The New York edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival begins tonight, just in time for Hurricane Earl to bypass much of its expected path of doom and destruction. This year's lineup is once again a careful balance of oldies (err, "legacy") acts and up-and-comers, all accented by comedians, films, book clubs, poker rooms, and pop quiz pub nights. It's all a bit too much like Indie Rock Fantasy Camp for my tastes, but the people who run ATP have their hearts in the right place, are exceedingly well organized, and from what I observed during the one year I did attend (2008), they manage to pull off an insanely complex event without losing their minds or pissing on anyone's parade. My hat remains forever tipped to 'em.
This year's full lineup can be seen here. WFMU's mobile bandwagon will be set up all weekend long, recording some sets for a daylong broadcast revue on Sunday, September 5th. The (tentative) air schedule looks something like this:
3:10 Scientists (performing Blood Red River)
4:00 Mudhoney (performing Superfuzz Bigmuff + early singles)
4:50 Hallogallo (performing the music of Neu!)
5:50 Sonic Youth
6:45 White Hills
7:00 Kurt Vile
7:30 F***ed Up
8:00 Iggy and the Stooges (performing Raw Power)
As you may know, I'm pretty lukewarm on the trend of revered bands from yesteryear reuniting to perform their old standbys, but I've gone on at length about that in the past. However, a refreshingly different take on this phenomenon (or at least, a specific instance of it) came from WFMU's Scott Williams in a recent blog post about Hallogallo:
In an age where "heritage" acts are propped up to play their catalog on-demand for crowds ravenous to devour them in order to chalk up some bogus experience, a cynic might find something crass in the presentation of this music today; a purist might consider Rother's longtime partner, the late Klaus Dinger, irreplaceable. And it's right for a fan to always be on guard against the creep of hired-hands, or an artist's alienation from the art s/he created many years ago. I was prepared for disappointment; I got transcendence. Shelley and Mullan showed a sympathy to the music worthy of the people who created it. The power of this music filling limitless space and spreading outward to the Mediterranean Sea bordered on the religious.
Amen, brother. I'll be anxious to hear if similar transcendence can be delivered at the hands of the Stooges or the Scientists. More importantly, it's good to be reminded of the widely diverse (and in many cases, more lionhearted) attitudes that populate this particular corner of the unpopular music spectrum. Are you going to ATP? Odds are excellent that it's going to be a blast.