EDITOR’S NOTE: Phawker concert reviewer dynamic duo Kylee Messner and Dianca Potts will be sending in live first person dispatches from APW all weekend.
KYLEE: It was our second day at All Points West, and it seemed like the festival, much like the weather, had a much sunnier disposition. Festival goers still seemed to be enjoying the previous night’s mud, sinking into the ground like quicksand. Kool Keith’s “Girl Let Me Touch You” could be heard from the main stage, much to the delight of fans sporting as little clothing as possible. “We can’t stop, can’t stop yet,” KK told the crowd, before playing two more songs. Trekking through the dampened mud and grass, we made our rounds across the grounds, picking up free handouts of food whenever we could spot it. Chairlift was the first act we had anticipated seeing of the day, though our hearts were set on performances by My Bloody Valentine and Crystal Castles. As we approached the stage, I was met by an angry mother. “We’ve been here since 1 o’clock, there is absolutely no way you are standing in front of us.” I smiled politely, explaining I would only be there for a couple of songs. “Two is a lot, look at my son,” the mother cried. I took one look at her son’s braces, and moved myself to another area. Killing time, I glanced around at the faces around me. Entourage’s very own Adrienne Grenier was there signing autographs for girls who claimed to be his second cousin, thanking fans for watching his show with The Honey Brothers, who had just left the stage.
After the swooning over Grenier commenced, Chairlift took the stage. The band opened with “Sensual Seduction,” a hit played on MTV for the past two years by Snoop Dogg. I feared the angry mother I encountered earlier would be mortified by the song’s questionable content. No one seemed to mind, however, as Caroline Polachek [PICTURED, BOTTOM LEFT], the band’s lead, brought a whole new element to the song, stripping away the lyrical content with her whimsical vocals. Sporting a classic black dress and impeccable leg tattoos, Polacheck appeared the classiest of her band mates, with her counterparts, Aaron Pfenning sporting orange oversized MC Hammer pants and Patrick Wimberly, appropriately adorned in a vintage Michael Jackson t-shirt. The crowd was young, give or take a few hipsters and mothers, there was an entire row of retainers before me. How did this electric pop band gather such a young following? With a combination of Polacheck’s swooning vocals and Wimberly’s quick chops, there was nothing immature about this band’s performance. (Not one song off a kiddie soundtrack.) I got a feeling a lot of fans were there to hear the famous “Bruises,” you know, that song from the iPod commercial about the girl trying to do handstands for her boyfriend. (Or something like that.) “Bruises” was just one among several tracks the band played from their album Does You Inspire You, also including “Evident Utensil” and “Territory,” with the famous cowbell making the occasional appearance. In tune with the band’s “Make Up Your Mind,” the crowd (no matter how young or old they may have been) was strengthened in large numbers for this indie pop sensation.
DIANCA: Following Chairlift’s exit, Kylee and I parted ways. Remaining at the Queen of the Valley, my partner in crime embarked on a muddy trek towards the Blue Comet for Dublin shoe gazers My Bloody Valentine. Nestled beside pockets of teenagers, moms, and dads, I stood amidst the crowd feeling impatient and slightly indifferent towards Tokyo Police Club‘s entrance and up beat opener “Nature of the Experiment.” The Canadian quartet smiled wide at their eager audience, who in return cheered and clapped, yelling out each band member’s name in hopes of catching their attention. Their set, which felt close to eternal, included numbers pre and post their Saddle Creek debut. Churning things up with “Cheer It On,” Tokyo Police Club’s energized delivery got the crowd moving, inspiring their adolescent super fans to jump up and down and dance like drunks at a wedding. Elephant Shell’s “Juno” was endearing and clean cut while David Monk, the band’s bassist and lead, swaggered across the stage with knobby knees and greasy hair. By the latter half of their performance, I was so star struck by the promise of seeing Crystal Castles that “Nursery, Academy” and “Your English Is Good” felt like punishment. Thankfully, their set ended giving way to Alice Glass and her DJ sidekick Ethan Kath.
Though I still had a bit of time before My Bloody Valentine’s set, I made my journey towards the main stage, where Jay-Z had played just one night prior. It was just a couple of years ago that I had first heard My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, a record every guy I’ve ever met has labeled the best album of the generations. (Though I always found this strange, seeing as they were still riding training wheels when the record was released in 1991.) It wouldn’t be the last time I would hear tracks off that record, a soundtrack to my early college years’ failed romances. Needless to say, the news of My Bloody Valentine’s set at All Points West was well received. The show brought out a variety of fans, ranging from die-hards to the newly acquired. (Courtney Love even whisked by on a golf cart.) The festival lawns were covered with bodies; I was reminded of a zombie apocalypse. “What are they some kind of screamo band,” one photographer asked. “No,” one of the crowd members answered, “But you might want some ear plugs. They’re going to make your ears bleed.” With a mob of over thirty photographers, you would think someone would have clued this guy in. The crowd went into an uproar as Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher [PICTURED, ABOVE RIGHT] walked across the stage, Butcher, classy as ever in a red dress, and Shields, dressed in blue from head to toe. MBV opened up with “When You Sleep” and “I Only Said,” two tracks off the critically acclaimed Loveless, comprised of guitar slides and a heavy pounding drum and bass combination. It didn’t matter to fans that Kevin Shield’s vocals were barely audible, the feedback blaring over the instrumentals—simply put, this was the My Bloody Valentine they knew and loved. After their set, it was time for me to race myself back to the other end of the park for Crystal Castles.
Toronto’s electronic duo Crystal Castles took the stage with strobe lights, a batman blowup doll, and lots of smoke while fans inched closer to the stage, screaming “Alice Glass.” Dressed in gray and black, Glass [PICTURED, VERY TOP] crept across the stage with a microphone in her left hand and a strobe light in her right. Their electrified entrance was unfortunately marred by spotty vocals due to a microphone malfunction, leaving Glass’ voice inaudible over the pounding bass and pure synth madness churned out by Kath. Drenched in sweat, I nearly lost my Ray Bans when the blips of “Crimewave” rang out from the stage. Glass, slam dancing across the stage teased the crowd by nearing the stage’s staircase inches away from fans outstretched grasping hands. “Alice Practice” felt like an indie techno assault — robotic, fantastic and unrelenting. Standing on a drum kit, Glass stomped along, later leaving her elevated locale in favor of joining the crowd. Practically crowd surfing, Glass screamed out “Through the Hosiery,” during which, I got to hold her hand. The rest of their set (for me) was a blur of complete bliss making me wish they’d play Philly more often instead of Brooklyn and that Crystal Castles is pretty much my favorite band.
The last act of the evening (much to our dismay) was the Ting Tings. I had first heard of the Ting Tings from Perez Hilton about a year ago, and from that moment on I never wanted to hear them again. Katie White’s high pitched vocals were a bit too much or me, though I could relate to “That’s Not My Name” rather well, seeing as people have been spelling and pronouncing my name wrong simultaneously for years. Still, we figured we’d brave a few songs, though the whole time we were hoping someone would “shut up and let us go.” After about two songs of overpowering and feedback and questions of, “Is that a local band,” we decided we had enough. Sorry Ting Tings, you’re just not our thing.