The third annual New York edition of All Tomorrows Parties rocked the Catskills this past weekend (Sept 3-5) with three days of raw power blasting out of the amps of everyone from Iggy & the Stooges and Sonic Youth to Raekwon and GZA. The bill itself was reason enough to head up to Kutsher's Country Club in Monticello, NY, but there were lots of other non-music reasons to make the trek upstate as well.
Sonic Youth's Big Takeover
Sonic Youth had a very busy weekend in the Catskills, as theindividual band members did whatever they could to take up as many timeslots as possible. On Saturday afternoon, guitarist Lee Renaldo took the stage with his avant-garde improvisation project Text of Light, while drummer Steve Shelley hit the skins with Hallogallo (who performed the music of Krautrock godfathers Neu!) later in the day. The two came together with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon to headline Saturday's main stage with a scorching set that focused on Sonic Youth's pre-'90s material. And if fans still hadn't had enough, they could catch Thurston Moore's Sunday morning solo set or check out one of the films he picked for the Criterion Cinema.
Wu-Tang Was Nothin to F*** Wit
Indie and experimental rock saturated the ATP lineup, but Sunday's audience also got a heavy dose of New York hip-hop, courtesy of Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon and GZA. After being introduced by porn king Ron Jeremy, Raekwon dropped bone-rattling beats and hard-edged rhymes on the main stage. GZA followed up and closed out the second stage with a tighter, though angrier set of classic and current jams.
The Breeders Played Marriage Counselors
Indie-rock producer Steve Albini is so devoted to ATP, he left his wife at home -- despite the fact that it was the wekeend of their one-year anniversary -- so he could run his infamous all-night card room and rock the main stage with his minimalist rock trio Shellac. It may not have been the best decision for his marriage, but longtime friends Kim & Kelley Deal of the breeders stepped in to help the Albinis make it to year two. During their 17-song set -- which mixed new songs with '90s alt-rock anthems like "Cannonball" and "Divine Hammer" -- Kelley called Mrs. Albini in Chicago and had the entire crowd wish her a happy anniversary. Let's hope Steve found the time to make a call as well.
The Stars Were Just Like Us
ATP doesn't do VIP, and the lack of a specified artist area means that the talent had no choice but to mingle with the common folk all weekend. On a given day, you could stroll past the Breeders warming up for their set in Kutsher's hotel lobby, buy a drink for Jack Lawrence of Greenhorns/ Raconteurs/ Dead Weather fame, get trapped in a broken-down elevator with Kim Gordon, challenge DJ Kool Herc to a game of air hockey, or chase down ubiquitous filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who seemed to spend most of the weekend snapping photographs with gushing fans.
The Stooges, Mudhoney Helped Fans 'Look Back'
Punk, grunge and metal ruled the ATP main stage at on Friday. As part of this year's Don't Look Back series, Seattle rockers Mudhoney got the mosh pit roaring with a performance of their 1988 debut 'Superfuzz Bigmuff,' while fans raised their devil horns high for Sleep's rendition of their 1993 stoner metal opus "Holy Mountain." But the most rampant enthusiasm was reserved for Iggy & the Stooges, who whipped the audience into a crowd-surfing frenzy with a kinetic rehashing of their 1973 classic "Raw Power," delivering a performance that more than lived up to the album's title.
Ricky Powell's World Famous Slideshow
The audience turned up Sunday afternoon to see Ricky Powell's famous hip-hop photos, but the pics weren't nearly as memorable as the shutterbug's don't-give-a-sh*t dialogue. For two-and-a half hours, Powell -- a fixture of New York rap and art scene -- downed tequila shots while he gave a first-hand account of hip-hop's '80s rise, dished about the celebs "on his d*ck" (Cindy Crawford, Chris Rock), and told outrageous stories about the "freaky bitches" he met during his weed-dealing days. Powell grew more "open" (as he put it) as the event went on, and only ceased his tirade when the mic was forcibly removed from his hand.
SUNN 0))) & Boris Built One Hell of an 'Altar'
In 2008, My Bloody Valentine closed the very first ATP NY with a 20-minute barrage of apocalyptic noise that rivaled the sound of a jet plane taking off in your living room. Curator Jim Jarmusch one-upped the decibel ante by enlisting the drone/ doom metal groups Boris and Sunn 0))) to perform their 2006 collaborative work 'Altar.' Wearing black hooded robes, the groups bombarded the audience with deafening tidal waves of face-melting feedback and cacophonous, percussive noise that was as dense as the clouds of smoke that enveloped the stage. Equal parts sonic experiment, endurance test and pagan ritual, the ear-bleeding set sent some listeners running for the exits with fingers firmly implanted in ears, but those that rode out the storm were rewarded with the most psychedelic, assaulting and -- at times -- enrapturing hour of sound ATP 2010 had to offer.
After-Hours Parties Rocked Til the Sunrise
ATP's two stages had a 1AM curfew, but that didn't mean the party stopped when the house lights came up. Night owls kept the good times rolling by heading down to one of Kutsher's two after-hours bars, where an assortment of DJs dropped '80s and indie jams well past 5AM. Those who weren't into cutting a rug chose to cut the cards at Steve Albini's all-night poker room or dazzled the crowd with their fancy footwork at the late-nite karaoke contest. And the most brazen of the attendees spent their wee hours skinny dipping in the indoor poor to the delight (or horror) of the revelers in the adjacent Deep End bar.
It Was the Ultimate Indie Rock Summer Camp
Even if you disregard the three-dozen bands on the bill, ATP would still be one of the most entertaining weekends on the indie-rock calendar. No other U.S. festival finds skinny-jeans-wearing hipster rowing boats around a pond, or sludge metal-heads reliving their youth on creaky swing sets. If the Luc Sante and Samantha Hunt book club isn't quite your thing, how about testing your knowledge at the annual Rock & Pop trivia contest, shooting a few birdies at the 18-hole golf course on the grounds, or catching a classic flick at the Criterion Cinema running all weekend. In fact, there were so many non-music activities available at ATP, all that was missing was an arts & crafts table where you could hand paint Smurf figurines. Oh wait, there was one of those too?
This Year Marks ATP's 10th Anniversary
And after another awesome weekend in the Catskills, we sincerely hope there's 10 more years to come for All Tomorrow's Parties.