A large amount of the crowd came gamely dressed-up in bloodpaint and/or costume for ATP’s Halloween gig at The Forum in Kentish Town which featured a bill rammed way into the night including the Cervidae-likes of Deerhoof and Deerhunter among others. The aforementioned costumes and a venue bedecked with copious amounts of large 2D skulls and the like indeed gave an air of the witching season, however, and strangely, as the two bands already mentioned suggest, the choice of music on offer didn’t do much to continue this mood. Black Lips are by no means evil and The Liars aren’t too dark either, in fact the only band with any real attempt to befit the name and time of year were Fuck Buttons. They are kind of like an Evil Animal Collective with the same head bobbing mess-strewn noise, just replacing the vocals and pop sensibility with, well a whole lot more noise. OK we’re talking a little more Black Dice or something, however, having been listening to Strawberry Jam for several days previous to the gig everyone sounded a bit Animal Collective — Deerhunter and Black Lips definitely, and Deerhoof a fair amount too.
Anyway, Fuck Buttons opened the show with their two man mass electronic barrage with people slowly making their way in with the earliyish doors. Making an enjoyable racket the heads of the crowd that were already in were found bobbing along with the performers by the end of the slightly abstract set. By the time Deerhunter took to the stage a more respectable amount of people had joined the mass in front of the stage and the Atlanta five-piece engaged them with their shoegazey-indie. A distinctly different type of noise band than the opening act Deerhunter created a washing mass of distortion that never weighed to heavy though functioned constantly throughout the set as the underlining to their mostly fast, driving indie-rock that belies the suggestion of the MBV-style sound. Entertaining on record the big wall of sound backdrop works much more effectively within the live environment and the overall show is impressive and stands up to the acclaim that the band achieved for their most recent LP Cryptomgrams.
a noisier more abrasive outfit putting on a loud and sweaty real rock show
When you are swimming within the mass sea of Black- monikered modern bands (including the aforementioned Dice plus Eyes, Keys and etc) you need something to make you distinct and memorable, and Black Lips have had an admirable go at doing this. Well, admirable may not be the right word — we’re talking on stage pissing (in their own mouths) and kissing each other etc. But musically though they’ve had a fair stab at finding their own hole as well and without wanting it too pigeoned playing songs which show the indie-ish influence of pop musics from the 50s and 60s as well as the modern era. They are a quirky and entertaining band and shy away from any drastic shenanigans on stage tonight — probably because the crowd are an enthusiastic one and the mood doesn’t need any geeing up.
Adding further to the bill, between all of the bands a different ATP afficionado, including big man Barry Hogan, took the DJ reins and after another one of these choice musical selections the crowd were treated to a balls-out display from the new style Liars, a noisier more abrasive outfit putting on a loud and sweaty real rock show. With elements of the danceable post-punk edge and the art-rock stylings intact somewhere but distinctly background Liars new material (from the recent self-titled record) is just great. Where Drums Not Dead took the art edge into a concept terrain with rhythmical experimentation the focus has been reined in with punk/rock chords and more straightforward drumwork taking the lead — and with wild frontman movements, it’s all a perfect and loud treat of a live show.
performed with that perfect oddball fervour
Deerhoof came out for their headline slot at about 11.45 (with tube passenger’s needs meaning that the audience was slowly diminishing throughout the set) but the large amount left and there for the long haul (through til 2AM) were offered a gem of a set with the by now greatly adapted size-reduced outfit. Latest album Friend Opportunity is a class effort bringing together a lot of the group’s various stylistic adventures in one fine and perhaps ultimate little grouping. Tracks like “+21”, “Believe ESP” and “Cast Off Crown” were performed with that perfect oddball fervour that has brought the group acclaim and many wide-smile-faced crowds. Able to strike up joyous melodies and chaos within seconds of each other the group have a commanding ability at writing something different and performing it with impressive aplomb. For those who stuck around a great show, for those who left, a great shame. And overall although the bill could have been more Halloween-like (like White Heat’s equivalent with Trencher and Miasma for example) that was never going to stop it being a great night.