Echo, Black Keys highlight APW day 3

3 08 2009

By Jill Menze (@jillmenze)

Music fans rest in the mud at All Points West; photo by Jill Menze

Music fans rest in the mud at All Points West; photo by Jill Menze

Somehow I managed to walk out of the final day at All Points West muddier than I did after spending a week camping at Bonnaroo. Which is quite the accomplishment, I must say, but truly Jersey City’s Liberty State Park had transformed into one giant, smelly, sinking mud pit that was almost impossible to navigate after a downpour finished off the festival grounds earlier in the day.

But the early day rain showers weren’t enough to cancel the event, and although entrance to the festival was delayed, things quickly got back on schedule once the skies cleared later in the afternoon (although Steel Train and the Gaslight Anthem were both knocked from the lineup. Bummer).

I opted (smartly) to wait out the rain in Brooklyn rather than bust my ass to get there early, so the first set I caught of the day was Elbow. The Manchester, England group’s lush dream pop has been a personal headphone favorite of mine for years now, but I’d heard fantastic things about their live show, and the band exceeded expectations. There’s a spellbinding beauty to the voice of frontman Guy Garvey, and to boot, he was one of the most charismatic stage presences I’d seen at the fest, chatting and joking with the crowd all throughout the set. A four-trumpet burst livened up “Starling,” while the rich orchestral layerings of songs like “Weather to Fly” and the revved-up bass driving “Grounds For Divorce” were enough to hold fans’ attention away from the mud-covered kids playing in puddles off to the side.

Echo & the Bunnymen at All Points West; photo by Jill Menze

Echo & the Bunnymen at All Points West; photo by Jill Menze

The dark, brooding post-punk of Echo & the Bunnymen was just the right kick following Elbow, and although most of the crowd went bonkers for “The Killing Moon” from one of the Top Movies I Hate “Donnie Darko,” I loved seeing the family of four in front of me try and convince everyone around them that songs like “Villiers Terrace” and “The Cutter” “Really are the best. No, really, listen, you’ll love it, I swear!”

The Black Keys at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

The Black Keys at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Speaking of kick, Akron, Ohio’s The Black Keys kicked the shit out of some straight up rock ‘n’ roll to a huge gathering crowd (most of whom were waiting on Coldplay and peaced after a bit. But hey, at least they were there for a while). If ever I had the urge to stomp about in mud puddles, it was during songs like “Stack Shot Billy,” “Busted” and “Strange Times.” Although the band is no more than the duo of guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, the combo creates blistering, foot-stomping blues rock that sounds 100x its size.

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

Coldplay at All Points West; photo by Jillian Mapes

I managed to make it through mainstage headliner Coldplay long enough to eat half a burrito before reluctantly making my way over to the MGMT. Apparently the group played uber-uber-popular single “Kids” at the beginning of its set, which anyone over at Coldplay failed to realize. So once the band wrapped up with a new song off its forthcoming sophomore effort, nobody left under the impressoin the best was yet to come. MGMT hesitantly returned to play the song a second time, this time doing little more than laughing into a mic while the backing track played. Elated fans had no idea what the hell was going on, dancing the night away as if it was the best performance of the weekend. Pretty funny and pathetic, actually.

With that, All Points West came to an end. It’s been fun, it’s been muddy, but mostly it’s been fun. See you next year!

SEE MORE PICS FROM ALL POINTS WEST DAY 3 BY CLICKING HERE.

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