With being a somewhat Primavera veteran, at least compared to my contributors attending the festival this year, I decided to let them take the writing and actually cut loose and enjoy myself, well why change what happens every year – the wear and tear of a 7am finish and the seemingly constant drilling around Barcelona fair takes it out of you.
Anyway this year Nick Ramsey took over reviewing duties to give you a newbie’s view on the festival, however we did manage to see a whole plethora of different acts, due to the constant array of clashes the festival throws up (more a nod to the festival’s constant impeccable line up rather than poor organisation), so I decided to input some of my own takes on the festival, those will be the one’s in bold– so here goes:
Again I head down earlier than my counterpart but not as early as I’d wanted missing Mas Ysa, John Grant and Julia Holter in the process, still Loop aren’t a band I was prepared to miss and the band that stole the show at the final ever ATP in November return to ATP Stage and deliver a powerhouse display in the early evening torrential rain, it’s doesn’t go down quite as well on a rain soaked daylight of Barcelona, but it’s still a strong start to possibly the weakest day of the festival.
Massachusetts rockers Speedy Ortiz don’t really translate too well on the festival stage, I really enjoyed last year’s Major Arcana and recent EP Real Hair was a nice progression but their sound is much better suited to smaller, more intimate settings and their vibe is somewhat lost in the open setting of the Pitchfork stage.
Catching Dr. John and The Nite Trippers at the Ray-Ban stage is a bit of an off putting, I genuinely hope he’s saying “find a solution” and not what it sounded like, so I pop along to catch the end of Speedy Ortiz myself and will look forward to seeing them in basement in the near future.
Playing to what genuinely feels like a hometown crowd given the number of Scottish accents everywhere, The Twilight Sad tear through a triumphant set of hits from all of their records, including a particularly intense ‘I Became A Prostitute’.
Frontman James Graham looks and sounds genuinely emotional as he thanks the crowd for coming, looking close to tears as the band began build up to their cathartic closer ‘Three Seconds of Dead Air’; the finest Scottish performance of the weekend, The Twilight Sad leave their contemporaries in the dust
Slowdive are probably the best band I saw all weekend, after going on hiatus almost twenty years ago, it must be surreal to playing to such a huge audience as a part of your comeback shows.
The sound production is pretty much perfect and the band plays an array of material, including tracks from seminal album Soulvaki; we really hope this isn’t the last of their comeback shows, as their set is nothing short of incredible.
I catch about half of the Pixies and am really disappointed, I suppose they are something of a mismatch in terms of line-up, particularly now that Kim Deal is no longer with the band; they seem like something of a parody of themselves and their set comes across as pretty lazy and lifeless, a real shame.
On the other hand, The National are a band in their absolute prime, playing a two hour headlining set, the band pour out an emotional rollercoaster of material, including songs from last year’s AOTY, for me and many others ‘Trouble Will Find Me’.
Matt Berninger is on form and the crowd is electric, particular highlights include ’Graceless’, ‘Conversation 16’ and ‘This is The Last Time’, cameos from Justin Vernon and The Walkmen make this truly a set to remember.
I decided to opt out of both Pixies and The National cos well Rave Child has covered them both live before and the journey over to the Heineken and Sony stages is a bit of a buzz kill and because after midnight and it’s my birthday and The War On Drugs are on at the Pitchfork Stage delivering an enlightening lo-fi set of enchanting indie rock.
Darkside are arguably the highlight of the night, after Slowdive that is, and Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington don’t fail at flairing up the dancing at the Ray-Ban stage, and the delivery gets right on the beat rather than the slow building behemoth we witnessed at The Art School in March.
The massive circular mirror does however make a welcome return and gives the Barcelona crowd a spectacle to look at as the duo get us in the spirit to finishing the night with the dub filled SBTRKT at the chilly ATP stage, the high octane foot mover that is Factory Floor and the destructive techno of continentals favourite Laurent Garnier.