At All Points West, Tool, My Bloody Valentine Bring Sun, Dark Tunes

Wes Orshoski
My Bloody Valentine performs at All Points West. August 1, 2009.

All Points West organizers offered a reward to everyone that braved the festival's soggy, mud-soaked opening day. A free pass.

At 6 P.M. Friday, AEG/ Goldenvoice announced that, due to the stormy weather that plagued the grounds all afternoon, Friday ticket holders would be admitted into one of the festival's remaining two days. And from looks of the much denser crowds packed around the event's three stages on Saturday afternoon, not to mention the considerably longer bathroom and concession lines that snaked across the field, it seems that many fans took APW up on their shrewd offer.

Day two of the second annual All Points West Music & Arts Festival was blessed with clear skies and summer heat. Galoshes were still the desired fashion statement for some, however, as deep puddles and inescapable mud pits continued to coat the grounds of New Jersey's Liberty State Park. The conditions prompted several "Lord of the Flies" moments in the crowd throughout the day, including an impromptu, mid-afternoon mud wrestling competition in the DoLab dance area.

Though the sun beamed down, the music took an notably darker turn from day one. Art-metal mavens Tool brought legions of black-clad rockers to the main "Blue Comet" stage for its heavy headlining set. The band, appearing merely as silhouettes against a backdrop of garish animated visuals, bombarded the audience with menacing tunes from their most recent album "10,000 Days" as well as hits from its extensive catalog, including "Stinkfist" and "Aenema."

British shoegaze icons My Bloody Valentine played a deafening, distorted sunset performance that drew as many cheers as it did jeers from the polarized crowd. The band's 12-minute wall-of-sound finale during "You Made Me Realise" prompted howls of approval from die-hard fans and middle fingers from uninitiated listeners, who impatiently chanted for Tool throughout the band's set. Even Arctic Monkeys, revered for their upbeat, jangly brand of Britpop, revealed a spookier edge during their mid-afternoon set, foregoing many of their poppy hits in favor of ominous, film-noirish songs from their forthcoming album "Humbug."

But APW day two wasn't all about doom and gloom. New York gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello gave a jubilant performance of violin and banjo-fueled party tunes that had listeners in the fenced-off beer gardens dancing with wild, drunken enthusiasm. Underground rapper Kool Keith, flanked by gangsta-rap kingpin Ice T, dropped raunchy sex rhymes from his Dr. Octagon and Black Elvis alter-egos on the smaller "Bullet Stage." The revelry continued late into the night in the "Queen of the Valley" tent, where Brooklyn electo-poppers Chairlift, Canadian rave-punk trio Crystal Castles and bubbly British dance band the Ting Tings kept fans grooving with hip-shaking dance beats until the last ferries left for lower Manhattan.

The All Points West Music & Arts Festival is scheduled to conclude today (Sunday) with performances from Coldplay, MGMT, Echo & the Bunnymen, Silversun Pickups and more.