[Above: Thee Silver Mt. Zion]
Day 2 of ATP began with a scare: there
was a rumor, spread over Blackberries and touch-and-go Internet
access, that Kutsher's and the surrounding Catskills hotels near the
festival site had severe bedbugs infestations. It was hard to
determine which was scarier: the idea of carrying bedbugs back to our
homes, or standing too close to the stage during Les Savy Fav's set.[Above: Fuck Buttons]
After a thorough mattress checking, I
headed to Fuck Buttons, a band that can be as jarring as its name.
Their shows all start out the same, with the UK-based duo facing each
other, hands poised on their table of instruments, timing their
bursts of noise and static. After last night's Don't Look Back
series, where classic bands played classic albums, it was good to see
this sort of spontaneity.
Since it was ATP's chosen line up of
bands (the following night's line-up was chosen by My Bloody
Valentine), it was heavy on ATP favorites and bands on their own
label. Edan is an ATP veteran, and he acted like one, though he and
and guest MC Dagha played to a smaller crowd. They were one of just
two hip-hop acts at the festival. Edan showed off his most impressive
talent, mixing on two turntables and rapping at the same time. He
then showed off a less-great talent: playing guitar and kazoo while
wearing a wig. "Don't applaud," he warned, "this shit
isn't that good." Fair enough.
Crowd admonishment became
a theme: Low, who played on the hard-to-see second stage, teased that
"respectful gets old after a while." It's true: while Low
audiences are always polite, they can also get a little testy. Fans
shushed other audience members loudly, before and after Low's
"Murder," apparently unaware that they were at a three-day
music festival. Even singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk joked about the
tameness of the audience: "Half of these guys probably couldn't
lift their arms over their head."
[Above: Les Savy Fav]
Les Savy Fav proved him
wrong. At a festival with many good and great bands, it was lacking
in fun bands. Brooklyn's LSF, festival favorites due to lead singer
Tim Harrington's antics, made a point of waking up the crowd.
Harrington ran through stage one's tiers, messing with lazy audience
members by laying down next to them on the dark carpet. Later he
pulled out a ladder from backstage and opened it in the middle of the
floor. He urged fans to hoist it over their heads while he stood
precariously perched on top. It looked like they got it over their
[Above: Angry man who lost $140 at ATP's poker tables]
Steve Albini, who had been at the festival's poker
tables the night before (my friend lost $40 to him), took a break
from the "executive" game room to perform with Shellac. The
band's live shows always include Q&A sessions with their
audience, and they were asked all the expected ones: "Will you
play any Big Black songs?" "Mission Of Burma or Big Black?"
The one relevant question was about Abini's losses at the table.