theterminalapw

Attending the third, and last, day of the second annual All Points West Music and Arts Festival in Jersey City on Sunday turned out to require far more than buying a ferry ticket to ride and wearing comfortable shoes; the day quickly became more about the journey and less about the destination, when, on an hour-to-hour basis, the destination was more figment than festival for many music fans hoping to arrive early to catch comedy stars and smaller indie faves such as Steel Train and The Gaslight Anthem, or arrive at all.

Perhaps better to just call what transpired next by one of the names heard in conversation throughout the day:
All Points Wait
All Points Wet
All Points Washed
All Points Where?
All Points Muddy

Concertgoers experienced their first hint of the delays to come when boarding the APW-sponsored ferries docked in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan. A powerful storm was making its way across the area, and managed to slam into Jersey City (and the festival’s location at Liberty State Park), waylaying attendees, press, photographers, publicists, concert promoters, and actress/comedienne and scheduled performer Janeane Garofalo. Personnel alerted passengers that they would be held until the storm passed. Approximately an hour later, the ferry departed, and fans were soon ushered into the historic CRRNJ terminal on the park grounds by the Department of Homeland Security for a three-hour hold until the storm system from Philadelphia had left the area. Twitter, unsurprisingly, became a much-needed line of communiqué, alerting the masses that the festival was indeed not cancelled, but doors would be delayed until after 4:00pm and a handful of acts such as up-and-comers Kitty, Daisy & Lewis would not go on as scheduled.

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(Brian Aubert of Silversun Pickups)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="(Brian Aubert and Nikki Monninger of Silversun Pickups)"]sspu2[/caption]However, and miraculously, by the time most of the thousands of weary concertgoers were allowed to leave the terminal and arrived to the Blue Comet stage after trudging through unconscionably foul-smelling mud, California’s Silversun Pickups provided a much-needed boost of spirit for a crowd so happy to finally see a band and hear some music. “It’s not gonna rain anymore, right?” lead singer and guitarist Brian Aubert playfully asked the revitalized audience. The popular quartet wooed the crowd with its trademark heavy, distorted sound on hits like current single “Panic Switch” and set-closer “Lazy Eye.” Aubert would go on to profusely thank the crowd for coming out, telling everyone, “You’re amazing, you’re amazing, you’re amazing.”

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(Guy Garvey of Elbow)

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The head-to-head match up of critical darlings Elbow and La Roux proved a tough call for those hoping to catch a peek of the 2008 Mercury Prize winners, and the current great white electro-pop hope, but in the end, the beloved Manchester band seemed to draw a sizeable crowd with its irresistibly charming tunes and singer Guy Garvey’s gorgeous voice. It was a chill-inducing set of lush numbers, beautiful melodies and a burgeoning blue sky. Early in the set, Garvey asked, “Has anyone here ever fallen in love? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it.” Winning over the crowd with gems “Mirrorball” and “Station Approaches,” “a song about our hometown, but you can have it for yours whenever you like.” Garvey, a master frontman and gifted lyricist, ingratiated himself quickly with genial interaction and his trademark wit, which was greatly displayed during the introduction for a hard-charging “Grounds for Divorce,” off of the award-winning Seldom Seen Kid, where he guided audience participation with double-devil horns because he’s “down with the kids.” He also had words for the “mudslide boys,” warning, “typhoid, man!” Elbow closed the rapturous set with a perfectly timed “Weather to Fly.” It was a blockbuster intro to what would be a powerhouse evening.

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(Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen)

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Surely one of the greater draws of Day 3 for the older crowd (and Courtney Love who was seen grooving to the side of the stage) was Echo and the Bunnymen, lead by the endearingly irascible Ian McCulloch, who was in top form with hilariously cranky quips about anything that caught his eye (including Flemish, which he considers to be a “crap language”). Currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band’s landmark 1984 album Ocean Rain, and the October release of The Fountain, McCulloch and longtime bandmate Will Sergeant slayed the crowd with a dark and stormy (but, thankfully not the weather this time!) hits-laden set of “Lips Like Sugar,” “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” “Killing Moon” (an uncannily perfect soundtrack to the setting sun) and “The Cutter,” among other career highlights.

In the end, it all came down to Coldplay.

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(Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT)

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(Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT)
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(Chris Martin of Coldplay)

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Improbably Coldplay, who would have drawn a large crowd anyway, but given the conditions of the festival site, the exhausted crowd and the long trek to an understated MGMT on the Bullet Stage, it was indeed Chris Martin and his colored revolution jacket and brothers in anthem who commanded the night with a triumphant set that proved to be the perfect antidote for a crowd who was ready to throw their hands up and sing with abandon to opener “Violet Hill,” and a rapid-fire trifecta of hits: “Clocks,” “In My Place” and “Yellow,” replete with giant, bouncing yellow balloons. “I think this is one of the strangest smelling and best concerts we’ve ever played!” Martin told the audience.

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The infamously manic frontman, who often struggles to control his voice in concert, was in top, resonant shape, paying homage to cancer-stricken Beastie Boy Adam Yauch with a cover of “Fight For Your Right” on piano (which subsequently set the Twitter world on fire with many tweets of “WTF?!”) and a victorious “Viva la Vida,” and “Lost!” which instead lifted the “intrepid” crowd into a joyous, celebratory frenzy, even those who crossed their arms at the notion of sitting through a “Coldplay concert.” While walking through the crowd to mount a side-stage for “Green Eyes,” Martin praised the crowd’s steadfast dedication to attending the day’s performances, saying, “We have infinitely more respect for you now that we’ve had to walk through that shit.” A groovy cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” followed, with a pulse-pounding “Politik” afterward, fists flying everywhere.

Who knew that after three full days of blockbuster performances from Jay-Z, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gogol Bordello, My Bloody Valentine (who even woke up the neighbors across the river in Battery Park City) and Tool, that one of the most maligned, best-loved bands in the universe would take the mud pie?

That’s right — Day 3 of All Points West 2009 came down to a phenomenal, invigorating set from Coldplay, and “that shit.” –Carrie Alison, Photos by Carrie Alison