Last month I got to do something pretty exciting. I’ve been going to the All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) festivals in the UK on and off for years now. For those of you who are unfamiliar this is the basic deal. ATP take over the Butlins holiday camp at Minehead, near Bristol, for a weekend (they used to run them in the less salubrious Camber Sands). They invite someone (usually a musician, a band) to ‘curate’ a music festival there for the weekend. They then invite all sorts of other artists who they like, were influenced by, or regularly go drinking with, to come and play also. As a punter, you stay in one of the chalets on site, which beats the hell out of some smelly tent, though invariably the chalet ends up just as smelly as a tent by the end of the weekend – but at least you’re dry.
I’ve seen some amazing stuff there over the years – Boredoms, Melvins (for the first time ever), Sonic Youth, The Stooges, The Dead C, Slint, Melt Banana and countless others too numerous to mention. Myself and some cronies were tempted back before Christmas by the promise of a reformed Hot Snakes and various other attractions listed here. I sent some of my work to the organisers before going and asked them if they would be amenable to me doing some of my photography at the festival. To my surprise and delight they got right back to me and said yes (I say “surprise” because I am used to some small promoters in Ireland not even replying to my emails). So, after figuring out the awkward logistics of getting a load of bulky camera equipment from Dublin to Minehead, it was all go.
I have a bunch of pictures from the festival that I am going to post up over the next week or so. The one above is of Battles, who curated the Saturday (Les Savy Fav did the Friday and Caribou took care of business on the Sunday). I’ve seen Battles both with and without Tyondai Braxton now and you know what? I prefer the new three-piece version. The photo was taken in the main venue at Minehead during their afternoon set. It’s an exposure of 5 minutes and 48 seconds. They were playing the song Sweetie And Shag with guest singer Kazu Makino appearing on the two screens behind them. Drummer John Stanier is still a joy to watch. It looks like that symbol is about 10 feet above his head but he really can reach that far.