Primavera - review

My first time – a few observations:

  1. I hadn’t been to a city festival quite like this before. I think I certainly missed the camping dimension and the communal spirit in a remote field. I prefer smaller gatherings as a rule. This was completely anonymous and you were conscious you had to get back home in a rare as hen’s teeth taxi. It meant your full focus had to be on the music and the times rather than the usual escapist fun & games in the woods.
  2. It was however superbly organised. The guide was clear, the bands were on time, the toilets were futuristic, the staff were relaxed and the sound was excellent – especially on the main stage and in the Bowers & Wilkins marquee.
  3. ‘Ghostbuster’ beer vendors are life-savers.
  4. Beard count – lower than expected. Quite a few Ritchie Hawtin ‘Hitler’ flicks though.
  5. Crowd: 50% British 30% Spanish 20% Other. The Brits divided into two groups: 1. The nerds 2. The poseurs. I liked the nerds. I hated the poseurs. Too many of the latter talking through gigs or down to staff. In. Slow. English. (W*nkers). Generally low dickhead count on the whole although people pretending to be cops or have an epilepetic fit in order to open a path through a packed crowd is really not cool. Mercifully only saw 3 homemade flags – listed under hoverboards and selfie sticks in my ‘ban them forever’ petition.
  6. Radiohead still deserve the hype all these years later. There’s no point being contrary or clever about this. We were mesmerised for two hours. People around me were crying during No Surprises. People sang along to Burn The Witch as though it were an old classic. It came out in April. Unexpected encore of ‘Creep’. One of the outstanding gigs and I thought Goldfrapp at the Royal Albert Hall could never be topped. Fuzzy rock and delicate electronica like nobody else I’ve ever heard. My mind briefly harked back to a gig they did back in Exeter in 1993, which would’ve cost me £2 with an NUS card. I couldn’t be arsed that night. Too indie I sneered. How wrong I was.
  7. LCD Soundsystem – huge turnout at the main stage for this. The reference points are obvious – undeniable nods to The Fall, Bowie, Talking Heads but James Murphy has his own unique ashen faced charm. They ploughed through the hits. The crowd roared each time. I’ve followed them for years now and the transformation from art-house in-joke to international acclaim has been remarkable. I remembered hearing Yeah at 333 in Shoreditch in the early 00s and thinking their DFA label was the most exciting thing to happen to dance music in ages. Slightly disappointed they didn’t play part 3 of the 45/33 EP and they unnecessarily brought the mood down with New York I Love You but the highlight was the frenzied freak outs, those long extended jams with an imperious Nancy Whang on piano, music which at times bordered on the psychedelic.
  8. Brian Wilson – He played the Good Vibrations LP in entirety. Not for the first time in my life I bemoaned the fact Barcelona faces East because a sunset soundtracked by God Only Knows would have been special. As he sang it, someone’s helium balloon escaped into the air. It was a beautiful moment. Despite this I felt uncomfortable watching the gig – a heritage band led by a troubled man going through the motions. One for the ‘completists’ perhaps?
  9. Air – perhaps the only real programming mistake of the weekend. Thursday night – people wanted kickdrums not gentle melodies. Much as I loved Moon Safari, it just felt too horizontal and people were drifting off. Only at the end did the band really work the moogs for La Femme D’Argent.
  10. Tame Impala – dreamy Australian psych. All very nice and happy-clappy and the confetti was a nice touch but it got a bit samey and we left for..
  11. John Carpenter – utterly brilliant – and probably the surprise star of the festival. I am a sucker for film scores, the camper and more dramatic the better. He narrated each one. The band behind him were excellent. The sudden guitar bursts at times felt like an assault on the senses.
  12. Boredoms – File under Japan, avant-garde and weird. Two drummers, a keyboardist and someone making sounds using a wire. I tried to get into it. And failed.
  13. Six Organs of Admittance – band name of the weekend.
  14. The Last Shadow Puppets – they were doomed to be on after Radiohead. I think one of them was in the Arctic Monkeys. Two minutes I’ll never retrieve.
  15. Beak – Most probably on it too.
  16. Destroyer – actually had high hopes for this lot because I liked Bay of Pigs a few years back but they were an incoherent shambles, eventually playing to five people and a discarded burger.
  17. The DJs – we left the ravey side of things till the last night. The Bowers & Wilkins system was superb. An open plan marquee on a mini-site in itself accessed across a pedestrian bridge with views of the marina below. It was in the shadow of a huge solar panel and a concrete structure to the right which all felt a bit brutalist. It somehow reminded me of a scene in one of the Hitchcock films where a man is seen running up a slope against an similarly imposing backdrop. I didn’t dwell on this for too long though. Most of the DJs were new to me. Someone called Dave P banged it out early on. It’s a marathon not a sprint I thought, alas a shame no one told him. He was followed by Suzanne Kraft who I was startled to discover was a man. DJ Richard and Daniel Baughman took it deeper – at times it sounded very Innervisions – that driving, neo-operatic groove which is synonymous with the Germans. A chap called Cleveland played a live set. Really rather beautiful at times. No idea who he is but he deserves a wider audience. Then Lena Willikens went full throttle techno. At times it was perhaps techno overload for these jaded old ears – very little respite and absolutely nothing I recognised. We faded before I-F came on. A tragedy but 8 hours sleep in 3 days finally caught up.
  18. No black artists on the bill at all. Shocking really.
  19. Miaow Miaow – it’s back.
  20. Will we return? – possibly but Spain needs more smaller-scale festivals in the great outdoors to appeal to my kind. Primavera’s over, now bring on Verano.
ha - I mean last summer there were way more beards in town!

serious number of Sonic Youth tshirts this year too

loadsa girls in high jean shorts

mostly older crowd so not too many snapbacks


Super Moderator
The Last Shadow Puppets – they were doomed to be on after Radiohead. I think one of them was in the Arctic Monkeys. Two minutes I’ll never retrieve.


Well-Known Member
they're dire. they were lucky with the massive hype when social media was in its infancy.
i would have to argue they are boom. listen to alex's lyrics you cant deny he can write a good pop song. more interesting stuff than noel gallagher i woud say. im guess you dont rate him either lol

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
i would have to argue they are boom. listen to alex's lyrics you cant deny he can write a good pop song. more interesting stuff than noel gallagher i woud say. im guess you dont rate him either lol

Anything is more interesting than Noel Gallagher (musically).