Sunday, September 13, 2009

All Tomorrow's Parties & the Bearsville Theater

This weekend, I was able to go as a guest to the first day of All Tomorrow's Parties in Monticello, New York. Of course, it just had to rain that day. When we got there, it was quite cold and nasty and we had to wander around for a bit and be directed to several different places in order to check in as guests. After we got settled, we walked into the venue (Kutsher's) which is a "resort." It was old, weird, smelly, labyrinthine and extremely creepy. It basically looked like the hotel in The Shining, but not as nice. In other words, it was a dump. Also, there was royal blue carpet on the wall in some places.

I was able to see a bit of the Drones', Suicide's, and Panda Bear's sets, but I only watched the Feelies' and Iron & Wine's performances in full. The Stardust Ballroom in Kutshers made the sound very rumble-y. This made the bass shake the room in such a way that you felt it, and it wasn't pleasant. That's why I only watched one song by Suicide and a few by Panda Bear. I put my lens cap down on a ledge during Suicide's set, and it vibrated off the ledge and I lost it: that's how bad the rumbling was. I must admit though, I don't actually like Suicide's music, but I figured I'd never get a chance to see them again and I kind of like the idea of them. So I went in fo their first song, and they made me laugh. Think about it: two old guys: one with Bozo the Clown hair wearing iridescent goggles and playing a heavily distorted synthesizer, and the other an even older man (I believe he's 70 or 71) yelling into a microphone. They actually made my brother angry. He kept saying, "That's not music!" But I think that's kind of the idea. I guess it was worth my lens cap to be able to say that I saw Suicide.

As for the Drones, they were ok. Panda Bear was good, but could have put on a more visually interesting show, but I guess seeing Black Moth Super Rainbow live has made me a bit jaded on this subject, because their shows are so visually stimulated, you kinda feel like you're high.

The Feelies (and, I assume, most of the bands that played earlier) were not allowed a soundcheck either. However, they sounded as good as possible in that place and played well (as always). They played the newly re-issued Crazy Rhythms in it's entirety and were able to get two encores in, probably because Crazy Rhythms is so short. I really wished that they had played the also newly re-issued The Good Earth, because I like it better, but it was easier for them to ply Crazy Rhythms because Bill didn't have to do as many guitar changes.

After the Feelies' set, my mom, brother, and I ate. The food was actually pretty good. We all had wraps and sesame noodles. Unfortunately, since the food was outside, it was quite uncomfortable to eat there.

We pretty much waited around until Iron and Wine came on. In between, we caught a half hour or so of Gimme Shelter, which I'd never seen before and has re-awakened my love for the Rolling Stones. We had to leave at 10:15, though, in order to make it to the performances we wanted to see.

My mom and brother went to see Eugene Mirman, played the landlord on Flight of the Conchords, and David Cross, who was on Arrested Development. They said Mirman was hilarious, and Cross was good, but not as good as Mirman. I'm glad my brother was able to enjoy something other than the Feelies, though. He was pretty angry at having to be at what amounted to a hipster convention. He kept saying how he hated being amongst the hipsters. For the record though, they kinda smelled. Like musty-unwashed-clothes-greasy-hair-cigarette-and-booze-ish.

Iron and Wine was amazing. I've never been so moved by live music, and I was so close. I could not stop smiling. Apparently, the dude who was there taking pictures for noticed that. Hence, my picture wound up on the site in this entry. There was another guy there with a Hitler-Youth-ish haircut standing right in front of me taking pictures of me also, but I can't seem to find those online. Anyway, so I've loved Iron and Wine's music for years now, and it was just so beautiful, not to mention a relief from the very... harsh music that I had heard earlier. It was just Sam Beam with his acoustic guitar. Someone blew balloons with song suggestions on them too. Sam Beam talked to the audience a lot too. He got us all singing along to everything, and we even clapped the beat to an entire song without stopping. I've never seen that happen at a show. That set was sooooo worth staying at that creepy place a few extra hours for.

One last thought on that day, I'm VERY glad we didn't see the Jesus Lizard, it would've been exhausting and apparently they kept saying "Happy 9/11!" which I find to be... quite unpleasant.

The next day, we had a completely different experience. My mom, my brother, and I wandered around Woodstock for the day, which was really cool. We got to the Bearsville Theater in late afternoon. Let me tell you, this place is BEAUTIFUL. The interior is all hard wood and it smelled nice. There was a sizeable green room, with nice couches and a table, these crazy spiral staircases, and it was in the middle of this clearing with a fountain and stone benches. Albert Grossman's even buried there. Anyway, I pretty much hung out with my family and Cala, Glenn's daughter most of the time. We ate at this cute and nice Chinese restaurant called the Little Bear. Also, it was just so chill there. I wish all the places they played at were like the Bearsville Theater.

One highlight of the day was listening to Dave tell stories and stuff right before the show. He told us that where he works, he's supposed to greet customers, and sometimes he does it in a Cockney accent. He demonstrated and we were all laughing.

The show was also a lot better than the night before. They played their usual lineup, and had four encores. The crowd was good too, and there weren't really any skeevy people either.

Anyway, it was a great vacation. There should be a few more Feelies shows coming up in November too.

Pictures from ATP & Bearsville:

The Drones
The movie lineup for the day
The crowd for Suicide
The Feelies

I couldn't take a picture of Dave, cause he was blocked by an amp, but I got a picture of his and my dad's shadows.Iron and Wine
Where we ate dinner in Bearsville

Pretty lanterns at the Bearsville Theater

The stairs

The doorsAlbert Grossman's Grave