My Bloody Valentine pulverizes All Points West day two

2 08 2009

By Jill Menze (@jillmenze)

My Bloody Valentine at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

My Bloody Valentine at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

So 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 this time I walked out with the bonus of a nicer tan (hey-o!). Yes, New Jersey’s Liberty State Park was full of bright sunshine as many a music fan, Tool-shirted and otherwise, crowded the island for day two of the event.

I spent most of my day anxiously counting down to my first-ever live performance from shoegaze gods My Bloody Valentine, but fortunately there was plenty with which to pass the time. Early up was Austin, Texas, rockers … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, whom I missed last weekend at the Williamsburg Pool Party. Despite a full-on wipe out from the keyboardist, who fell on his back straight from the stage to the photo pit, before the set, the group was wound up and fierce, powering through hits off the group’s latest offering, “The Century of Self,” like “Far Pavilions” and the two-drummer backed “Isis Unveiled” as well as old goodies like the pummeling “It Was There That I Saw You” from 1999’s “Source Tags & Codes.”

Frontman Conrad Keely was especially worked up, at one point making me stop and think “It looks like he’s going to break something,” before, well, guess what! He broke something. After pounding on the keyboard too hard during “Bells of Creation,” the whole setup collapsed, but luckily it was nothing a little duct tape couldn’t fix.

Trail of Deads Jason Reece performing in the All Points West crowd; photo by Jillian Mapes

Trail of Dead's Jason Reece performing in the All Points West crowd; photo by Jillian Mapes

Later on in the afternoon the Cool Kids sounded like they were rhyming the exact same song for more than an hour before Sheffield, England’s Arctic Monkeys took to the main stage to shake things up. The jagged guitar lines of “Brainstorm” and poppy fun of “Fluorescent Adolescent” off the group’s sophomore release, “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” were paired with a select couple songs from the group’s 2006 debut, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” like “The View from the Afternoon” and crowd-pleaser “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.” The band also previewed a few new songs from its forthcoming, Josh Homme-produced “Humbug” like “Potion Approaching” and the psychedellic-tinged “Crying Lightening.”

Arctic Monkeys at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Arctic Monkeys at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Early in the evening saw fire-haired songstress Neko Case and her very talkative backup singer usher in the sunset with calming folk tunes like “People Got A Lotta Nerv,” “The Tigers Have Spoken” and “This Tornado Loves You.”

Irish legends My Bloody Valentine took the main stage at exactly 8:15 p.m. and delivered a powerful, deafening set that seemingly shook the festival grounds and concertgoers to their core. Any vocals or harmonies from Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher were completely lost in the mix as effects and drone smothered the crowd to an almost paralyzing degree. The obliteration was met with both cheers and middle finger-throwing Tool fans, but suffice it to say, it was an experience to all involved. A friend summed up the show as “sexy ear noise” and I couldn’t agree more.

Tool at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Tool at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Metal act Tool was loud in a non-sexy way, had obnoxious fans, and after getting stuck backstage with two 19-year-old security guards and a long-time worker with Maynard James Keenan, I couldn’t leave fast enough. We got a few pics, though, so those will have to do.

The third and final day is about to kick off, and, sigh, it’s already raining, but we’re still headed out to catch the likes of Akron/Family, The Black Keys, um, Coldplay, and MGMT. This time I’ll be prepared by not wearing nice shoes, not straightening my  hair, and definitely purchasing a poncho. Here we go!





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