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Photograph of Devo by Sarah Fakray. Rest of photog
Photograph of Devo by Sarah Fakray. Rest of photographs by Gemma Leigh

ATP Vs The Fans Part II 2009

Sarah Fakray stage dives in a chalet, misses a ton of bands and learns that a Costa coffee cup is the perfect vehicle for smuggling in alcohol.

I’ve been putting off writing this review of ATP Vs The Fans Part II after hearing the praise garnered for Jon Morgan’s equivalent review for Dazed Digital in 2008. He works in our design department and it was his first and last attempt at writing anything (though look out for his eagerly anticipated follow-up review of the Breeders’ ATP weekend next week). Whatevs, Jon.
“Sodomy or wedgie? The choice is yours!” was the first question posed on the train from London to Taunton, as a nutter with long hair chased my saggy-jeaned friend down the aisle. Not an encouraging start: had the plaid shirt-wearing, flesh tunnel-punctured ATP-goers of last year been replaced by lairy hippie men with their trousers pulled unflatteringly high round their waists? Thankfully not. Butlins was the expected sausagefest spread of indie boys and stoner rockers. Things got off to a warm and tingly start with Grouper’s fuzzy tapes and looped fingerpicking. Then came HEALTH, who I love, but the sour smell of sauerkraut and hot dogs wafting over from the family restaurant in the corner was distracting. Next, downstairs for the fabulous Devo. I stood in the photographer’s pit and – slightly unfairly – was able to catch an energy dome (the official name for the red flowerpot hat) that was tossed from the stage. Ten minutes later, Mark Mothersbaugh’s incredibly sweaty yellow jacket that he’d torn from his body was also mine. “That’s not fair, she got the hat!” cried one girl from behind the barrier, as I attempted to scurry off, head hung low. Instead, my big cardie got hooked to a piece of stage rigging and I couldn’t get away from the angry mob. Electric Wizard sent me to sleep, and Fuck Buttons were good, but enough for Friday.

I was really looking forward to Young Marble Giants playing their album Colossal Youth from start to finish, but it seemed they hadn’t practised since they split up in 1980, and even with sheet music stands in front of them they made an endearing number of mistakes (interspersed with dad jokes from Stuart Moxham). Other people enjoyed Grizzly Bear, Beirut and Marnie Stern; I became easily bored with all three and could only dream of the chalet parties ahead. The first was held by the ATP publicity ladies, with the promise of one member of Grizzly Bear “stripping for the ladies”. Suspicious of sleazy bear, who kept trying to get me to dance, my friends and I slipped out just before it all got shut down by Butlins staff. On our travels we noticed some gruff-looking men carrying instruments into chalet nearby. We gatecrashed just in time to catch a whole set of hardcore performed in gold lame leggings. Nobody knew what the band were called, so during a break between songs we shouted “Who are you?” from the back. “Bad Guys!” they shouted back. My friend Adey got so excited that he climbed on to the kitchen table, threw his intoxicated body into the air and crowdsurfed across the sitting room. Not wanting to let him have all the fun, I clambered up and stagedived off the same table to be caught by an anemone-filled sea of hands. Best moment of ATP. Elsewhere on site, a friend gave a legal MDMA substitute to the guitarist from Qui after he told her about his stroke last year.
Watched the irritating !!! before old punks Killing Joke. Bit of a joke but still brilliant, especially when their lead, a spasmodic Alice Cooper lookalike, spat his conspiracy theories at the youngsters – like how the government are intentionally poisoning us with supermarket food to downsize the population. Bit of Spiritualized before X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes on ATP TV and then bed.

Food eaten over three days: Burger King, Pizza Hut, fish and chips, a steak slice, a whole loaf of white bread.
Acts circled then missed: Nico Muhly, Sleep, Jesus Lizard, Jesu, Cathi Unsworth and Lydia Lunch on the spoken word stage, a rumour of TEETH playing a chalet party. Mae Shi too, which I made up for in Bardens Boudoir on Tuesday. 
Final trick learned: The only way to smuggle your own alcohol into the venues is to put it in a Costa coffee cup. They will search your bag and sniff your water, but won’t suspect a thing if you’re carrying a vodka-filled cardboard cup in your hand.