“The very first time we went to the Roskilde Festival outside of Copenhagen, it was 1986 and we were like, ‘Fuck, I wish this stuff happened in America!’ I look at the [ATP] schedule and I’m just like, Wow. It’s just like one of the greatest musical events there could be. I hate to say it, because we’re involved, but if we weren’t, I’d want to fucking be there…We could have picked a lot of weird shit. Luckily, we just picked bands that we really liked.”
-Wayne Coyne to Time Out New York
Barry Hogan founded All Tomorrow’s Parties in 1999 as a cult-ish alternative to mammoth British music festivals like Glastonbury. Within a few years ATP events were held around the globe – including stateside in Los Angeles. In 2008 ATP came to New York – but not the Big Apple. Rather, 90 miles northwest of NYC at Kutsher’s Country Club – the last of the Borscht Belt Catskill summer vacation hotspots popular in the mid-20th century (think Dirty Dancing). The Monticello hotel – now a bit of a run down time warp – was an odd venue for a bunch of freaky rock bands to play but this unlikely setting only added to its surreal and intimate appeal.
ATP NY was a festival unlike any other…
My Bloody Valentine headlined and helped curate a bill highlighted by Built To Spill, Thurston Moore, Tortoise and Meat Puppets all performing their respective classic albums at the first of three ATP Festivals held at Kutcher’s . In 2009 the ante was upped: The Jesus Lizard, Iron & Wine, Panda Bear, The Feelies (playing Crazy Rhythms) and Suicide (playing their eponymous debut) launched the weekend. Saturday featured Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, Deerhunter, Melvins, Boss Hog, El-P, Dead Meadow, Akron/Family, Sleepy Sun, Black Dice, Atlas Sound, Shellac, Circulatory System, Grouper and others. It was Sunday’s bill however – headlined and curated by The Flaming Lips – that put the festival over the top: “the greatest collection of underground music that’s ever been assembled” is how Wayne Coyne described it at the time…
No Age’s guitarist Randy Randall “The first time I heard the Lips I was in high school and my friend Niaz put on Clouds Taste Metallic. That record was a huge influence on me.”
Boris’s singer-drummer Atsuo “They were awesome. That huge balloon was amazing. I would love to have one.”
Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Tobacco “Zaireeka changed the way I thought about music. I was ripe for the picking, and that album picked me really hard.”
Menomena’s Danny Seim “A friend gave me The Soft Bulletin and I hated it for the first two listens. But if I fucking despise a record at first but am still somehow compelled to keep listening, it will eventually become one of my favorite records of all time.”
Deerhoof’s John Dieterich “The Flaming Lips’ show has grown so much, and I remember just looking around and seeing tears of joy all around me. It’s hard not to get swept up in that feeling.”
Quotes via Time Out New York
Several once-in-a-lifetime performances were created just for this unforgettable final day. No Age played a Hüsker Dü with Bob Mould, Hopewell played “The Desperation Suite” with an expanded line-up, The Boredoms performing BOADRUM 9, Oneida jammed all day with various guests slipping in and out of the continuous jam (among them, Steven Drozd and Kliph Scurlock drumming together), Martha Colburn created special video projections for Deerhoof’s set and Boris performed Feedbacker. Other Lips picks for that day included Super Furry Animals, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Menomena. Quite spectacular all in all – but perhaps most unique and memorable of all was the big band Caribou’s Dan Snaith put together…
Calling themselves the Caribou Vibration Ensemble, the one-off group included free jazz saxophonist and Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, Enon’s John Schmersal and Yeasayer/Of Montreal collaborator Sinkane. Their set was broadcast live by WFMU and the station made part of that recording available for free download shortly after. In 2010 the entire set was released as a live album – which was posted as a free stream in March 2011 at soundcloud.
Today official video of the entire set was uploaded at vimeo (click here to watch full film, or watch highlights above and below):