I promised David I’d write something about the Primavera Sound experience. He didn’t go, so I guess I’ll do a run-through just to be a bit cheeky.
First off. Barcelona wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be. 22° Celsius with a slight and constant breeze is pretty nice. Second. Beer is good, but it becomes a bit boring when you don’t get to choose your brand or have to stand in line to buy beer tickets before heading for the cold Estrella Damm at the bar. Third. I’ll agree with a smart co-worker of mine, smorgasbord is nice, but not three days straight. Just too many bands! Give me more days and fewer stages instead (6 stages is a bit much when they all have several good bands a night, or at least the four smaller ones).
We arrived the previous Sunday, so we had some time to see the city beforehand. With that done, we could concentrate on the essentials during the festival (food, drink, swimming and bands). We still managed to miss Reigning Sound and Intelligence, since they played a club in town.
Thursday was our first festival day. Pretty excited the lot of us, and arrived at the futuristic concrete park by the sea just in time to see Magik Markers run through a half decent set. Not much to remember. Ran over to another stage for Spectrum. The former spaceman did the trick, and pretty much ruined most other bands that night. A really good gig, and the man seemed to be in a good mood rocking away pretty straight up.
Next up was Marnie Stern who’s latest records I’ve played over and over and over again the last couple of months, and she was good, but not as good as I’d hoped. Expectation is a bitch. Still really good. Caught a bit of good old Lightning Bolt playing a big stage, a bit weird, but a bit nice at the same time. Hung around to see Jesus Lizard do a good gig, but I’m a bit ashamed about not knowing their material well enough to fully get it. A small lie-down in the grass afterwards made me ready for My Bloody Valentine, and I got to see a few songs of Dead Meadow first. Will catch them the next time around I guess.
MBV kinda did the same set as the last time I saw them, but with worse sound. Still amazing of course, but I found myself a bit spent towards the middle of the feedback part. A large part of the evening I was running around by myself, so I was happy to get to meet up with my friends for a few songs of the catastrophe gig by Wavves. Headed home in good mood anyway (good mood until we realized the key to the apartment got lost somewhere and we had to wake up some friends in town to sleep on their floor, by that time we all were a bit pissed off).
Friday was the big Pitchfork stage day. Came just in time to get a good spot – stage left – before Crystal Stilts went on (marked the spot with a Deleted Art-sticker). Vivian Girls came on just after them, and to be honest, I love both bands, but they got a bit tedious after a few songs. Might been the early night, but I just felt they can’t really put on a good show. Second time Crystal Stilts. First time Vivian Girls.
Spiritualized on the other hand knows how to get you’re attention, and keep it. Even on an outdoors stage in daylight. I’m a big fan, so I wasn’t surprised. Might be a bit biased, but i loved it. He just stood there as usual, and the songs just poured out of him and his fellow band members. The choir girls are a big plus as well. Nicely done Spaceman (and here I apologise to anyone who reads and attended the show. We should’ve been punched for yelling We love you Jason between every single song).
After the congregation dissolved we headed back to the Pitchfork stage for some Crystal Antlers. Good gig, good show. They know their stuff, and they do it so well. Did the last song together with the Vivian Girls. Nice touch. Love that about festivals. Mae-Shi was on straight after, but by then our small crew started spreading out, so that was a bit of a bummer, trying to watch a really good, dancey, show by a fave band, and at the same time trying to keep in touch with others. Aces anyway. Love those guys, and they seem to get better all the time.
The Dan Deacon Ensemble was 14 guys in white overalls hitting things everywhere and Dan himself. Kind of. Had looked forward to this gig the most I think, and for some reason I didn’t enjoy it fully. I could see that they did everything right, and Dan was doing his tricks out in the audience and all, but hey, sometimes things don’t click (I hugged the dude anyway, just for being awesome). A bummer since everyone else seemed to love it. Got it together enough to cath the four last song of what seemed to be an amazing gig by A Certain Ratio. They were a lot more dance-oriented than I expected, and that was just what I needed. We didn’t have the stamina to wait for Mahjongg, so we called it a night.
Saturday came and we decided to head in later, just to get to sit in and have a nice meal. Missed a few good bands, but nothing major.
Neil Young was our first act of the evening, some of us went in front. Two of us couldn’t be bothered so we positioned ourselves in a backstage bar and listened to the old mans nice songs for a while until it was time for Oneida. Been waiting a long time to get to see them live, and it was good fun, but at the same time, the sheer volume kind of messed up the nuances. Too bad, but it happens. Especially at festivals.
Liars was next, and I had no worries. They’re the best band in the world for me everytime I see them live. Didn’t even matter that I didn’t dig the last record much. They’ve slayed most times I’ve seen them since. Not this time. It was like a mockery, like it wasn’t really Liars, but a band doing they’re song wearing costumes. No magic at all. Sad story. Tragic.
I’m so glad I decided on Gang Gang Dance after that. Sonic Youth and Ghostface Killah where on at the same time, but I had a good feeling about GGD. Accompanied by a convinced girlfriend I had a blast. So good. We both just stood there and listened to the brilliant music slowly pumping out from the dark, often dark green stage. Lizzy was barely visible, and it was somewhat magical. It suddenly hit me that this was not only the last, but surely the best gig of the entire festival.
There Dave, there you have it. Coming next year right?
/ Mikael Nordlander.