All Points West 2009 Day Three: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of All Points West


All Points West is the “McLovin” of music festivals. It tries so hard (coming through with the fake ID)—but ultimately just can’t win. A perpetual punch line, if you will (“You’re like All Points Wet; what are you, All Points Worst?”). With rain pouring in for much of the early afternoon, day three began nearly five hours late after ferries of fans were corralled, without explanation, into a nearby train station simply to sit and wait as staffers with bullhorns yelled “back up, back up” as a method of crowd control.


And once the day got rolling, it never really could find its momentum.

THE MUSIC, IN BRIEF

• Akron/Family: Are confusing everyone.

• La Roux: Needs better songs.

• Silversun Pickups: Go to 11.

• Echo and the Bunnymen: Should stop complaining.

• Lykke Li: Sounds like Santigold.

• Mogwai: Nearly made us defecate our pants.

• Coldplay: Covered “Billy Jean.”


What’s more important—especially considering that the money-sucking festival is at the end of its contract and promoters can’t expect to turn a buck this year—is the big picture. So here is Paste's take on the good, the bad and the ugly of All Points West 2009.


THE GOOD

of festival marquees bigger than Jay-Z, Tool and Coldplay. It just doesn’t happen. And even if you skipped out on all three (ahem), the big billing shows that, even in a pinch when pressed to replace the Beastie Boys, APW has the clout to pull it off.

dammed, you were gonna get dirty. It was like our own Glastonbury. Plus, any excuse to wear Docs in the summer heat is a good one.

• The Ferry: Momentary bouts of sea-borne nausea aside, the ferry is one All Points West’s finest attributes. Swift, efficient and scenic—particularly at night with the New York skyline bright against the dark sky—it provides a much needed (and hassle free) sliver of separation from the city.


THE BAD

• The Weather: Well, that’s the risk of running “rain or shine.” Although it didn’t manage to disturb any of the headliners, the rain on Friday and Sunday left crowds sparse and spirits dampened. Although, we’d imagine that the promoters are more upset than the fans about this.

• Ponchos: Like communism, in bright colors.

attending Coachella. No matter what, throughout the day, there is always music playing somewhere, even if it’s just a DJ in the Sahara tent spinning house records. Light on options, All Points West doesn’t have such density. Too often we found ourselves waiting around, either for a band to finish its sound check or because there simply wasn’t anything to see at the moment, let alone discover.


THE UGLY

There’s gotta be a better way to do this. On tour in 2001, Radiohead made the ferry free. Why can’t APW do the same?

scenic concert-going. Drive to Coachella, and you’re deep enough into the desert and far enough out of L.A. that it feels like an entirely different world. New Jersey is New Jersey. It’s no Indio, and it’s certainly not The Gorge. View of NYC and Lady Lib aside, Jersey City’s Liberty State Park is just a big area, large enough to accommodate a festival crowd. And, as trivial as it may seem, it really is difficult to let loose and fling yourself into the festival spirit when all your city-bound responsibilities are just a skyline view away.

• The Vibe: Easily the festival’s biggest problem, and perhaps FOP (Friend of Paste) Michael Teddersome wonderful moments of crowd captivation (both Crystal Castles  and St. Vincent on Saturday), but too often the festival becomes a “just ’cause.” And we’d like to think of ourselves as much more passionate about music than that.

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