Festival Review: ATP 2007, The Dirty Three Weekend, Day 2: Saturday 28th April 2007

Saturday started with more bluesy Aussie rock in the form of Joel Silbersher & The Spot Of Bother, The Spot Of Bother presumably being the two members of The Drones that Joel shared a stage with. Apparently Joel is some kind of post-punk legend in Oz and his set was refreshingly varied and a good way to start the day.

Magnolia Electric Co. @ ATP 2007Disappointingly Magnolia Electric Co. played pretty much the same set on the main stage that they had played on the Centre Stage the day before. The closed atmosphere of the Centre Stage certainly suited them more than the Pavilion where you sensed that the music didn’t quite have the reach to bring in a whole bunch of new admirers, although those already in the know lapped it up. Jason Molina was certainly in fine voice and “Leave The City” and “Memphis Moon” were sublime.

As we waited for Low to take the stage I was anxiously looking up the football results. Leeds were ahead, but so were Hull and it looked like it would go down to the last day of the season. Ipswich equalised and the rest is history. My phone flashed up “full time” just as the band were coming on (it wasn’t actually full time, it was a pitch invasion). Last year we were watching Destroyer at Camber Sands while Leeds were being destroyed by Watford in the play-off final. ATP is not a good festival for Leeds fans.

Low @ ATP 2007The first couple of Low songs ran past in a blur as I struggled to get my head round the fact the Scunthorpe are now in a higher division than us. Fortunately the band were playing a blinder with songs from the new Drums And Guns long player coming across bruised and beautiful thanks to the spellbinding vocals of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. During “Laser Beam” a young guy at the barrier a few feet from me started crying his eyes out and didn’t stop for the rest of the performance. Another Leeds fan, maybe. I don’t know how many people were watching as we were right at the front but there must have been perhaps two or three thousand at least and for a band whose music is so quiet and studied to hold such a large audience in their sway for an hour was a great achievement. The sustained roar of approval for “Pissing” had Sparhawk looking pleasantly bewildered.

Spiritualized Acoustic Mainline weren’t so successful and I spent most of their set feeling bored as Jason Pearce and co. ran through some of the more gospelly numbers from their back catalogue. The cavalry arrived with the final three songs in the form of “Ladies And Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space”, “I Think I’m In Love” and “Lord, Can You Hear Me” all of which were ace and were worth sitting through the rest of the soporiphic set for.

Grinderman @ ATP 2007Nick Cave is a man on the top of his game and he set about proving it, first with a brilliant set of Bad Seeds numbers followed by the first ever live outing for Grinderman. The band were made up of his Grinderman companions Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos and they treated us to wired versions of “West Country Girl”, “The Weeping Song” and “Deanna” among others. Ellis was again a magnetic presence, playing with the same manic energy that had lit up his Dirty Three set the day before. “Red Right Hand” provided an unlikely crowd singalong while the version of “The Mercy Seat” was almost as good as the one they played at Bridgewater Hall over a year ago.

The Grinderman set was marred by a few technical difficulties that stopped the band from really getting a full head of steam until the end. Cave had to do the “white mice and baboons” intro from opening “Get In On” twice after Warren Ellis’ distortion pedal from hell failed to kick in first time. It was a great performance nonetheless and they were joined by Bobby Gillespie on percussion as they treated us to the entire Grinderman album. There was also the added bonus of the rare sight of Nick Cave playing guitar; nothing fancy, mind, just guttoral chords and the odd one finger melody. He had to get Warren Ellis to tune the thing for him on one occasion and he looked like a kid having his mum tie his shoelaces for him on the first day of school. Amid all the raw testosterone-fuelled rock moves the quiet songs, “Man In The Moon” and “Go Tell The Women” stood up admirably thanks to Nick’s way with a croon and the closing roar of “Love Bomb” brought proceeding son the main stage to a more than satisfactory close for the day.

The Drones @ ATP 2007There was still plenty watch on the other stages for the rest of the evening and having spent almost six hours in the same spot at the main stage it was a relief to finally get back to Centre Stage where we could sit down and watch The Drones, who were in electrifying form. I’ve had trouble getting into their albums but they make much more sense live and they played their bluesy Aussie rock (there seemed to be plenty of bluesy Aussie rock about this weekend) with fire in their bellies. Before the end, but not before a towering version of “Shark Fin Blues”, I decided to slip off to catch some of We Ragazzi in Reds but was slightly disappointed by their energetic mix of scratchy blues guitar and cheesy farfisa organ which should have been great but was merely ok and grew wearying after a while.

Back at Centre Stage I was again battling falling eyelids as I attempted to stay awake long enough to see Einstürzende Neubauten. Nina Nastasia didn’t help the cause, her folksy meanderings barely registering with us despite the assistance of Jim White on drums. When they finally came on it was worth the wait. I’d never heard much of their stuff before and expected them to be a lot more industrial and much less melodic than they actually were. Frontman, and ex-Bad Seed, Blixa Bargeld was on fine form, his deep German baritone bringing back memories of seeing him play “The Weeping Song” with his old band. The most startling aspects of the performance were the myriad forms of percussion employed. Hundreds of steel rods were emptied from a metal box over the percussionists equipment; a rhythm was beaten out on four huge wooden pipes which seemed to be singing out their cadence. Sadly, I didn’t make it to the end but saw enough to regret not having made the effort to listen to them previously.

Low – Pissing

Grinderman – Go Tell The Women

The Drones – Shark Fin Blues

5 Responses to “Festival Review: ATP 2007, The Dirty Three Weekend, Day 2: Saturday 28th April 2007”

  • Matt Cox Says:

    Nick Cave,

  • Matt Cox Says:

    Damn, my post screwed up. All I wanted to do was express my love for Nick Cave (albeit in a non-homosexual manner).

  • Matthew Says:

    I wish I could see Grinderman. They’ve just announced a London gig – tickets on sale tomorrow morning I think – but I just can’t justify the £200 odd it would end up costing me to make a round trip to London. Nearly, but not quite. Sooooooo tempting though!

  • The Ledge Says:

    They really seemed to enjoy playing the Grinderman stuff so hopefully a full tour is in their plans.

    Matt, I got you the first time. Just typing “Nick Cave,” in a comment sort of sums your feelings up, lost for words just thinking of the great man (but in a totally heterosexual way, of course).

  • referee basketball rules Says:

    To run a marathon or not?

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