The final day of Primavera Sound kicked off in a dehydrated panic after realising we’d slept in. Ponytail are about to play a midday session in the Joan Miro Park, so we dive out of bed and into a taxi. Arriving a couple of songs in, the loveliness of the outdoor setting is very much enhanced by a great set (check our video, new song?) combined with ice cream and lots of sunshine. Every day should start like this! [Ronan]
On the other stage of the park are Bowerbirds, who play gorgeous folky melodies with a some nice slide guitar playing and accordions aplenty. I’m not too familiar with their music but in this setting it sounds pretty much perfect. Next are Sleepy Sun; but despite being very impressed by them at ATP on Day 2, it’s time to make tracks back to the Forum. We head to the metro as the sound of tambourines and maracas drift away into the Spanish afternoon from across the park. [Ronan]
Back on festival grounds, I watch half of Alena Diane’s set in the auditorium, but never really get into it. The soft, wistful elements of her recordings sound a lot more countryish onstage, especially when her backing band join in and and add a sort of cowboy feel to the show. Bar a couple of songs like White as Diamonds; I’m not really feeling it, so I wander off to explore the other stages. [Ronan]
On Pitchfork the The Lions Constellation have an early slot and a sparse crowd, but they make a decent show of some broody rock, steeped in JAMC cool and garagey riffs. ATP meanwhile plays host to the glam rock synth extravaganza that is Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti… Vamped up in eyeliner and a multicoloured tunic; Ariel’s show reminds me of some sort of Garth Marenghi music video. It’s an endearing mess, but musically it gets a bit tiresome. [Ronan]
On the expansive Rockdeluxe, we witness a performance from Chad VanGaalen that can only be described as a let down. With a band comprised of fellow Calgary-men Women; he toys around with his songs until he seems to end up confusing even himself. Phoned-in and disinterested, a hungover VanGaalen doesn’t do justice to his solid back catalogue, with Soft Airplane being one of my most listened albums in advance of the festival. [Joe]
Herman Dune follows up with a cheerful set that suits the laid back mood of the crowd, his songs being in both Spanish and English helping to unite a large crowd in approval. At the back, the universal appeal of the band’s music is represented by an enthusiastic baby who does his best to steal the focus from the stage. [Joe]
From there we join the huge crowd at main stage to soak up the last of the day’s sunshine to the sound of none other than Neil Young. It’s an idyllic setting, and a great performance that sees the audience more than willing to indulge new material on the promise of classics. Young’s croon is captivating on moments like The Needle and The Damage Done, his guitar playing epic on Cortez the Killer. We stick around close to 2 hours for numbers like Mother Earth and Heart of Gold, but miss out on his encore of The Beatle’s A Day in The Life. [J & R]
Heading down the steps of the Ray Ban/Vice stage feels like descending into another world. The darkness is densely crammed with pretty much everyone who wasn’t at Neil Young (all the other stages were shut for a 3 hour period to facilitate Shakey’s headline slot). A lot of people appear confused, others ecstatic; for Oneida are playing somewhere amid this throng and they sound huge. Their meandering songs take in a wide array of styles; krautrock, psychedelia and noise coming together in long repetitive grooves that at times seem to overstretch the attentions of the crowd. For a psych fan such as myself, this is pretty much heaven! [Ronan]
Next we head to RockDelux to see how Deerhunter handle a big stage. Their billing, along with Phoenix on the first day, draws a crowd the likes I’ve never seen at the setting, and they take to it with aplomb. A healthy mix of tunes from the new EP, Microcastle and Cryptograms keep everyone happy, with highlights being the bass heavy Octet and the awesome wig out of Nothing Ever Happens. [Joe]
Sonic Youth feel like unofficial curators of the festival – so many of the bands here bear testament to the influence and evolution of the New Yorker’s music and attitude. Their last appearance 2 years ago saw them revisit Daydream Nation in it’s entirety, now they bring The Eternal to Barcelona. New songs dominate the setlist, which makes for hit or miss moments; album strengths like What We Know and Antenna sound right at home amid older classics like Hey Joni and Bull in The Heather. They play 4 numbers off Daydream Nation, including a back-to-back double whammy of The Sprawl and ‘Cross the Breeze. With Mark Ibold of Pavement fame now a fixture on bass, Kim Gordon is more to the fore as a front-woman while Lee and Thurston assault their guitars in trademark SY fashion. They finish their encore with an apocalyptic version of Expressway to Yr Skull, the song that Neil Young once described as the greatest ever guitar song, like Young; SY look like a band who’ll keep on going forever. [Ronan]
By now the second wind has hit. We dance off to Simian Mobile Disco and some great visuals before hitting Pitchfork one last time for some A-Track and DJ Mehdi. By now everyone is in messy dancing bliss, and when a remix of Jape’s Floating is played a sizable portion of the crowd go wild. How many non-Irish are here? [Joe]
It’s time for bed by 5.30 am, and we leave exhausted but satisfied at another great Primavera Sound experience. Word of mouth will spread around Ireland once again and who knows, next year the question might be much different to reflect the demographics of the event.
That brings to a close the final part of our Primavera review. It’s taken us awhile to get it all together, but overall it was another fantastic festival experience and we’ve got nothing but great things to say. Hopefully we’ll see you back there next year!