All Tomorrow's Parties 2008: Day 2

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1ATP_Thee_Silver_Mt_Zion.jpg[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.2ATP_Fuck_Buttons.jpg[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.

3ATP_Edan.jpg[Above: Edan]

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.

4ATP_Low.jpg[Above: Low]

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."

5ATP_Les_Savy_Fav.jpg[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 heads.

6ATP_Shellac_Steve_Albini.jpg[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. Answer: $140.

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