Thursday, May 28, 2009

ATP: Joey & Alan's Excellent Adventure

For the newbies: If you don't know what All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) is, then please leave now and do your homework... Come back when you're done... There will be a quiz!

For everyone else: The latest installment of the ATP series was one that was closest to Umlaut's heart with several bands who I hold near and dear on the bill (SLEEP reunited for one weekend only... The Jesus Lizard.. Killing Joke..) as well as other bands who I dig (Devo.. Electric Wizard.. Harvey Milk..)... but, alas, I couldn't attend. Thankfully, Umlaut Nation members Joey (representing the United States) and Alan (representing Great Britain) were there to allow me to live vicariously through their Rock 'N Roll Lifestyles. Read on:

ATP Vs. The Fans Part II: The Fans Strike Back
Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, England
May 8-10, 2009

It Was A Classic: A Visit to Haven Butlins

By “Al from Hell” Dickey and Joey “Blow Torch” Osbourne

Joey’s Take (JT):
What a week this was. I recently visited my buddy Alan and his lovely family in London to go to the Fans Strike Back II All Tomorrow’s Parties festival blow out. It started with a primer visit to Photo Fit printing shop to see the latest England team football and Sleep shirts in the production queues. Then a drive by Jerry Hall’s ‘bungalow’ (I think Mick Jagger perped on her for years next door) and Petey Townshend's Wick House digs all overlooking the scenic Thames River. We connected with Todd and Dema and hit the road north to Butlins in Hertfordshire (near Wales) from London. Although it was supposed to be a 3 ½ hour trip, we successfully made it a 6 hour drive full of great shuffle on the iPod and anticipatory chit chat. We’re not sure why it took so long as no one was paying attention including Alan who was driving.

Alan: I was paying attention, honest officer! Hey they only dug up half of bloody London to repair their ancient water pipes and then decided to close half of the M4 so the council could repair a small part of the fence in the centre of the motorway.

JT: We got to the Butlins production area and picked up our dialed tickets and VIP efficiency key cards. Barry, Deborah and crew rule, period. We saw Xavier’s fleet (Highway Tiger Tour vans) but no Xavier. Oh well. We settled in and were off to the races.

Alan: I saw Xavier first as I was driving and paying attention whence why we didn’t hit them.

JT: Friday started with Andrew W.K.. Ok, I am so glad I never paid to see him. He wears all white. I’d guess he’s a nice guy so he gets the Nice Guy/Bad Band status.

Alan: Yeah, me too, but he does get the vote of confidence. The kids lapped it up as I am sure his accountant does too but I would still prefer to stand and watch WHITEHOUSE over Andrew WK. WHITEHOUSE wears black.

JT: Then it was Devo who I had never seen. Look, I was waiting for a festival like this and didn’t see them when they played for free in S.F. because I have to pay rent in that friggin’ city. Plus I’m a drummer who’s from Kentucky. What do you expect? Devo were great and a lot of dancing and screaming by Dema, Todd, Alan and I (and probably Tommy and Julie at this point) went down. They even played 'Uncrontrollable Urge' so I could finally die in peace.

Alan: Hey Joey, I agree Devo were still as energetic as ever and to see them still don the little black hot pants and black vests after all these years was priceless as I am sure not many bands from now would be able to pull that off. 'Mongoloid', 'Freedom of Choice', 'Girl U Want', and 'Whip It' had us all in a sweaty pool of bliss.

JT: Lots of "socializing" ensued until Electric Wizard came on. A significant improvement from the last time I saw them. I think it was due to the new line up. All that said, Electric Wizard = bad guy + great band. At some point I went over to Todd and Dema’s and met some really cool people including Ozzie who played drums with Brian James (The Damned and The Lords of the New Church) and Nick Treguna (The Lords of the New Church). Holy Shit! The Damned are my favorite punk band. Holy Shit! And Ozzie was a very cool guy to boot. We talked shop of course. Beddy bye for me at some point after this. Dema went on to dance the night away with Fuck Buttons.

Alan: Supposedly this is when I ended up on the beach with a shit load of TMFT (Today Mother Fucker Today) stickers and a shit load of ATP fans getting stickered to death. All I remember is waking up with one sock on and a bucket and spade beside my bed full of sand?? Joey, the door was locked right?

JT: I can’t remember Al. I was so tired. Saturday: started with Qui with Mr. Yow on vocals. Good musicians and David warming up for the eventual hoo ha ha. I saw a few songs of Young Marble Giants to say that I saw them. Wait, did I write that? Then I traipsed over to see Grizzly Bear and was pleasantly surprised at how good these guys were. Incredible harmonies. Check ‘em out. Then it was on to Harvey Milk. I had seen them earlier this year at Great American Music Hall with Joe Preston and was pleasantly surprised that they upped the ante with the ATP show. Brutally amazing band and very cool guys. I met them after the set with Cyrus (Drunk Horse, Saviours and a sweetheart in general). The Harvey Milk guys gave Cyrus and I backstage passes for the rest of the show which came in handy later on in the evening. Harvey Milk = great guys + great band.

Joey's "All Access, Bitch!" Pass

Alan: Harvey Mother Fucking Milk more like and Cyrus (I am hanging with you broads) is a class act. How come we didn’t hang with Cyrus later on as he seemed like he had the best party going on? Seriously Harvey Milk were one of those bands when you see them for the first time and just wig out to and later think they fit into that “When they are in your town they aren’t to be missed” category.

JT: Then it was on to see one of Todd ‘I booked ‘em Cote’s band, Sleepy Sun. Holy crap, these guys blew me away. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they did an amazing cover of a late era Fleetwood Mac song ('The Chain'). Hats off to the youth for having no hang ups on "What’s the right cover song to do". Then The Jesus Lizard came on and blistered the crowd. O.K., they are older, but damn those guys are masters at kickin’ your face in old school. Wait, did I write that? Then it came time for the reason I came across the pond, Sleep. I was definitely backstage and not to shoot the shit with the guys, but be witness to the brutal hour and half onslaught by the masters of doom. They did tons of songs from Holy Mountain, a snippet of Dopesmoker (sorry guys I can’t call it Jerusalem ‘cause that’s not what I called it when I first witnessed that song) and a song I’d never heard to close the set. One word: Holy. No more needs to be said. I followed the riff-filled caravan of Sleep to their room and went to bed soon after that. Nice.

Alan: Sleepy Sun really got the new band on the block award for sure and what a fine bunch and a fine psychedelic hippie dose was needed at that time of day as it set up the rest of the evening for sure. There were various amounts of Jim Beam and Tetleys bitter top ups in between the above bands. We also managed to gate crash Adam’s (Production House) birthday celebrations back stage just prior to Sleep as his crew was doing all that was needed to get each band off that stage and the next round of musicians on the stage in time. He is now OFFICIALLY one of the OLD BASTARDS AT THE BAR as he turned 35 and Dr. Bourbon (Photofit) has confirmed yes he can have the official shirt very soon.

JT: Sunday started with spaghetti dinner with Alan, Dema, Tommy, Julie and myself. Todd was busy booking something I’m sure. We checked out the end of !!! CHK CHK CHK. Good enough plan. Then came the second reason I crossed the pond: Killing Joke. Mind you, I saw them 8 years or so ago at Slim’s and they sucked. This was a very influential band for me and they needed to redeem that slot in my life for me. This was the original line up and those fuckin’ Brits delivered. Even the disco stuff sounded great. I could now die in peace. We all traipsed over to see Spiritualized who were really good, but Todd and Dema’s antics were by far more entertaining. No more needs to be said. School of Seven Bells = two hot birds with a twat in the middle. I’m not sure why I skipped the second Jesus Lizard set but I’m sure it was for some reason that was funny. Then I saw This Will Destroy You long enough to appreciate that I never heard any of their music before and never paid to see them. Life is good. Then, the Holy Mountain boys, Sleep. I stood in the crowd this time. Holy. Back to London. It only took 3 ½ hours. Weird.

Alan: Fuck man you forgot the bit when we are staggering around Butlins following each other and we came across the infamous 50ft climbing wall and this dude comes up to us and says ”Man do you know that Dale Crover is the only musician to actually climb all the way to the top of that there wall”? Well I was like no f*cking way? Joey starts pacing about and you could see he’s thinking “I can beat Mr Crover at most things but that wall is pretty high”. I managed to convince Joey that if anyone would want to better that feat leave it to the Electric Wizard guys. You never know it might become an ATP event in the future. Sleep and Spiritualized were two bands similar in thinking but so different in action and after witnessing both the Fuck Buttons DJ set at The Crazy Horse for a few laps around the dance floor was needed. God knows who that poor boy was but Dema had him doing cart wheels and rolly polly’s on the dance floor. It was all Dema’s fault for sure.

JT: We saw Sleepy Sun again at the Luminaire and had amazing Indian food.

Alan: This was Sleepy Suns first ever London show and it was their Embrace debut album release which made it all the more special. As Joey said the Indian food at VJ’s on Willesden Lane is probably the best. In London that’s for sure. Then a short walk up to The Luminaire. What a perfect way to finish off a CLASSIC weekend?

JT: There is one major thing that I learned in England, thanks to Dema, “That ain’t no Ferris Wheel, Joey. It’s the fucking Millennium Eye”.

Joey and Al say in closing "Remember kids, Uncle Chop Chop says "Don’t cut off your fuckin' ears".