If you’re anything like me, when you first heard that All Tomorrow’s Parties was coming to Australia, you had to make a run for a change of pants.
Headlined by none other than our very own Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the line-up held a mixture of old favourites such as The Saints and The Dirty Three (if you made it to Mt Buller) as well as relatively unheard of powerhouses like red dressed and crazy Japanese duo Afrirampo and Washington based psychedelic blues boys Dead Meadow.
Line-up aside, the sites themselves were beyond amazing. At Mt Buller, with the stages set across the beginner mountain, you could catch a chairlift from the side stage to the main stage, there were more than a few actual bars to choose from as well as the festival drink tents and best of all the restaurants were open. At what other festival could you walk five minutes from seeing Harmonia, straight into a 5 star eatery ready to shovel down some Wagyu beef carpaccio on top of a few Manhattans.
Cockatoo Island, while lacking the resort feel of Mt Buller, made up for the lack of bars, eateries and chairlifts with sheer industrial badassness. Watching the severely strange Silver Apples play mind bending music in the cavernous turbine hall as lights lit up the roof one could not help feeling like you were in some shut-in’s idea of the future, while watching the sun set over the harbour you knew you were no where else but Sydney.
The highlights of the festival were bounteous and plentiful. The Dirty Three were spine meltingly good, with Warren Ellis jumping and kicking his way across stage as the rest of the band, including Nick Cave who joined them on piano followed along in trance like brilliance.
Afrirampo delighted audiences with their crazy antics including but not limited to: a drum solo where they ran around stage playing everything they could find with Eucalyptus twigs and not to forget drummer Pickachu coming on stage with a cut out of Nick Caves face telling us all that ‘I elove Afrirampo, do eyou elike mye sexy moostach?”
The Saints brought more than a few tears to the eyes of eager fans. It was a common site during their sets to see burly men in their forties dancing around like teenagers in a mosh pit, only stopping to apologise to their wives for knocking over the thermos.
However, despite the best efforts of all the other bands, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds were the undoubted peak of the festival.
Delivering a set rife with classics such as The Weeping Song and Red Right Hand, Mr. Cave strutted around the stage with the presence of a Baptist preacher mid sermon, while Warren Ellis in all his bearded glory jumped from instrument to instrument, even playing his mando-caster (a mix between a mandolin and fender telecaster) with his foot.
The festival was amazing. Well organised, great sound and sphyncter splintering acts. But why use words when we have photos?