On the festival itself: The layout and setting of ATP is pretty weird—I mean, if you’re like me and spend a lot of time in smoking areas talking to people, you’ll have basically spent the first night drinking in what is essentially a glorified carpark. I don’t think drinking in a carpark is a bad thing—on the contrary—but if you’re used to the muddy trenches of Glastonbury, you’re going to be either disappointed or relieved that at ATP Iceland, it’s all tarmac.
Having said that, the hangar is a great setting for the main stage. It’s actually pretty dark in there, and breaks away from the limitations the sun imposed on debauchery at Secret Solstice (until Hel opened, at least). It’s also not so claustrophobic or difficult to manoeuvre through.
Thankfully (at least for me), ATP draws an older, more chilled-out clientele than, say, Secret Solstice or Reading Festival. There is a certain appeal to the edge that comes with the armies of skanking, gurning 20-year-old hipsters you find at other festivals, but also a certain… spikiness? ATP is still a great party, but manages to do away with the wild-eyed, slightly stabby vibes that tends to accompany younger festival crowds.
On the sounds: I arrived halfway through Public Enemy’s set. They were freaking awesome. For a bunch of old guys, they’ve still got it. Their DJ also did a wicked mashup of Nirvana on the decks. Having said that, the overwhelming whiteness of the crowd seemed to unfortunately dilute Public Enemy’s still-powerful, still-relevant political message.
Iggy Pop is also old as balls. It only took him half a song to take his shirt off, but at least he made an effort with clothing for that first-half of a song. As Iggy dragged his old skeleton across the stage like a character from Jan Švankmajer’s 1988 surrealist classic Alice, I was surprised and impressed with the spooky witchcraft that must be giving him all that energy. My only gripe was that the PA was way too loud, presumably because the sound guys are used to having to fill smaller downtown venues like Prikið or Húrra and don’t know how to adapt to a hangar—or the raw power of The Pop. He also played his hits too early. I’m thankful I didn’t have to wait around for The Passenger or Lust for Life (which were both really well done), but I was also left with no reason not to leave the hangar and grab some chips.
Other notable performances included Vision Fortune in Ásbrú’s weird old theatre, who were post-dark, post-moody, post-something, and exactly the kind of band I believe ATP should be promoting. Later on, Run the Jewels came on at just the right time, giving a kickass set with an unbelievable amount of vigour for something so late at night. They made not getting home until 5AM worth it.
I’m sad to be missing GY! BE tonight, but Saturday is looking like a great lineup too.
More from the GV’s ATP coverage
Trip provided by Reykjavík Excursions.