It was not as packed as last year, with Slayer in the Main hall on the Friday, and Mogwai in the West Hall. It looks like either ATP decided the bands on Saturday/Sunday needed the more intimate feel of the West Hall or not as many people picked up tickets this year, which would be a shame as Mogwai and the rest of the lineup over those days were particularly good.
Some brief highlights:
- Slayer rocked. They started out with a handful of classics like Dead Skin Mask, and ended up giving us the entire Reign In Blood album, all 28 speed/thrash metal minutes of it. @JoyrexJ9 mentioned that it sounded like they were playing the same song a few times, and it turned out that they did Reborn twice… still sounded pretty good. Reign in Blood came out in 1986, and Slayer have been playing this live for over twenty years, over this time their matured synapses have honed the music into a concentrated blast of fury that can blow any crowd, including this one, away. They came back on with War Ensemble as an encore, and after a lot of cheering their loving crowd spilled out into the night.
- Wolves At The Throne Room were in the West Hall on Friday. This was the first time I heard their drone, and it felt like I was watching Hastur’s black goats being told to “have at it” after they were given guitars and a drum kit. They ground out some of the heaviest filmic metal I’ve heard in a while and are definitely worth a listen if you’re that way inclined.
- Balam Acab delivered an electronic, laptop and synth set in the Panorama Room, and was the most beautiful dreamtime electronica I’ve heard in a while. This was the audiophile equivalent of sitting at the edge of a warm sea on a sunlit day, with slow waves softly lapping at your feet. Suitably relaxed music for summertime in London.
- Mogwai’s magnificent menagerie of musonauts were the headliner on Saturday night. Their one and a half hours of film-score music was the highlight of the festival for me, its the first time I’ve seen them live, and hopefully not the last. Check out blissful tracks like Hunted By A Freak and 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong that they played live.
Thanks to the folks at All Tomorrow’s Parties who have been putting on some of the best festivals in the world since 1999, I’m looking forward to next year’s London event already :).