ATP, or All Tomorrow Parties, have a habit in organising the odd good album show. Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power and Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! by Devo stick out in regards to classic albums. Tonight however is the turn of recent gems by the Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr. and Deerhoof.
Opening proceedings are Deerhoof with their 2004 concept album Milk Man. Despite the quartet’s theatrics the San Franciscans are not fully embraced by the sparse Alexandra Palace crowd. It isn’t until Dinosaur Jr.’s indie rock anthem Freak Scene that the crowd finally awaken from their early evening daze. The opening track of the seminal 1988 album Bug is at its roaring best and attracts a humble cheer. The group’s unity and impeccable timing is apparent through They Always Come. J Mascis’ industrious whammy bar work certainly puts the reclusive Guitar Hero player to shame. This paired with Lou Barlow’s resonant bass guitar is evidence that their flaky relationship of the past is surely a distant memory. Oh and the drummer Murph’s not too bad either!
For the rest of the set Ally Pally is treated to Mascis’ acidic whirls of feedback. Onomatopoeic words would do no justice to the sheer volume of sounds the alternative rock veterans can still produce. With the stage emblazed in red light, the final track Don’t concludes the album with distorted screeches and Barlow’s screams of “why don’t you like me”? Ringing in your ears couldn’t be more satisfying!
In typical Flaming Lips fashion frontman Wayne Coyne opens The Soft Bulletin in his trademark crowd surfing friendly human hamster ball. Confetti, balloons, colourful naked women animations, a clip from The Teletubbies, you name it we’ve got it. This introduction’s as emphatic as you can get. Race To The Prize and A Spoonful Weighs A Ton are passionately echoed word by word around the iconic Victorian venue and the semicircular screen’s colourful visuals compliment The Spark That Bled the most.
Despite the charm of Waitin’ For A Superman the level of energy from the dramatic opening gradually diminishes. This is of no fault of the band but more of a criticism of the general format of the album show for this beautifully collaged album. The change in atmosphere undoubtedly has an effect on Coyne who becomes apprehensive before performing Feeling Yourself Disintegrate. He delivers this underrated track with immense feeling and passion. Following the calming instrumental track Sleeping On The Roof Oklahoma’s finest songsmiths return from the encore with the euphoric Do You Realize??. Rapturous, full of beauty, it’s a memorable ending for a memorable band.