All Points West day one: mud, mud, more mud

1 08 2009

By Jill Menze (@jillmenze)

The National at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

The National at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

OK first off — I have never, ever encountered a festival crew more clueless than the staff at this year’s All Points West. Upon arrival at New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, not one single person knew the correct answer to anything.”Where’s the media area?” “I don’t know.” “Where can I buy a poncho?” “I don’t know.” “Is it raining (amid obvious downpour)?” “I don’t know.” We’re lucky we got anything accomplished yesterday, period. But I do digress ….

Day one at All Points West was muddy, rainy, and then muddy some more, but started out innocent enough. Dayton, Ohio’s Heartless Bastards was one of the few groups fortunate enough to play to a sun-drenched crowd, offering a lively, blues-tinged set almost loud enough to drown out the Knux playing at the next stage over.

Once the rain set in, ponchos were few and far between, and anyone with an umbrella standing in the crowd automatically received death threats (sorry, to everyone standing behind me!), but that was no stop for the National. Singer Matt Berninger said “f*ck you” to the rain not once, but twice, bringing his mic out under the downpour and playing in the crowd. Flanked by a trumpet, trombone and violin, the group delivered a tight, hits-filled set with such pleasers as “Mr. November,” “Slow Show,” “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Start a War.”

Rain continued through Vampire Weekend (which I skipped because a) I don’t like them and b) I was on a mission to make SOMEONE on staff find me a nonexistent poncho), but cleared up in time for New York’s own Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Singer Karen O admitted the band had a lot of local friends and family in the audience, but she still kept flubbing and calling the audience “New York” as opposed to “New Jersey” (can you blame her?). Songs from this years excellent “It’s Blitz” like the synth-heavy “Heads Will Roll” and “Zero” translated nicely in the outdoor venue, while guitarist Nick Zinner tore up the likes of “Turn Into,” and obvious crowd favorite “Maps” encouraged a wet and muddy sing-a-long. If ever there was a modern rock star, it’s Karen O. She fully commanded the stage, dancing around with her face covered in muti-colored tights. The end saw her completely destroy her pink microphone, bashing it against the stage and jumping on top of it. In my second life, I’d very much like to be her.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

I had to skip Jay-Z to make it to a going away party on time, but by that point, I’d had enough mud anyway. Today we’re gearing up for Trail of Dead, Arctic Monkeys, My Bloody Valentine (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Neko Case and so much more. And it’s not raining! (For now.) Stay tuned …





One response

2 08 2009
My Bloody Valentine pulverizes All Points West day two « 2009 Festival Season

[…] while day one at All Points West was a rainy, muddy mess (but we still had fun!), day two was just, well, a muddy mess, but at least […]

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