With Roscoe Mitchell, Boredoms and more
Sun Ra Arkestra, ATP - Curated By Jeff Mangum, Sunday

Sunday, and Jeff Mangum must be tired of signing autographs as he promenades the Butlins site, meeting his fans, watching the bands he's programmed.

Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never is sat watching the crowd, people queuing for Sebadoh, drinking a beer. He's on a forty-eight-hour round trip from New York with his appearance the previous day outside of any touring schedule. The same goes for Sebadoh who perform a one off show thanks to a drunken deal Lou Barlow brokered with Mr. Mangum at a previous ATP. Being so numerous Boredoms are everywhere, but could be found playing the 2p slot machines - pots of pennies racked on the machines' glass casings. Rumour has it that Bill 'Ghostbusting' Murray and Ryan 'Smouldering' Gosling are in attendance (they're not).

Boredoms perform with four drummers centre stage encircling Eye who conducts and chants. Along the back of the stage is a studious row of seated guitarists. A stacked guitar sculpture acts as a totem for the group, all dutiful servants to the medium. The band negotiate a wealth of musical styles never wandering too far from the markers of Afro drumming and metal riff wars. They drive on cumulating in the chant, "I sip poison," being repeated for twenty minutes or so. Instilling the image that the group is dicing with death on an ever increasing scale. Such a penchant for self-destruction is self-parodical, with their creation a continual victory over death.

Sun Ra Arkestra would open awkwardly with the band laying down their philosophy to a crowd presumably au fait with the cosmic jazzers world views. The opening segment would be free and abstract with little opportunity to become embedded in a groove. One singer and trumpeter would tow the party line declaring how their home is “somewhere up there," pointing to the ceiling. When you claim to be aliens communicating with your home there's no room for oversimplification, nor quota for stressing the point. Eventually his increasingly frustrated demeanour peaks and he stands-up as if to walk away. But before he considers exiting the stage he breaks out in to flailing dancing, cartwheels and handstands. This could easily have been planned, but the moment had a cute spontaneity to it.

Roscoe Mitchell is a gentleman, delicately bowing to the applause, and adopting a pedestrian pace between songs. The picture is of a man plying the sound of keypads tapping the body of his saxophone whilst blowing through the instrument, avoiding the reed vibrating and the sound projecting. It's engrossing to watch his embouchure change significantly with every note as he attempts to avoid conventional tonality. The radical thinking that has propelled him through his career is still electric to hear and breath-taking to watch. Indeed his music couldn't be more striking than in the setting of a 20th century British holiday resort. For all the pomp and ceremony, the stinking hotdog stands, the otherwise absent redcoats, and the peculiar tradition where bar staff smell my tomato juice before serving, Mitchell's work is still pertinent today with perhaps a greater need to be aired.

Words by Samuel Breen
Photo by Rosie Welsh

For more on ATP curated by Jeff Mangum, check out our Friday and Saturday reviews.

Click here for a photo gallery of the weekend.

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