Venue:Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Minehead
Pizza Hut, Butlins and chalets are not words usually associated with astonishing musical experiences – until now. Held at the Minehead tourist resort, ATP presents some of the most legendary and exciting bands around today. The unbelievable line-up ranges from industrial to folk to punk to jazz, yet when seen together, it strangely makes sense.
The slow and majestic Low, Josh T. Pearson’s haunted, arresting voice and the wide-eyed and primal Drones are each individually incredible. Psarantonis’s wild but stylised traditional Greek music is entrancing, and Felix Lajko leaves the audience dumbstruck with an exquisite hour-long virtuoso on violin and zither. The only disappointments are Nina Nastasia and Cat Power, unfortunately unimpressive and tired-sounding.
Spiritual yet sensual, Dirty Three live are a musical epiphany. Warren Ellis does high-kicks that put Chuck Norris to shame and sports an impressive Rasputin beard. From delicate lullabies to vitriolic yet deliberate chaos, the violin’s classical sound is framed by feedback and distortion. One of the most anticipated acts is Grinderman, who played their first and only live performance so far at ATP. Brazen and adrenaline-filled, they deliver a three-hour set that is irreverantly energetic, leaving the audience rapturous. And Joanna Newsom. The harp is hypnotising, her voice is beautiful, she is adorable and unassuming, says things like ‘geez Louise’ and needs constant eye contact with her band for reassurance. ‘Ys’ live defies belief.
ATP is certainly a strange little community. Facial hair abounds, both onstage and off, from the most fledgling bum fluff to full-on Jesus beards. The central stage is somewhat like being inside a giant seashell. And oh, what a wonderful world it is there.