Our Friday starts tentatively with A Sunny Day In Glasgow, who nicely surprised those only in the vicinity of the Pitchfork stage to avail of the relatively quiet queues for the drink token booths. The upbeat shoegaze sounds are a nice start to the day, and lead us nicely into the finale of The New Pornographers who continue the guitar-pop mood of the evening and ease into Day 2 of Primavera Sound.
From there it’s a matter of sampling some of Best Coast who chill us out nicely prior to Beach House on ATP. Having discovered the Americans with their superb sophomore effort ‘Devotion,’ my desire to see them live was only heightened by this year’s superb ‘Teen Dream,’ and I’m not alone. The venue is packed beyond capacity for this beautiful set, which, while note perfect, was somewhat spoiled by the amount of chatter. Once again it’s a case of not seeing a band you like at a festival. A trip to Vicar St may be necessary.
We hang around ATP for Les Savy Fav who tore up the same venue two years ago. Once again a topless Tim Harrington stage dives, shimmys, dances and marshals the crowd as in 2007, and energises another set that will have won over many new fans.
From there it’s Pixies time. This set has divided opinions, but from where we were sounding it was an absolute winner. Yes, Francis Black seemed to be going through the motions, but when the motions involve such a stunning back catalogue, those popping their Pixies live cherry will be hard pressed to complain. On the plus side the band sounded excellent, a really tight performance of hits and for what it’s worth, Kim Deal seem chuffed.
From 3am on it’s dance time, and we return to ATP to join those reveling to DJ Barry Hogan. At this stage spirits are very high and the beer buzz doesn’t wear off until we’re on the beach at 8am. God help us on Saturday…
It’s guesslist’s third consecutive year at Primavera, and it is evident by the Departure Lounge at Cork Airport that Barcelona will once again become a pilgrimage site for hundreds of Irish festival goers.
The combination of the line-up, the location and the value for money relative to Irish events continues to be a draw, though the last factor is obviously made a reality by the huge product placement and sponsorship advertising throughout the Parc Del Forum site.
Our festival kicks off on Thursday with a madcap performance of the near-naked Monotonix on the Vice stage. Starting their set in the crowd, their warm-up consists of lead singer and guitarist slinging beer at each other – then the real madness begins. Stage-diving off drum kits, playing blistering rock in every possible section of the crowd (including bringing equipment into the seated area) they kick our Primavera off with a bang.
Stopping for food (the less of which is said about the €8 burger the better), we take in an impressive set from Titus Andronicus who inject a new life into guitar led punk/postpunk/whateveryourhavingyourself and will have won over new fans this week (this one included).
‘Are they good live?’ a friend who has just discovered The xx asks as we head to the Ray Ban stage. Their performance sums them up perfectly – note perfect replication of their eponymous debut, zero stage presence. This is fine, if you know what you’re getting yourself into but the Londoners lose alot of the crowd. They are a perfect example of a band that benefit more from playing to a crowd in a dedicated gig, rather than a solid festival act. By the background chatter of disinterested punters, this impression is shared by many.
We kill time by checking out a bit of Superchunk who seem to be pleasing the big turnout, before hitting Broken Social Scene. It’s a mixed performance, mad cap at times and overall a bit disjointed but a fine array of songs from across the new album and favoruites such as ‘You Forgot It In People’ make it worthwhile.
The same can’t be said for The Big Pink who somehow prove to be a decent draw to the Pitchfork stage despite being terribly dull. The next close to two hours, however, are all about Pavement. Having read recent reviews of their Dublin show which suggested a disinterested performance by Steve Malkmus, I was delighted to see a guitar-swinging, joking Malkmus throw hit after hit into the crowd. It’s a real highlight to jump around to opener ‘Cut Your Hair’ and a finishing with the likes of ‘Stereo,’ ‘Two States,’ ‘Range Life’ and an encore of ‘Gold Soundz’ ‘Shady Lane’ and ‘Stop Breathin”.
From there we dance to Delorean before crashing at Moderat who are uninvolving – or maybe it’s the fact that it’s 4am. Round two begins in twelve hours…
Added on 15 March 2010
The second single off You Can Make Sound is given the video treatment, complete with some nifty animation and special effects.