Once a year the music geek Illuminati meet in their secret headquarters tucked deep in the Catskill Mountains of New York to revel in an orgy of booze, obscure band t-shirts, and unbelievable live music performances by the best-of-the-best in underground music past and present. They call their yearly gathering All Tomorrow’s Parties New York (ATP NY); this weekend the Catskills played host to the third such meeting of the music-minded with a phenomenal three day festival that is really unlike any other. Only at ATP NY could I be dancing at 2AM on a Sunday in a microscopic hotel lounge to the live DJ skills of Kool Herc (the undisputed father of Hip-Hop), spot Jim Jarmusch and GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan across the room, and get high-fived by a group of complete strangers because I am wearing a t-shirt for the obscure noise-rock band The God Bullies. For a music geek the trip to ATP NY is a pilgrimage that must be made at least once before you die. This weekend was my second time attending this spectacular celebration of live music and the international music-geek community.* It was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable weekends of live music I’ve ever had.
Each year ATP NY opens with an evening of full album sets as part of their Don’t Look Back series.** This year’s festival opened with the ridiculous Friday night line-up of The Scientists, Mudhoney, Iggy & The Stooges, and Sleep. Each would perform at the highest level and raise the bar for the band to follow. After watching the legendary Australian post-punk rockers The Scientists play their first ever US-show, Mudhoney time-warp us all back to the dirty and dangerous Grunge emergence, and The Stooges whip the crowd into a sweaty inferno fueled by their own mashed human bodies, Sleep emerged to crush us with two-hours of ultra-heavy stoner-doom metal. How any of us survived the first night to continue rocking for another two full-schedule days is a miracle.