered by ATP-goers for a long time to come.

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