This past weekend brought the second-annual All Points West music festival to New Jersey’s Liberty State Park — along with a healthy dose of rain to provide the traditional mud-drenched festival experience our friends across the pond know so well. Jay-Z stepped in on Friday night to save the day after the Beastie Boys’ last-minute cancellation, performing to a crowd willing to brave thunderstorms for his high-energy set; both Jay and Sunday headliners Coldplay paid tribute to the Beasties by covering their material, with Chris Martin’s solo piano version of “Fight for Your Right” coming across as especially endearing.
The sun came out mid-festival to shine on Saturday concert-goers, who enjoyed sets from Arctic Monkeys, St. Vincent, the Ting Tings, Crystal Castles, Gogol Bordello, My Bloody Valentine, and headliners Tool. On Sunday, it was back to rain, necessitating a late site opening that forced the cancellation of several bands (most unfortunately the Gaslight Anthem), but the remaining performers more than made up for it, with acts including Elbow and Silversun Pickups not only performing brilliant sets, but also being extremely gracious to those in attendance for braving the mud.
Festival organizers were good to the crowd too, offering anyone with a Friday ticket or ticket stub the chance to come back Saturday or Sunday free of charge to make up for the weather hassles. It was a toss-up for which of those days took the prize for performances, but Saturday attendees definitely won out in the sunshine stakes. In a festival exclusive, Arctic Monkeys played new song “Cornerstone” live for the first time, while loading their set with material from their upcoming Josh Homme-produced third album, Humbug. Later, My Bloody Valentine did an admirable job of bringing on the night with their shoegaze noise assault (for which, as at all of their shows, earplugs were handed out at the gate).
Coldplay closed things out on the main stage on Sunday with a suitably over-the-top hit-laden set, while Etienne de Crecy was the last man standing on the smaller Queen of the Valley stage, taking the three-day event out with an elaborate light show, banging electronic music, and one of the coolest stage setups we’ve seen in a long time (imagine Hollywood Squares in space). For those who couldn’t be there (or who just preferred to stay clean and dry), check out our exclusive photo set. Also, the entire event was filmed in full 3D, and from what we saw in the preview tent where they were screening the footage live, this is all going to make one hell of a movie.