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All Tomorrow's Parties Reviewed: All Hail Matt Groening
The Quietus , May 17th, 2010 06:23

Luke Turner and John Doran raise a glass to Matt Groening and Barry and Deborah at ATP for one of the most enjoyably eclectic festival line-ups they've ever witnessed. All photos by Maria Jefferis, Andy Ennis and Edd Westmacott for Shot2Bits.net

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It's uncanny how much Matt Groening looks like one of his own cartoons. He sits gamely at the merch table signing everything that is handed to him on two of the festival's three days. He knocks out sketches of punters, he draws bands that he has selected to play, he scribbles out likeness of people's favourite Simpsons' characters - from Bart to the weird Mexican guy who dresses like a bumble bee. And the queue to get to see him is massive. There hasn't been this much fuss at the ATP merch stall since there was a mini-riot over SunnO))) T-shirts and they had to erect a barrier to keep baying art metal fans from tearing each other limb from limb.

Much has been made of the fact that the aimiable cartoonist is a WIRE subscriber... and this is borne out by the fact that he chooses the simply astounding Broadcast to open his choice of bands and also includes recent cover stars, Konono No. 1. But what really marks him out as one of the best curators the festival has ever had - and he deserves to be talked about in the same hushed terms as Autechre and Portishead - is the sheer breadth of life-enhancing riches on offer. From clanging Congolese finger piano rave to amped up kora blues to multi-drummer rhythm & psych to soul saving gospel rock to R & B influenced minimalist post punk pop, this festival had it all.

And it might be a glib statement to say that the avant garde is only worthwhile if you can drink beer to it, take drugs to it or dance to it, but for us at least, there's more than a fraction of truth to this. And in the case of Toumani Diabate, The xx, Liars, The Boredoms and Broadcast - notionally at the very least - all three statements are most definitely correct.

Recent festivals and concerts have totally reinvigorated the ATP aesthetic and this is something that should be celebrated. For purely personal reasons I will always love ATP... it was where I fell in love with my girlfriend, to the sound of 'our' song, 'Stabbed In The Face' by Wolf Eyes, it was where I was first exposed to my favourite rock group SunnO))), it was where I first saw the mighty Liars, where I saw almost indescribably brilliant sets by The Fall, Public Enemy, Sleep, Electric Wizard, Psychic TV, Jesus Lizard, Aphex Twin, Mars Volta, Lightning Bolt... there are too many to recount here.

So a happy belated tenth birthday to ATP and here's to another decade of fearlessly connecting with brilliant music of all stripes.

John Doran

Click the first picture below to read our review of Matt Groening's ATP

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rich
May 17, 2010 12:09pm

Spiritualized...
"This and other gigs by Grinderman, Amadou and Mariam, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Silver Mount Zion and Oneida have proved that getting a face melting sound in such a bizarrely shaped room is not impossible."

Bang on... stupidly excellent and one fo the best ATP's I have been to for a long time in so so many ways

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mich
May 17, 2010 3:08pm

the picture of Wes Eishold isn't Wes Eishold, it's Dominic Fernow of Cold Cave (indeed the guy from Prurient!)

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John Doran
May 17, 2010 3:49pm

In reply to mich:

Noted and changed thanks Mich.

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John Doran
May 18, 2010 11:05am

Also, apologies to Wesley for suggesting that he ghost wrote songs for Fall Out Boy. Rather they credited him as an 'inspirador' after 'leaning' heavily on what he had already written.

This still doesn't alter the fact that he hasn't shaken off his emo past.

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Michael
May 20, 2010 7:47am

Re: The Residents in The Simpsons - they've never been fully featured, but there have been a number of subtle references (such as the winged eyeball from the Freak Show cover appearing in an antique shop).

Excellent review here, thanks for it! I loved the entire festival.

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Vincent Nifigance
May 20, 2010 9:10pm

In reply to Michael:

Nope, no Residents references in The Simpsons. The winged eyeball could have been a Daniel Johnston 'Fly Eye' reference - him being another Groening favourite.

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