The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of All
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
• La Roux: Needs better songs.
• Silversun Pickups: Go to 11.
• Echo and the Bunnymen: Should stop
• 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.
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 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
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.
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
• 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.