Although it doesn't involve actual camping like Bonnaroo or Sasquatch, no festival feels more like summer camp than All Tomorrow's Parties New York. The American spinoff of the 10 year-old UK fest launched its third annual event on Friday (Sept. 3) at Monticello, N.Y.'s Kutshers Country Club, the last of the grand Borscht Belt resorts in the Catskills. From the gameroom-filled hallways to the checker-clothed communal tables and diminuative lake, everything about the fest's setting suggests summer's final free-for-all before another year of school.
The entertainment, however, was anything but kitschy. Friday's lineup comprised one of ATP's noted Don't Look Back concerts, in which artists perform acclaimed full albums in running order. This year's bill featured the supercharged grime of Iggy and the Stooges performing 1973's "Raw Power," stoner rockers Sleep performing 1993's "Holy Mountain," Seattle grunge stalwarts Mudhoney performing 1988 debut "Superfuzz Bigmuff," and influential Australian post-punk band Scientists performing 1983's "Blood Red River" in their first-ever U.S. show.
Unlike most festivals, ATP New York's main events occur indoors, in the resort's retro-tastic function spaces. The Starlight Ballroom, which hosts the main stage, is a round, tiered-floor room adorned with a sweeping starscape painted on the walls and silvery houndstooth-patterned wallpaper in the entryway. The room's acoustics are deceptively advanced, focusing noise away from crowd chatter and into Scientists' pulsing, groaning guitars and Mudhoney's distorted freneticism. Against a backdrop of furious big-screen flames, Sleep's doom metal drone was downright defribillating.
As the pretty clear main attraction, Iggy and the Stooges granted a predictably explosive show. Shirtless as always and supremely jacked for his 63 years, Iggy Pop launched into "Raw Power"'s title track without pleasantries. Crowd surfing began almost immediately, with Iggy joining in soon after; water bottles soared, a wet black beach ball bounded, and someone even volleyed a wig.
While Iggy's bottle-rocket antics are sexually suggestive, they also bring to mind an intensely restless kindergartener, and during Friday's show he never stopped moving. He invited "dancers, spazzers and freaks" on stage during "Shake Appeal," and had a clever verbal segue for each song, such as "You're very very pretty--but 'Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell'." Not for the first time, his pants slid lower and lower throughout the set, and were in near misdemeanor territory by the time the band wrapped the album tracks. The Stooges followed the "Raw Power" set with additional songs including "1970" from "Fun House," "No Fun" from "The Stooges," and "Beyond the Law" from Iggy Pop and Stooges guitarist James Williamson's 1977 album "Kill City".
Meanwhile, the Kutshers Dining Room hosted a comedy stage featuring Matt McCarthy, Heather Lawless, Todd Barry and Hannibal Buress. Barry's always droll set saved several digs for Kutshers' less-than-gleaming accommodations, and Buress had some gut-busting fun at the expense of handlebar-mustachioed Brooklyn hipsters--several of whom were in the room.
ATP New York continues through the weekend, with performances by acts including Sonic Youth, Explosions in the Sky, Fuck Buttons, Shellac and the Books. Sunday's lineup, curated by acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, features Raekwon, GZA, Fucked Up, Kurt Vile and Dungen, among others.