Because of the logistical problems associated with getting our motley mob to leave their various apartments we arrive too late to see Bat for Lashes. The first act we catch are Spiritualized on the Rock Delux stage. True to retiring form Jason Pierce is positioned about as far to the right of the stage as he can possibly go without falling off the edge. Backed up by a full-on bluesy band and a gospel chorus, Pierce treats the assembled to a meaty, driving set thatÃ¢€â„¢s heavy on classic material. Two moments stand out, the jubilant segue from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space’ to ‘I canÃ¢€â„¢t Help Falling In Love With You’, and a dreamy version of ‘Lay Back in the Sun’ which couldnÃ¢€â„¢t be more appropriate for the balmy evening thatÃ¢€â„¢s in it.
After SpiritualizedÃ¢€â„¢s blissful drone-rock the evening shifts gears dramatically as we catch some drones of a much darker hue. Sunn O))), the American doom metal duo, take to the ATP stage to perform their early album The Grimmrobe Demos in all its horrifying glory. Hooded and standing within their own frozen eco-system of dry ice Sunn O))), unleash one tidal wave of bloodcurdling detuned drones after another. It is polarising noisy stuff, and IÃ¢€â„¢m told off by a friend to whom I recommended it for wasting part of his life. I loved it though. When they triumphantly lift their guitars out of the billowing clouds during the gigÃ¢€â„¢s chaotic conclusion, a chill runs through me.
After Sunn O))), we head for Jarvis Cocker on the main stage. He is in typically extravagant form, pulling his usual contorted shapes and interspersing the songs with salty banter. However, the two Pulp songs he plays, ‘Help the Aged’ and ‘Something Changed’ highlight how ordinary his solo material actually is. The muted response from a largely static crowd adds to an air of letdown.
From a bespectacled English eccentric we move on to an American, the inimitable Dan Deacon who is playing with an ensemble band on the Pitchfork stage. Dressed in matching white costumes and bashing all sorts of instruments, the ensemble look for all the world like The Polyphonic Spree. Ã¢€Å“Any Irish here?Ã¢€ is DeaconÃ¢€â„¢s bizarre question to the crowd before he gets down to the music. As gigs go, itÃ¢€â„¢s a mixed bag and this is not entirely DanÃ¢€â„¢s fault. He tries his best to interact with the befuddled crowd to little success. People are either collectively too cool for school to engage in DeaconÃ¢€â„¢s crazy dance offs, or maybe being mostly Spanish, they donÃ¢€â„¢t understand what the colourful American weirdo is saying. He plays a lot of material from his latest record Bromst, and the ensemble suits the complex and multi-layered arrangements of songs like ‘Red F’ and ‘Woof Woof’. When it comes to the starker arrangements of songs from his Spiderman of the Rings album it sounds like he is overegging the pudding a little bit. The ensemble add an extra layer of sound that feels unnecessary at times. The gig ends on a high note with a rapturous ‘Wham City’ that melts even the most frigid chinstrokers into a bit of movement.
Deacon is followed by Rhythm and Sound featuring Tikiman on the ATP stage. They turn in a short, swinging set with a dark groove that goes down well with a crowd who mostly look a bit Ã¢€ËœalteredÃ¢€â„¢. By this stage concert fatigue is setting in and it is a close call on whether to head back to the apartment or catch the German minimal techno maestro Michael Mayer over on Pitchfork. The lure of the beats win out and the few of us who survived the night dance until dawn to a bright mix which sounds more house than youÃ¢€â„¢d expect and doesnÃ¢€â„¢t scrimp on the big attack and release barnstormers. When Mayer spins out his last beat it is with very heavy feet we trudge back to the tram. Two days down, one to go.
Photos by Loreana Rushe – Click to enlarge.