All Tomorrow's Parties I'll Be Your Mirror (London UK) Day One - May 25, 2012
Photos/Review: Rhona "Wiglet Bill" Aquilina
When the doors open we file into the Palm Court entrance (named so because of the indoor palms growing there) and unsurprisingly it is oppressively hot inside. After briefly checking out the merchandise stands we head back out into the park to the relative cool, to pass the time until the first act of the weekend take the stage.
|A Storm of Light|
We step outside briefly to escape the intense heat inside the palace and spot Sleep’s Mike Pike wandering about outside surrounded by the heady smoke and odour of cannabis, pausing to have a photo taken with a fan. We soon head back inside to catch YOB perform in the West Hall. They are powerful and at times vaguely demented (in a good way). Mike Scheidt repeatedly swigging Jameson’s Irish whiskey from the bottle and occasionally beating himself about the head. They played a great set and I would have happily stayed for the whole thing but unfortunately had to leave shortly before the end in order to catch the start of The Melvins in the Great Hall.
But you can forget the dry ice; the Melvins bring their own atmosphere in spades, not least because of their dual drummer set up. Whilst I have always found the Melvins to be mesmerising aurally, the addition of a second drummer means they are now also visually mesmerising. The sheer power and spectacle of two drummers playing in perfect mirror image of each other is worth the ticket price alone. The set included “Hung Bunny,” “Roman Bird Dog,” “Manky,” “A History of Bad Men” and my personal highlights “Evil New War God” and “The Waterglass” complete with crowd participatory call-back section.
Next up are Sleep. After a quick trip outside for some food we re-enter the Great Hall, which is yet again full with white smoke, though this time comparative to all the dope smoke the contribution made by the dry ice is negligible. The crowd goes crazy as they take to the stage and launch into the opening twenty minute segment from the epic "Dopesmoker." Also included in the set were “Holy Mountain”, “Sonic Titan”, “Dragonaut”, “From Beyond” and a further section from Dopesmoker. From the very front, right to the very edges of the Great Hall everyone appeared to be high or undergoing a religious experience, or both! I guess that’s just what Sleep brings to the table and boy did they do themselves justice tonight.
The final act today is Slayer performing their classic 1986 album Reign In Blood. As the final preparations are made on stage for the headline act a furious repeated chant breaks out among the crowd, “SLAYER, SLAYER, SLAYER!” and soon enough they take the stage and rather than the expected opener of “Angel of Death” they begin with “World Painted Blood” and the crowd heaves with sweaty bodies. The heat is so intense up front that I’m genuinely relieved as I’m hit with cool beer being jettisoned from the throng.
It isn’t until 6 or 7 tracks in that they begin to play Reign In Blood, as the crowd steps it up another notch and the flow of crowd surfers (including pre-teen converts) becomes relentless. Despite some minor issues with sound and the need to re-start “Reborn,” the show is electrifying and played at the expected breakneck speed. Other than the track-listing from Reign In Blood the set also included “South of Heaven,” “War Ensemble,” “Snuff," “Psychopathy Red," “Die By The Sword," “Chemical Warfare," “Hate Worldwide” and “Dead Skin Mask."
I head home with my ears ringing, exhausted and smelling of beer and sweat that I’m pretty sure isn’t all mine. Reflecting on the great shows of the day and anticipating tomorrow’s line-up.