From Iceland — #ATP15 Final Night Review: Muddy Lineup

#ATP15 Final Night Review: Muddy Lineup

Published July 5, 2015

#ATP15 Final Night Review: Muddy Lineup
Ciarán Daly
Photo by
Hilmar Guðjónsson

If, like me, you haven’t paid attention to Pitchfork in the last few years, pickings for Saturday night could easily seem slim. Out of all of the acts on Saturday night, I only really wanted to see the Icelandic acts BÖRN and Kiasmos – both of which I managed to miss, thanks to an extremely early billing for the former and a late start for the latter.

There was actually a bunch of cool things going on last night though. I made a point of checking out the smaller stages and areas that I had neglected on Thursday.

The cinema

The fact there was a cinema at all at #ATP15 was pretty weird. I mean, it’s a festival. You just paid for the most expensive movie ticket ever. What are you doing?

It was a fair walk away from both the main stage and the theatre, in some sort of… what was it? High school? Leisure center? Borstal? The screening itself was in a cafeteria, complete with tables, chairs, and absolutely no movie snacks. As “cinemas” go, it didn’t really have many modcons.

However, it was a pretty decent change of pace. I mean, I can completely see the appeal of going to sit down and watch a movie, particularly if you’ve slipped off the tightrope of sobriety and need a little lie down. The cinema seemed to be playing a lot of ’70s/’80s cult B-movies, purportedly curated by Mogwai themselves. They had The Exorcist, Rollerball (the awesome original, not the shitty remake), There Will Be Blood, and a whole day of skateboarding movies, for those of you who still think 2002 is relevant.

If it offered a bar or any sort of refreshments, I’d say it would pass as a pretty good indie cinema if you didn’t have to drop a load of money on a wristband to go there first.

The theatre

ATP’s other stage, the theatre, was totally packed out when I arrived. I believe people were very interested in seeing the singer of Valdimar and his trombone (who really gave it some stick, to be fair). With a six-piece, there’s always a worry that there’s going to be more people onstage than in the audience, but it wasn’t the case here. There were people sat on the floor and in the aisles, seating was so scarce.

Some had taken to sitting around in the lobby outside the performance, where it could still be heard loud and clear.

I caught up with some of these floor-sitters. A lot of people reciprocated my feelings about the festival being too front-loaded. “The best performance was Iggy Pop,” Shelli from Aberdeen told me. “He’s an absolute fucking legend. Doesn’t matter how old he is. Nothing’s gonna top that.” Her and her friends had only showed up to see Lightning Bolt – and they only stuck around because the bus back to RVK didn’t run til midnight.


Ever heard the phrase “peaking early”, ATP? Putting your three big headliners (Iggy Pop, Public Enemy, and Belle and Sebastian) all on the first night made for a very front-heavy lineup, as many others have pointed out.  I guess to support smaller, more alternative bands like Valdimar or Vision Fortune—the sort of musicians ATP was made for—it’s necessary to pay the bills with bigger acts.

I don’t blame the organisers of ATP for putting all of their headliners on one day, for whatever reason, but given the disproportionately low attendance after Thursday, it might be worth rethinking the model next year. It is not hard to have, say, a hip-hop oriented lineup one day, then an alt/post-rock lineup the next. It’s easy to pass off the weighted lineup as simply appealing to the eclecticism that ATP stands for, or whatever, but honestly, it felt cheap and lazy. Again, if your only big act for the night is a group like Swans, you might also want to make sure they play their full set, rather than leaving people with two hours of waiting around for the next act to start.

ATP Iceland might have all taken place on tarmac, but the way the lineup was structured felt as muddy as the fields of Glastonbury.

My highlights:

Public Enemy on Thursday night

The darkness of the hangar

The lack of stabby vibes

The amount of Brits (I hadn’t heard any accents from home in a while)

And lowlights:

Swans cutting their set short

Serving nothing but Thule like it’s 2011

Having to go to, and spend time in, Keflavík

Male-centric lineup

More from the GV’s ATP coverage


ATP Saturday: Hit and Miss


ATP Friday: Sweetness, Sadness And Rock

A Chill And Relaxed Friday For ATP Iceland


ATP Thursday: Beautifully Diverse Aesthetic

You Down With ATP? Yeah You Know Me! – Intern Hannah’s Top 5 Of Last Night

#ATP15 First Night: Not Too Stabby


All Tomorrow’s Parties Are Happening RIGHT NOW!

ATP Special: Bedroom Community Selects

ATP Special: What To Do In Keflavík!

Trip provided by Reykjavík Excursions.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!