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inuit panda scarlet carwash

I like Pandas, but I could never eat a whole one.

Updated: 2018-03-06T05:56:21.563+00:00


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Stewart Lee All Tomorrow's Parties, Part 7: Monday


My interminable account of the last ever ATP lurches towards its conclusion. Previous instalments (with actual music discussion) can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here

Sunday night ended on a positive note. The bad vibes returned on Monday morning. As we were getting ready to leave we learned that the following weekend's Manchester ATP had been cancelled. I imagined Barry Hogan spending the weekend of the Stewart Lee ATP barricaded into a bunker desperately trying to shuffle money around so that the other weekend could somehow still go ahead. I'm thinking things like "If I don't pay everyone who was playing on Stage 2 I'll have enough cash to put down the deposit on the PA if they give me a discount and some credit…", that kind of thing. Oh well. I heard reports subsequently that he was trying to borrow money from Drive Like Jehu, the Manchester ATP headliners. That's not good. I also heard of artists who found themselves marooned in England because their gigs (and the money they optimistically hoped to earn from them) had been cancelled at short notice.

Since then the Iceland ATP scheduled for July 2016 has been cancelled with barely two weeks' notice. This was a bit of a surprise, as it was reputedly underwritten financially by the Icelandic government, though having seen bad banks crash their economy they were probably careful enough not to let a mismanaged music festival do the same. And it appears that the wider ATP organisation is winding up, for real this time. I wish that ATP had stopped with the one that was originally billed as the last one ever, instead of continuing and pissing on their legacy.

I wish there were still festivals like ATP. The convenience of being able to stay in a holiday camp and see a wide range of bands playing is not to be sniffed at. I noticed on social media that a lot of people reckon they could do a better job of running this kind of festival than Barry Hogan. Maybe it is time for them to put their money where their mouth is.
More astonishing ATP pictures

Stewart Lee All Tomorrow's Parties, Part 6: Sunday (continued)


Amazing! I am still describing my trip to the last ever ATP festival. Should you want to see previous instalments, they are here, here, here, here and here.I was very excited about seeing Bardo Pond on the main stage. They are a real ATP band, in the sense that I think playing at early ATPs played an important part in bringing them to a wider audience. There is a heavy rock freak out quality to their music, but their sound is also slow and restrained and less excessive than, say, the likes of The Heads. They include a number of blokes on instruments and a woman on flute and vocals. At previous ATPs I always saw them playing the smaller stages but this time they were on Stage 1, the big one. And while before they always seemed like a small stage band, this time they felt like they had expanded and upped their game to take on the expanse now offered to them. Isobel Sollenberger was fronting the band much more than when I had previously seen them. Her languid blissed out demeanour well suited the enveloping stoner rock sounds.Perhaps because they have gained so much by playing ATP festivals, Ms Sollenberger actually thanked Barry Hogan from the stage. A ripple went through the crowd. I may even have heard someone saying "Fucking hell", but it was a measure of how the bad vibes of Friday had somewhat dissipated that her thanks were not followed by boos from the audience. I saw a little bit of a 1970s documentary film about the Sunbury Pop Festival, this being an Australian music festival in the town of Sunbury. It looked like a very well made member of the festival film genre, with great footage of bands performing and then music juxtaposed with things happening in the crowd. As with every film of this type there was an incident where a guy who had taken too much acid had to be coaxed down from an observation tower. There was some interesting interview footage with a guy from a band where he was saying that what was so great about the festival was that it showed there was enough talent in Australia for festivals to be put on without having to bring in second rate American bands (for all that his band sounded like a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute act). width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The most interesting bit of the film for me though was all the footage of cops getting heavy with festival goers. As presented, it looked like there were a lot of lads hanging around not really doing too much when suddenly the cops would roll up and throw people into police vans. Anyone who suggested that this might be a bit much was liable to join their friends in the wagon, perhaps receiving a few slaps into the bargain. Cops be cops. It was also striking how white and British Isles the festival goers all looked. Unlike ATP of course! I read subsequently that Sunbury Pop declined into a festival for beer drinking dickheads. A pre-fame Queen played one year and were greeted with cries of "Fuck off back to Pommyland, ya pooftahs".Sadly I missed the sing-a-long Wicker Man. I did catch some of Richard James, a former member of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci who must spend his time denying that he is the Aphex Twin. His music was entertainingly droney.Rounding off the weekend for me then was the Sun Ra Arkestra. OK, let's get all Van Morrison School of Music Journalism (a phrase coined by one Dave Howarth to refer to music journalists who state the obvious or thoughtlessly parrot unchecked received opinions) on this. The Arkestra are a jazz big band led by Marshall Allen, who is in his 90s. They have their origins in the band led by Sun Ra, who was from Saturn (to where he has now returned). They wear sparkly capes. They have songs about travelling through space. They parade through the audience at the climax of their set. To be honest, the Sun Ra Arkestra are pretty much the same every time I see them, but they are pretty much the same in a way that always makes me want to see them again. They are the perfect good time end [...]

Stewart Lee All Tomorrow's Parties, Part 5: Sunday


I continue my long-winded account of my trip to the last ever All Tomorrow's Parties festival. If you want to you can see previous instalments here, here, here and here.After my Saturday night perambulations I went to bed, carefully setting an alarm on my phone so that I would be up in time to catch Trembling Bells at 1.00 pm. After a bit I then cleverly decided to turn off my phone to prevent premature awakening from people ringing or texting me (which shows how confused I was, as no one ever rings or texts me). As a result I managed to sleep in till after the Trembling Bells were due to start. Disastro! I thought of throwing on clothes and running down to see at least some of them, given that they were one of the acts I was most looking forward to seeing, but ablutions and breakfast came first. I was still hoping i would catch them playing afterwards as backing band for old folkie John Kirkpatrick.When I reached Stage 2 however Trembling Bells were still playing! And playing what sounded like their own stuff too. It turned out there had been a change to the running order and this John Kirkpatrick fellow was not playing after all, so Trembling Bells started late.If you don't know the Trembling Bells, they could broadly be described as neo-folk-rock. They mostly (entirely?) play original compositions but the sound recalls that of folk rock outfits of yore. Their singer, Lavinia Blackwall, has the kind of soaring vocal style & ability of her predecessors in that world. What makes them bit unusual is that they are led by their drummer, Alex Neilson, a man of astonishing percussive chops whose background is in the world of improv and suchlike. In an interview recently, Trembling Bells chafed at the folk rock label applied to them. At a first listen to their music, their chafing is laughable as first impressions have them like something from the Steeleye Span, Comus or Fairport Convention era reborn. But there is something to their sound that makes them their own thing. A lot of this comes from the drumming but their is generally an unusual twist on the folk-rock sound to them.Anyway, shortly after I arrived at Stage 2, I heard Nigel Tufnell's voice come over the PA to say "And oh how they danced". A load of morris dancers then appeared in front of the stage and did their thing while the band played one of those songs that seemed to be about dancers going into an irresistible maniacal frenzy. I think the morris dancers featured some of the people who just bob up and down to the music while wearing animal heads, though it was hard to see. I heard subsequently that they had been dancing previously outside this venue's Queen Victoria (every Pontins has a shit pub called the Queen Victoria). After that the band played on, delivering what for me was another festival highlight. I must pay tribute to Ms Blackwall's amazing vampire lady outfit, which showed off her charms to good effect. I also salute her singing and to the drumming of Mr Nielson, something that it always worth being able to see live. I loved all the other members of this great band too.There was a lot of improv at this ATP. I saw almost none of it because most of it was on up in Stage 3, a place I had resolved to visit as little as possible. I did however catch some Evan Parker, LR Thurston Moore, and some other blokes playing on Stage 2. It was good fun. I also saw a bit of Boredoms, but as I am the one person in the world immune to their charms I wandered off to buy a drink and get myself in pole position for Alasdair Roberts.Alasdair Roberts was playing on Stage 2. As you know, he is a Glaswegian folk singer who plays both original compositions and songs of yore. Some of the songs he sings can be lyrically a bit dark, though he tends to offset that with a relatively cheerful delivery. He is also an astonishing guitar player, which makes seeing live all the more exciting. He began with 'The Fair Flower of Northumberland', a song about a Scottish prisoner who seduces and then aband[...]