Look at me, I made a blog

August 4, 2009

All Points West 2009 - Day 1

via Apostrophe Media

After last year's experience at All Points West, I was fairly certain that I would never go back. Aside from the headlining Radiohead, I had a long list of gripes with All Points West. As luck would have it, I found myself with a pass for Friday and an opportunity to see Jay-Z, who replaced Beastie Boys as the day's headliner. I made the decision to go, one I'm not sure I would have made in retrospect.

The clouds reveal what is to come

Learning from the NJ Transit debacle last year, I opted to shell out for a one-day roundtrip ferry ticket. Was it worth the hefty price tag? For one day, yes. I wouldn't pay for 3-day ferry transportation, but I would definitely recommend it for one day or even a return one-way ticket. I arrived around noon, and departed about 5-10 min later. Getting back to Manhattan from Liberty State Park wasn't too bad either. The ferry really should be a complimentary service or significantly subsidized to ~$5.

What is this? Burning Man?

The doors opened well past the designated time of noon, and I spent some time wandering around the grounds once I got in. There were more concession stands and beer gardens this year, which was good news since I would inevitably be forced to buy something to eat. To my shock, I couldn't find any of the water fountains to fill up my APW-approved Nalgene bottle. After walking around in circles with my worthless APW map, I gave up and shelled out $2 for a bottle of water. Did anyone locate the fountains??

I caught the very end of The Knux, a hip-hop duo originally from New Orleans. Next up was Seasick Steve, a one-man blues act who played a variety of different stringed instruments, including a cigar box guitar. An unbelievable guitarist, Seasick Steve sings about his real life experiences in such a rarely blunt and genuine way. For me, the most memorable song was about his abusive stepfather and how Steve had run away from home instead of shooting his assailant.

It's no secret that Fleet Foxes is much loved by Made a Blog, and this performance was unforgettable like all the rest. As the boys set up onstage, the winds started to pick up, a sign that severe weather was on its way. Like they always do, they opened with "Sun Giant" into "Sun It Rises." And, every single time without fail, they send shivers down my back. Rain started to fall during the Fleet Foxes' set, but there was something fitting about bobbing along to "Ragged Wood" in a little precipitation. Unfortunately, my tolerance for the rain did not last long. Fleet Foxes played a new song, one I didn't recognize, but it basically had all the elements that we've come to expect from Fleet Foxes like the mandolin, beautiful harmonies, and a memorable melody. I think they may have sung "wooden hand" a few times, so I'm going to assume that it's the name of the song. Correction: They were actually singing "What in hand" and the name of the song is "Bedouin Dress." Thanks, L.!

Sun Giant/Sun It Rises
Drops in the River
English House
New Song (Possibly called "Wooden Hand?") Bedouin Dress
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
Your Protector
Blue Ridge Mountains

via Apostrophe Media

The National is another consistently good band that always delivers what the audience wants. They kicked off with "Start a War," one of my favorite songs and a most appropriate opener. Unfortunately, the rain became unbearable during their set. The park was getting muddy, the wind was cold, and I almost left to go home. I stuck around for half of The National's set before I sought shelter in an ATM tent.

via Apostrophe Media

I emerged from the ATM tent as Vampire Weekend hit the main stage. They started with "White Sky," a song that Ezra referred to as being "a new one." I didn't realize that a song could still be new if the band had been playing it since January 2008. However, Vampire Weekend did play a real new song in the middle of their set. I don't really remember much about it other than that it was also characteristically VW-style fun. All in all, it was like every other Vampire Weekend show I've seen. Ezra has become a more comfortable frontman over the years, albeit he has some difficulty stringing words together to form coherent sentences. Seeing as he studied English and that we share the same alma mater, I find this to be a bit embarrassing.

via Apostrophe Media

By the time the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the stage, the rain had subsided. People rejoiced by slipping, sliding, and dancing in the mud. I'm not the biggest fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but Karen O is an amazing lead singer and she knows how to command a large audience. The large inflatable eyeballs that they sent flying into the crowd reminded me of the theatrics of the Flaming Lips show at Pitchfork. I wish I hadn't seen the band on this particular day and setting, because all I could think about at this point was seeing Jay-Z so that I could go home and sit down.

via Apostrophe Media

When it was announced that Jay-Z would be replacing the Beastie Boys at APW, I almost regretted not planning to go. Well, the stars aligned and I ended up with a ticket. As much as I hated being wet and muddy and standing up for nearly 7 hours straight, Jay-Z made me forget about all these things. When his 10-minute counter went down to zero, Jay-Z emerged onstage and immediately went into a cover of Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn." And then, he performed everything I wanted to hear, including some new tunes. "D.O.A." "Beware (ft. Punjabi MC)." "My President is Black (Remix)." "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." The crowd yelled out most of the first verse of "Can I Get A..." Jay-Z seemed like a music festival pro, playing some new songs and doing medleys of his many hits, even "Numb/Encore (with Linkin Park)." Incredible.

My misery at All Points West was mostly attributed to the terrible weather and mud, but I still wouldn't choose to go to this festival on my own dime. It's absurdly expensive, and I was pretty pissed that I couldn't find the water fountain that was supposed to be closest to the main stage. Getting there and back is painful (PATH + NJ Transit), especially the return trip to NY. The ferry is awesome, but expensive. That said, if Daft Punk were to headline APW, I would be there in a second.


risa on August 4, 2009 at 12:51 PM said...

Yeah, I was debating going to APW this year, but without Radiohead, I decided I'd be better off seeing the bands I like at their own shows...especially when they're playing indoors during bad weather!

Joseph on August 4, 2009 at 2:44 PM said...

I kinda enjoyed the rain and mud, it kept me moving to keep warm.

Didn't see the water fountains either but heard the H&M Lounge was giving away free bottled water.

My biggest beef was nine dollars for low-grade IPA. Agree the ferry should be much cheaper but at least it was efficient.

Loooved Fleet Foxes.

mimi on August 4, 2009 at 3:48 PM said...

Risa - I think I'd prefer to see one band at a time instead of this festival marathon.

Joseph - Were you there all three days? $9 for a beer, what the hell. I agree, I thought the ferry was pretty efficient. The ferry I took there was pretty empty, too. Yea, I heard the H&M tent was giving away free water but it wasn't open when I passed by and they closed it after it started to rain.

Joseph on August 4, 2009 at 6:06 PM said...

Also, the pizza in the beer garden was $6 a slice. I don't know about the rest of the food.

I only went on Friday. Considered going on Saturday since it was free just to see St. Vincent and Chairlift. But I was too tired and wanted to save energy for the Dan Deacon Deerhunter show which I missed anyways.

mimi on August 4, 2009 at 6:08 PM said...

Cheese pizza was $5 a slice outside of the beer garden.

Me too, I wanted to go to that Dan Deacon/Deerhunter show. Never made it...

canvas picture on January 30, 2012 at 8:06 AM said...

Awesome post, some great reviews there thanks a lot and sounds like you had a brilliant time.

Copyright © 2007-2010 Look at me, I made a blog