Classical and indie-folk night, Boris remind us it's Friday night

All Tomorrows Parties curated by The National 2012 review

published: Wed 9th Jan 2013


Friday 7th to Sunday 9th December 2012
Camber Sands Holiday Centre, New Lydd Road, Camber Sands, Nr. Rye, Sussex, TN31 7RL, England MAP
£180per person self catering - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5500
last updated: Mon 22nd Oct 2012

around the festival site (1)
Ears still ringing from the noisy/party affair that was the Shellac-curated ATP weekend, we headed wearily back for an altogether different musical experience, this time courtesy of Ohio indie-rockers The National. Their chosen line-up was more diverse, for the most part alternative/indie but with a notable modern classical twist amongst others. Many bands had connections to The National, either through their record studio, past guest performances/collaborations or as tour supports. Though The National hails from Ohio, they are very much a Brooklyn-based band, and bands from that neighbourhood were to be seen in abundance over the weekend.

Camber Sands had the two stages in one central complex again, Stage 1 could take the whole capacity of the festival, though didn't have too much of a big stage feel or sound to it. The smaller Stage 2 sometimes brought queues over the weekend to get in, but usually had the better sound and ambience to it, as smaller stages tend to. The Queen Vic pub in the same complex was used to host the extracurricular parts of the programme; Book Bingo with Lord Sinclair, Pop Quiz with Lord Sinclair, Book Club discussions, Karaoke and DJ's late into the night. As ever, there was also a band-curated cinema and full TV schedule streamed to the chalets. Camber Sands as a holiday park seemed mostly shutdown for the winter again, many people choosing to get out off-site when the bands weren't on, particularly to the nearby beach (bar).

Richard Reed Parry presents Music For Heart And Breath
First up was multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) who put on an unusual and typically offbeat ATP set on the main stage. 'Drones/ Revelations' saw the main stage temporarily converted into a makeshift cycle velodrome, and he employed the services of 14 volunteer cyclists from festival attendees to ride 14 bicycles around the room. 14 boomboxes mounted on the bikes generated the noise/drones which varied in intensity/pitch as the riders circled the venue. Flashing strobe lights on the bikes stood out in a venue otherwise drenched in red light. All quite surreal and weird as a spectacle obviously, though strangely hypnotic and mesmerising after the long drive to Camber Sands. Parry seemed to curate his own sub-festival over the course of the weekend, performing two other sets; one a folk set, the other chamber music. He also later guested on others' sets, notably The National, to make for a busy weekend of appearances.

Bringing us back to Earth, Nico Muhly was the first of several modern/contemporary classical artists to perform that evening on Stage 1. An engaging set of laptop electronica accompanied by violinist, Muhly was another of the artists to be seen collaborating on others sets over the weekend. Hauschka is the stage name of German-born composer and pianist Volker Bertelmann. Accompanied by violinist and a cellist, he placed objects such as necklaces and paper across his grand piano strings to create his own unique sound; every show sounds different I'm told. Kronos Quartet is an American 4-piece string quartet who performed a set of instrumental covers over diverse genres on the main stage. All interesting sets, though maybe more suited to a Sunday afternoon as ATPs usually go.

Buke And Gase
A quite different program over on Stage 2; Hayden performed a characteristically downbeat set of his understated folk/indie-rock tunes. Much deadpan humour/banter with the audience and he laughed about how it was so long since he'd toured Europe that his emergency stash of £20 notes were no longer even valid. Buke and Gase returned for a consecutive weekend and won over more new fans in the crowd with their performance. The duo of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez used their homemade string instruments to re-create their own unique, idiosyncratic folk-pop-punk sounds. The band takes their name from their instruments; the Buke is a customized baritone ukelele, the Gase a crossbreed of guitar/bass. Melbourne duo Luluc offered up a set of soothing alt-folk on quality-sounding retro acoustic guitars to follow. Curiously they seemed to think they were performing in London but then Australia is a vast place I guess.

A relatively quiet and low-key Friday night by ATP standards so far, the Brooklyn trio of Bear In Heaven finally livened things up (a bit) with some alternative tunes on the main stage. An enjoyably offbeat set of indie-pop tunes; the band have an extensive sound that experiments with some psychedelic/disco synths. I later caught a little of Tim Hecker playing some mightily perplexing electronic noise in the dark on Stage 2 (not for me really), before watching the opening part of Kurt Vile & the Violators set. Kurt Vile has the tunes but can be a hit-or-miss affair live sometimes in my experience. Tonight all seemed good though as he banged out his catchy psych. rock riffs from behind the mop of hair that all but obscures the man. Friday night properly arrived with the performance of Boris on a packed Stage 2 though. ATP regulars, the Japanese experimental noise-rock trio finally upped the ante on the night in vigorous style. A typically deafening, intense set of drone-infused electric guitars, weaving their way from drone-metal to ambient, noise and psychedelic rock.

review by: Jason Wood

photos by: Jason Wood

Friday 7th to Sunday 9th December 2012
Camber Sands Holiday Centre, New Lydd Road, Camber Sands, Nr. Rye, Sussex, TN31 7RL, England MAP
£180per person self catering - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5500
last updated: Mon 22nd Oct 2012

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