ATP’s second annual Halloween bash makes a welcome return to London this evening, with a mixed line-up and even more mixed results.
First on the bill by necessity rather than repute, Lightning Bolt‘s legendary ‘stage’ presence is felt as soon as the early queuers enter the Kentish Town Forum’s main arena, with nothing but a drum kit and several huge bass amplifiers set up on the floor on front of the raised stage. Drummer Brian Chippendale (dressed as a sort of phallic Spongebob Squarepants) and bassist Brian Gibson (dressed as, seemingly, a robot stegosaurus) lend the assembled the benefit of their experience and are reassuringly terrifying. They pause only to fiddle with equipment, and happily spend most of the time totally wailing – Chippendale from a microphone stuck to his face, Gibson from the only melodic interest of his bass. Also, check out the drumstick wounds on Chippendale’s leg from TOO MUCH ROCK.
Pissed Jeans and Wooden Shjips pass in the night…
Les Savy Fav (above), however, are keen to have fun. It’s a continually attainable rebellion that they present – not quite bludgeoning enough to go down in history, but fun enough to be a talking point for some time. It’s almost certainly not their intention to be anything more than that, and they clearly are having insane fun being dressed as zombie policemen. Tim Harrington tries to get into trouble with security and jumps around while slapping himself (covered in blood), and it’s quite a success.
Taking the dressing-up high watermark to a whole new level are Shellac, with Steve Albini’s mummy costume being very surprising indeed. Furthermore, Bob Weston’s consistent maintenance of his Frankenstein’s monster character extends to hilariously groaning throughout songs and silences. Shellac, it seems, are another band having a tremendous time this evening. They are still Shellac, though, so the order of the day is telepathic musical interaction and the victorious loser’s anthem Prayer To God being chanted very loudly by the crowd. It’s exemplary stuff, even if the frivolity of the occasion makes for a confusingly fun and dark evening on the whole.