Review: ATP Nightmare Before Christmas
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This year’s festive edition of the long-running ATP festival series had three curators to handpick the line-up, each handling the proceedings for a day. The ringmasters for Friday were Les Savy Fav; the last people to timidly kick off their own party. Taking the stage before 6pm for their first of two slots, it took the Brooklyn five-piece no time to warm up before balding, bearded and effervescent frontman Tim Farrington was hanging upside down from the Red stage rafters to sing his part of the band’s breathless punk rock. Upstairs on the Centre stage, the elfin Marnie Stern got in a busy session of guitar shredding, although her reedy vocals were buried under piles of the relentless, progressive drumming. Still looking as preppy and fresh as the day they first stepped off Floridian beaches, Surfer Blood put on a polished display of buoyant indie rock. Oxes, meanwhile, could barely stop exuding testosterone throughout a blitzing set of hard rock. If they’d have acted any more virile, we’d have an immaculate conception on our hands. Future Islands have a gentler brand of synth pop to work with but were bolstered by the impassioned chest beating of gruff frontman Samuel T. Herring. And the punk duo No Age kept the speaker stacks turned up till midnight; their fierce set of rough diamonds briefly interrupted to let some feisty teenagers sing a Black Flag cover. Finally, Les Savy Fav re-emerged in front of glitter and sheen for their headlining slot. Farrington was now bulging through his sparkling morph suit (belly and beard first) after taking a lap through the crowd. To end their set, the jubilant band treated the night as if it was New Year’s and counted out their encore with recent hit ‘Let’s Get Out Of Here’ and a landslide of silver balloons flowing off the stage.
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