Friday, May 14th 7:20 am and the alarm on my N95 rolls into action, screeching at me to get out of bed. Only 6 hours earlier I was hearing about how the Red Baron shot down Nigel Farage's plane on the day of the UK General Election. With a mixture of excitement and great regret for being alive to the world this early I packed and set off on my 200-or-something mile car journey to the Western backwaters of Minehead. The epic slog across the country, as I would later discover, paled insignificant compared to Omar Souleyman’s trip in the back of a U-Haul van all the way from Syria. One can only imagine how a man who showed no signs of speaking a word of English was invited to travel to play at Pavement’s festival. Flopping out of the brave Nissan Micra like a tin of old sardines my friends and I set upon signing in and collecting our key cards for our rooms. The wait outside for our appointed spokesman, ATP veteran of two previous festivals, to return with our keys and the location of our luxurious Butlins abode felt like aeons. Brimming with excitement and the promise of opulently decorated plush Butlins chalets we battled with fatigue on the way to, what we were soon to find out, the aptly named ‘Turtle Square’. The green light beckoned us to enter and what met us was a dank hallway painted in a particularly fowl saturation of butterscotch and two bedrooms facing one another that Missionaries in Africa might have met with a sense of elation. Thankfully the bathroom was not a complete tragedy and the living room was decked with two burgundy couches and curtains sporting a plethora of miscellaneous brown stains. We had arrived. Incidentally, Omar Souleyman, date and place of birth unknown, had arrived at his berth hours earlier. The prefabricated barracks of Minehead Butlins put a sense of fear into his big heart. Priding himself on never selling out and keeping true to his roots, he worried how stories of these decadent dwellings would go down back in his native Syria. He looked around at the opulent riches of colour splashed on the walls. The hue of camelskin on the walls was warm to him and the maroon carpets would have been plusher than the finest Syrian temple underneath the thick bed of dust and dirt that had gathered there over the years. The orgy of dust had Omar in a feeling of unease and he went to lay down on the lacquered mattress in the master bedroom. I threw my bags down and hastily unpacked, digging through my changes of clothes and clawed at the bottle of Tesco Value Vodka. I thought about how the new picture of a lemon relaxing in the cool cascade of vodka was likely the reason it had gone up in price by over a pound in the last twelve months and joined everyone in the living room. The television, which must have been donated to Butlins by people of Surinam, cowered in the corner by the child locked windows that overlooked a row of cars that provided seagulls with target practice for the entire weekend. After frantically swigging around half a bottle of Strongbow to relax me we set out to the pavilion to see our first band of the weekend, the tenacious young Avi Buffalo. Murmurings of Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg’s tender age filled the room as the hum of amps lingered in the background. I assume they played the hits that the crowd had hoped for as the atmosphere was glowing and in turn they basked in this on stage and played an assured set, and one which I rather enjoyed despite not knowing any of their songs, only the lore of their so-far-achieved success. With the stages so close to one another we left the dimly lit family entertainment room ‘Centre Stage’ and went to, confusingly, the main stage in the tent to see Surfer Blood immediately after Avi Buffalo’s 45 minutes were up. Surfer Blood looked no older than the previous band and they showed a similar authority on stage in front of a much larger space. Crowds were sparser than they might have been for it was only the second band of the festival. The Antlers-esque echoing on the rather produced Astrocoast had led me to expect the band to be a lot older than they were. I was quite surprised to be confronted with how much the singer looked like a younger, chubbier version of Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins. Appearances aside they played well and kept the crowd interested throughout but it was another band who I knew more by name than by their music, despite owning the record. Take It Easy was the highlight of a tight set. The next band we would watch was an hour and fifteen minutes after Surfer Blood finished as we chose to return to headquarters in Turtle Square to remove as much alcohol from the premises as we could in the shortest amount of time possible instead of watching either Calexico or Spiral Stairs. I couldn’t have cared less about either had I tried. At 7:40pm, swigging down a bottle of cheap rose we walked through the current of festival-goers leaving the pavilion, including two of the members of Surfer Blood who I greeted with “hey you’re in Avi Buffalo you were really good” before pausing, laughing and correcting myself “Surfer Blood even”. They told me to enjoy the rest of the festival but I’d managed to make a fool of myself inside three hours of being there. Luckily I thought it was really funny and so the two of us returned to the ‘Centre Stage’ for The Walkmen. It was soon apparent that I was not the only one in the crowd that was only really familiar with their riotous ‘The Rat’ but the crowd’s attention was held by a high octane performance only halted by a sound fault by the house technicians, ironically in the opening bars to ‘The Rat’. After around five minutes the issue was resolved and they started from the opening again after an annoying chorus of boos during the down time but that was all soon forgotten as several hundred people moved as one to what was an amazing four minutes. Their decision to play ‘The Rat’ so early surprised me at first but the audience’s interest held afterwards and the rest of the performance was viewed through the bustling crowd. Everyone soon dispersed as they finished around fifteen minutes earlier than according to the schedules we were given upon arrival and so everyone seemed to be heading to the same place, downstairs for Broken Social Scene. The plan I had worked out for myself was to leave around fifteen minutes early to return back upstairs for Mission of Burma, one of the five bands I was genuinely excited about seeing. Instead it did not go to plan because after no longer than twenty minutes the four of us at 108 Turtle Square were unanimous in leaving and going back to the dwelling for yet more drinking. Broken Social Scene were another one of the five, but ultimately ranked lower than MoB. Instead on reflection BSS occupy number one spot for most disappointing act of the weekend. By this point I was buoyant from alcohol and would have a good time at almost any show but even despite that BSS were incredibly boring. Stood in a straight line facing the crowd they inanimately thrust a wall of boring guitars our way and the first three songs were practically exactly the same. We were all decided that we were looking forward to seeing them before we got there and so it was pretty frustrating when they delivered a less than half-arsed performance. Having already walked the gauge between the stages and our flat a multitude of times already in the first day I did so again to return to the ‘Centre Stage’ to see Mission of Burma. The sound was not as great as most of the other acts before had been and very little was played from ‘Signals, Calls and Marches’ what is in my eyes by far their best album. It didn’t matter to most of the people in the front and the crowd buoyed me on to join in regardless. Miller and Conley appeared to take pleasure in making the crowd fret over whether or not they would play ‘That’s When I Reach For My Revolver’ and the longer it went on the more the pre-gig speculation and tales of how they didn’t even play it at recent gigs played on people’s minds (including my own). However there was little need for the fear for with their final song the bass strummed those hallowed opening notes and the clambering limbs of drunken people grabbed more frantically and the previously steady ground beneath my feet evaporated and I became a mere molecule in the waves of a stinking sweat pit, and it was incredible. Despite being thrust and thrusting into anyone and everyone regardless of whether or not they were close it wasn’t full of pricks like previous gigs I’ve been to, instead it was more reminiscent of being at the front for Pearl Jam in Belgium a few years ago. It didn’t even matter that the sound wasn’t so full or that the song wasn’t as melodic as on record, that bassline was like fucking catnip and even though I was sent to my knees against a hard and dirty heavy duty service I was back up in one swift movement. When the sound died out and Mission of Burma left the stage the pit returned to a bunch of ordinary people who looked at one another knowingly, something excellent had just happened. Events from then on are really a blur. I bought my first non-alcoholic drink of the night and a packet of pickled onion monster munch in the hope that I could sober up enough to see any other bands and after Quasi had bored me in a way heavily reminiscent to BSS only a few hours earlier I cut my losses and stumbled home for the last time that night.
hi i am garry and i am nice and i like to play games on tha computr and one time i completed a game and i was so happy that i flipped off a policeman in the streets and then he came round for tea and we dated but then he had to go because a bad man had touched a child