ATP curated by The National
Yellowbirds (Brooklyn, NY), My Brightest Diamond (Detroit, MI), The Philistines JR. (NYC), Perfume Genius (Seattle, WA), Wye Oak (Baltimore, MD), Owen Pallett (Toronto, CAN), Local Natives (Los Angeles, CA), The National (Cincinnati, OH)
December 9, 2012
Pontin’s in Camber Sands, United Kingdom
Still in full withdrawal from the Wild Beasts’ performance the previous night I decided to check out some of the other activities going on around Pontins. My first activity of the day was to head down to one of the scheduled 5-a-side football games. There was a huge turn out and soon enough they had 3 different games happening simultaneously. Taylor Rice of the Local Natives and the Katis brothers of The Philistines Jr. were jumping in and out of the games. Some of the games got so intense that someone finally had to say, “No fighting lads, this is indie rock football.” Heck yes.
Besides football The National had other things scheduled throughout the festival. Their ATP television programming was something I watched every night after I would get back to the chalet until I would fall asleep. I watched quite a few excellent movies on it like: This Is England, Annie Hall, Your Sister’s Sister among some others . They also had movies playing at the Pontins Cinema across the road like: The Darjeeling Limited, The French Connection, Win Win, Superbad, Gerhard Richter, Painting among others. But besides those things there was also a book club, a mix tape exchange, bingo, musical pop quizzes, and karaoke with ATP dudes Ed and Woody. All curated by The National. Then of course all that Pontins has to offer. I definitely had a go at the arcade. I ended up losing my tickets somewhere so I never cashed them in. But their prize room looked excellent, I hope someone used them to get something cool. I ate a couple of times at the Pontins cafeteria but the best thing I had was definitely the Buddha bowls. An all vegan warm meal in a take out box. That was probably my favorite thing I had to eat in the UK besides the White Chocolate Twix candy bars. Wish I could have brought some home. The Queen Victoria was an excellent bar. It was also a shortcut entrance to the second stage of the festival. A very short walk from my chalet thankfully because it was very very cold for someone from California.
Eventually it was time to check out some music. The first band of the day for me was the Yellowbirds. This band from Brooklyn is excellent. Watching them play guitar is awesome, almost like if they’re jamming at a small house party and not playing for loads and loads of people. Very intimate and very awesome.
My Brightest Diamond was one of the best performances I got to see at the festival. I had heard a lot of great things about her from a friend but had never really bothered to check her music out. BIG MISTAKE. I was sitting in the photo pit when she was setting up and I thought it was a bit odd to see her tying pink tulle fabric on things, there was a hot pink hard hat, and her costume was something I had never seen before. But as soon as she began her mic check I was stunned. She definitely was my favorite female performers of the festival. She was simply exquisite.
The Philistines Jr. was a hilarious band to watch. The Katis brothers are super funny. Their music is on the geeky side of things but they still put on a heck of a show.
Perfume Genius was probably the slowest part of the day for me. Not because it wasn’t good but because it was so good it made me sleepy. I don’t know if that happens to anyone else. I’m weird, sorry.
I didn’t get to watch Wye Oak’s complete set but I wish I had. They are awesome.
Owen Pallett is one talented guy. He loops synths and violin to make awesome music. I wish I would have been more familiar with his material. He mentioned that his set was composed of a lot of newer songs. If that’s the case his album is definitely one you’ll want to keep an ear out for because he killed it.
The Local Natives were another band I was super excited to see. I know they are local to Los Angeles but their shows go up and sell out at a moment’s notice that it’s hard to catch them at home. These guys treated the crowd to songs off of their upcoming record Hummingbird which you can pre-order here. By their set alone, I can already tell you that record is going to be really great. They also played, “Wide Eyes” and and crowd favorite, “Airplanes.” Another super cool part of their set was when they brought out one of the Dessner brothers on guitar. The crowd loved every minute of it. They were the perfect set up for the band everyone was waiting for.
When The National hit the stage the crowd was ready. After all we had all been preparing for this moment the last 2 days. This band can do no wrong. They started their set off slow but soon enough picked things up by playing material off of High Violet. From then on their set was a fantastic mix between older and newer material. It even included a new song that vocalist Matt Berninger jokingly introduced as “Buttered Buns” then told everyone to “go ahead and blog away.” That wasn’t the last of bit of comedy either. He apologized for the cold he had and told the crowd we could all blame his daughter as the band went into “Afraid of Everyone.” Throughout their set The National brought out Richard Reed Parry, Owen Pallett, and Nico Muhly to assist them. During the course of the 3 days every artist at some point of their set took the time to thank The National for inviting them to play their festival. Which is why it was super hilarious when again Berninger took the time to thank The National for having them. One of the songs I was most excited to see played was “England” because I just figured the crowd would go nuts. But the UK crowds surprised me. They’re not at all cut throat like they are in LA. They are super respectful of your space and there wasn’t any pushing. It was very nice. However, the video folks were another thing entirely. As always The National ended their show with their unplugged version of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” to the tune of everyone in attendance. It was beautiful.
The ATP curated by The National festival was definitely the highlight of my year. It was a festival I would attend again in a heartbeat. If you were ever curious about an ATP function I’d definitely recommend you attend one or a bunch. Also, a huge huge thank you to the ATP team and the security team of the festival who were super helpful and nice to me. I am so glad I got to meet and speak to so many nice folks. ATP functions are heaven, plain and simple.
**Note: apologies for the video dude who stood up towards the end. He did that a lot during their set. It was very lame.**
**Ah, also I’d like to thank my older brother Anthony for going on this trip with me and being oh so cool always. Well, sometimes.**