Last Friday, as you were packing your bags for that last beach weekend of the year or making a Labor Day barbecue shopping list, record collectors, post-rock fetishists, and other assorted serious music nerds from around the country (and no small number from across the pond) converged at Kutsher’s Country Resort, transforming the ratty Catskills hotel into a transcendent three-day rock ‘n roll summer camp called All Tomorrow’s Parties.
It’s easy to see why ATP, with its laissez-faire, let-the-kids-have-fun attitude, on-site lodging, lack of corporate sponsorship, and love for all things loud and instrumental, has attracted so many hardcore fans. (We count ourselves among that number, having attended the New York festival ever since it made its debut in 2008.) But it’s always the individual moments, not the big-picture stuff, that make the tiny festival so memorable.
This weekend, we saw The Breeders play “Cannonball” and Sonic Youth do “Death Valley ’69” and Mudhoney attack “Touch Me I’m Sick” — three songs that are as powerful in 2010 as they were in the late ’80s and early ’90s. We felt the crumbling auditorium around us (and, seemingly, the entire world) vibrate under the weight of Sunn 0))) and Boris’ Altar, a performance that was as frightening as it was awe-inspiring. And in what was undoubtedly the most electrifying set of the weekend, we jumped and elbowed and sweated through our clothing in an Iggy and the Stooges mosh pit while the man himself — the living embodiment of all that is freedom and punk rock and weirdness — tore through Raw Power and surprised us with other classic numbers like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “No Fun.” Hell, towards the end of the festivities, Raekwon was introduced by none other than Ron Jeremy (although we must say we preferred Raekwon’s Wu-Tang compatriot GZA’s tighter, apparently anger-fueled set). Throughout it all, we followed the iconic, bushy, white mane of Sunday’s distinguished curator, Jim Jarmusch, from act to act, as he watched his favorite bands perform and patiently greeted fan after fan.
Click through for a photo gallery featuring some of the best images from ATP NY.
A sea of hands carries (and gropes) Iggy Pop as he crowd surfs. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Iggy and the Stooges onstage. Photo by Sean Ruch.
A classic Iggy pose. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Iggy Pop, up close and personal. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Mudhoney performing Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Hallogallo (NEU!’s Michael Rother, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, and Aaron Mullan of Tall Firs) perform the music of NEU! Photo by Sean Ruch.
Tortoise packs the stage with instruments. Photo by Sean Ruch.
The Books, accompanied by their reliably excellent video art. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Fuck Buttons’ room-shaking mid-afternoon dance party. Photo by Sean Ruch.
The Breeders, with those inimitable Deal sisters at center stage. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Sonic Youth: Kim Gordon rocks out. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Thurston Moore and Jim Jarmusch answer audience members’ queries at a special Q&A session. Photo by Sean Ruch.
The Ice Cream Man has become a fixture at ATP NY, but this year, the sunny, ’70s-styled purveyor of free treats was also running a table where amateur artists could paint plastic smurf figurines. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Kurt Vile sings through his thick mane (and layers of gorgeously sculpted guitar noise). Photo by Sean Ruch.
When our photographer showed this image, a lucky mistake, to Pink Eyes, the Fucked Up frontman said, “I look like some fucking True Blood shit!” We couldn’t really say it better. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Girls singer/guitarist Christopher Owens, in the middle of one of the weekend’s most emotionally charged sets. Photo by Sean Ruch.
The weekend’s oldest performer, 90-year-old bluesman T Model Ford, shows the kids how it’s done. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Raekwon rocks the mic like only a Wu-Tang emcee can. Photo by Sean Ruch.
In his ferocious and exciting set, GZA taunted the audience for its apparent lack of Wu-Tang knowledge. Although we are fans, we’ll cop to deserving his tirade. Photo by Sean Ruch.
Boris and Sunn 0))) end the weekend in a fog of smoke machines, apocalyptic lighting, and impossibly loud, drone-y doom metal. If you told us the auditorium briefly blasted off into the stratosphere and touched back down after their performance of Altar we’d likely believe you. Photo by Sean Ruch.