Day Three: Primavera Sound – live review
Primavera Sound, Barcelona
May 30th 2015
As the festival closes we’re left with so many lasting memories and we have not one but two Seaford Mods reviews from today’s blasphemous performances.
Our day once again begins in the Parc De La Ciutadella, as The Hotelier blow away any cobwebs from our sleep-deprived beings. Their forceful set readies us for the onslaught of the final full day of the festival, as they bring the emo revival to Barcelona. A set filled with energy and huge riffs is exactly what we need.
As Ex Hex take to the stage though we find ourselves settling somewhat as they once again thrill us with their own brand of rock, todays crowd is a little more subdued than last nights frenzy yet their set is still warmly received. Little has changed from the night before either, their album is still one of the best records I’ve heard in a long time and seeing it live has made it even better.
We hastily make our way back over to the main festival site, to catch the first of two sets from Louder Than War favourites Sleaford Mods. The first being in the rather intimate setting of the Ray-Ban Unplugged stage (not that it has anything unplugged about it), they proceed to tear through a few tunes including Tiswas, Tarantula Deadly Cargo and Tied Up In Nottz.
The most striking thing is the number of bemused festival goers that pass by unsure of what is going on. With this very short set drawing to a close Jason Williamson berates Ray-Ban for implying that this was going to be a longer set than it was, announcing over the PA “Naughty Naughty Ray-Ban, free sunglasses for everyone!” to the crowds excitement of course. This is all just a taster of their full set later in the evening.
We head off down to the Pitchfork stage to catch American band DIIV, whose set is wholly uneventful in comparison to the hype that seems to have been placed around them. Their mediocre paced dream pop goes down a storm but does very little to light our fires on this hot sunny evening, as we bask in the shade (mainly because I’m already sunburnt). Their set passes us by.
Before long though the status quo is returned as American alt rockers American Football take to the stage. Unfortunately due to those scheduling gods causing yet another heartbreaking clash we only catch the early part of their set. However, it does perk our mood up and our only wish was that they didn’t clash with Mac Demarco.
We make our way to the Heineken stage with a very heavy heart.Mac Demarco ambles on to the stage with a big grin plastered across his face. Introducing his band he renames his new drummer for the fun of it whilst those around him look bemused, its clear we’re in for a treat. Opening up with Salad Days the crowd are falling over themselves with excitement, one marriage proposal later and he’s in full flow.
Reeling off a set that includes Ode To Viceroy, Brother and personal favourite Rock and Roll Night Club, one of his band members commits a cardinal sin punishable by death by playing a rather odd cover of Coldplay’s Yellow, perhaps the most bizarre moment of the whole festival for me, but because the rest of the set was so good I’m sure it can be forgiven this once. As Mac closes out the set with a rousing version of Still Together, we meander across the festival site with a similar grin to that which Mac himself possesses.
That inexplicable excitement that has filled us is only compounded by the arrival of Sleaford Mods. Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson take to the stage as a huge swarm of people has engulfed the tiny Adidas Originals stage. An obvious highlight of the day and a much longer set this time featuring A Little Ditty, Bunch of Cunts, Jobseeker and Jolly Fucker. Primavera does attract a large portion of British music fans yet tonight it’s a truly international audience.
Their impact is huge and rightly so, few artists capture and display raw emotion like them, and for all Sleaford Mods claiming not to be politically charged and I firmly believe they’re not. Yet I can never help but think it incites some political feelings within me, but I don’t want to turn this into a dissection of the potential political underpinning of their work. What I do want to convey is how utterly brilliant tonight is, such feelings are echoed later as one of my musical idols Steve Albini declares them the best band in the world.
Moving on from one moving set to another, we turn the corner to find a lone figure occupying the Pitchfork stage. Nashville’s Torres is currently serenading a growing crowd of followers; her soft tones mixed with her aggressive guitar are astounding. To command such a large stage on your own with irreverent ease would be a task in itself but to do it with such conviction and beauty takes this lady to a whole new level. The delicacy of her tracks are a complete contrast to the scathing assault from Sleaford Mods yet one that is near par in its overall affect.
I’m still finding it incessantly hard to comprehend the barrage of incredible bands. Even after three days they keep coming thicker and faster. Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a band whose new album is garnering acclaim across the board. Their paradigmatic shift in sound has heavily influenced tonight’s set with a plethora of tracks from Multi-Love, it’s easy to be drawn into Ruben’s entrancing sounds.
Having listened to the album on repeat, hearing these tracks live compounds Multi-Love’s utter brilliance. Necessary Evil is an undoubted highlight as is Stage Or Screen. Older tracks get an airing but these seem to be bolstered by new layers of instrumentation.
As Unknown Mortal Orchestra end, we once again just turn a corner and are confronted by a band that are fast becoming ones to watch, taking up a slot on the Pitchfork stage are local favourites MOURN . Having already won the hearts of Pitchfork, they released their debut album on local label Sones and subsequently Captured Tracks – remember the name MOURN.
At the tender ages of 15 and 18 this quintet are tearing apart the stage, as yet another huge crowd amasses despite the impending appearance of The Strokes elsewhere and rightly so. Their brand of indie rock is impeccably executed and untainted, there’s something rather refreshing and exciting about them. Yet only time will tell.
Swiftly moving on again though to another legendary band, this time in the form of Babes In Toyland who open up in ferocious form, but unfortunately they seem to be plagued by technical demons. Despite the stop start nature of the early part of the set, Spit To See The Shine sees them find their impeccable groove and has this huge crowd rocking in no time.
Katja’s presence has everyone swooning, her venomous delivery of these harsh lyrics is intense and brutal. Their set seems to fly by as Swamp Pussy and He’s My Thing have everyone falling over themselves with excitement, it’s the most vicious and merciless set that I’ve experienced across the entire festival, yet definitely one of the best.
From a set filled with ferocity to one underpinned with excitement and insane happiness as Merrill Garbus comes on with Tune-Yards. What ensues is one of the most uplifting festival sets I’ve ever experienced. Not known for their downbeat tracks, Tune-Yards thrill the crowd with their obvious hits including Water Fountain, Bizness and Gangsta.
You’d be hard pushed to find anyone who’s not smiling, laughing or dancing throughout their performance as the whole crowd join in with the wonderful party atmosphere. By the end of their slot, I’m left in complete awe of Tune-Yards. As the fatigue really begins to take hold they’ve given me what feel like super powers to continue on into the wee hours.
With my new found super powers I find myself at the front of yet another packed crowd awaiting the arrival of festival stalwarts Shellac, a tight knit setup greets them. They’re almost on top of the crowd as the drum kit is pushed right to the edge and from the off though this trio are in impeccable form. As the volume is turned up to eleven they slay this crowd, with effortless ease. It’s an astounding spectacle, one that the scheduling gods should have considered when putting Thee Oh Sees on at the same time.
Alas though with a heavy heart we trudge the dangerous concrete steps once more, leaving behind us Shellac who are in wholly destructive form. John Dwyer is another festival regular. His new band is now operating under the Thee Oh Sees moniker and comprises of two incredible drummers and a bassist.
The added power of which nearly tears my ear drums upon their first blast, opening with I Come From The Mountain, I’m already glad I made the ascent up the stairs. Dwyer is bouncing around the stage in his usual over excited manner, thrilling this packed crowd. The set features a chunk of new tunes from Mutilator Defeated At Last. Web is easily becoming one of the stand out tracks of the set alongside so many others. A total whirlwind of excitement and intensity.
Having decided that my super powers had worn off, we call it a night there unfortunately leaving behind Hookworms and Caribou to continue the party. An 8:00am pick up time is too strong a pull, sleep wins over music this time as it is already 3:00am.
As we put Primavera to bed for another year we’re left with a plethora of memories from Cinerama, Albert Hammond Jr,, The Replacements, Sleater Kinney, Belle and Sebastian, Ex Hex, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sleaford Mods and capping it all of Thee Oh Sees. Primavera once again proved it has one of the best line ups and one of the most forward thinking. We for sure will be back at the Parc Del Forum for the sixteenth instalment of this insane festival in 2016!