Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Sufjan Stevens Bring Lullabies and Assaults to All Tomorrow’s Parties

September 13th, 2009 by Jonah Weiner Leave a reply »

At music festivals, a 1 p.m. performance is typically a ghost town — it’s the snoring hour, the sleeping-off-alcohol hour, or for the especially ambitious attendee, the getting-breakfast-and-ruing-last-night’s-ungodly-levels-of-beer-intake hour.

So when Sufjan Stevens took the stage to a packed room for the opening set of ATP NY’s Day Two, the Detroit singer promised to go easy on peoples’ headaches. “This will be an early-afternoon hangover special,” he promised, explaining that the set would draw heavily on Seven Swans, his gentle, spare 2004 debut. He started with “All the Trees of the Fields Will Clap Their Hands,” in which a plinking banjo riff suggested a tiny music box, mesmerizing and intricate.

Stevens was breathy and hushed, and his backing band — all in matching tie-die shirts purchased at the grounds’ kitsch-stuffed gift shop — slowly built up songs around him. In keeping with the mellow vibes, “The Dress Looks Nice On You” played like particularly chaste make-out music: “I can see a lot of life he you,” he cooed, “I can see a lot of bright in you/ And I think the dress looks nice on you.” Someone in the back of the room wolf-whistled. As far as Christian post-folk pick-up lines go, this was pretty racy stuff.

On Day One, an organizing theme suggested itself: assaults vs. lullabies. On day two, we got our share of both yet again. Squarely in column A were Seattle’s the Melvins, who played a brutal evening set in which viscous metal riffs burped and groaned as kick drums stuttered violently. The malevolence of the music was mediated by some moves towards theatricality on stage: two wind machines (or at least very powerful fans) at either side; King Buzzo’s trademark ‘do, which sugge...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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