Thursday 4 June 2015

Primavera Sound 2015 Day 1

We heard many good things about the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona and decided to check it out for ourselves. Buying a plane ticket and reserving a hotel on top of festival tickets doesn't exactly make it a cheap experience but for that you get one of Europe's finest cities thrown in as well. And the line-up didn't look bad either so we hopped onto that plane and found ourselves eating tapas a few hours later on Wednesday night.

Primavera Sound 2015 Day 1 May 28 2015

Fortunately the weather forecast couldn't be better and after renting bikes we are cycling through the lovely Spanish city bathing in sun light. We got tickets to the free Interpol show at the Sala Apolo club as well so after picking up our wristbands at the festival site at Parc del Fòrum, eating paella at the beach (oh yes we did) we're on our way to the club in the city center.

Interpol @ Sala Apolo
The Apolo club is a medium sized club that can hold around 1200 visitors. After we head into the dark club and let our eyes get used to the dark we notice it doesn't really fill up. This is great since we can get a beer within seconds and find a great spot on the floor to watch the dark band from New York. After seeing them live last year just before the release of their latest album El Pintor I was anticipating a good show. They found their form again and the album is prove of that. Live they are in great shape as well as they prove today. In their usual somewhat detached manner they play many new songs with some fan favourites scattered through their set.

The somewhat gloomy lighting fits the music well with abstract visuals adding to the mysterious atmosphere. The band is playing focused and you can see they are used to playing larger stages, making large gestures. Guitar player Daniel Kessler is moving around a lot, sometimes turning around to see his band mates in the back who are now only a few meters away. Singer Paul Banks is lit up by bright spot lights occasionally where you can see him staring into the distance. It may be the intimate surroundings and the unique opportunity of seeing this band on a small stage up close, but it's probably one of the best Interpol shows I've scene. Great start of this festival.

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When we arrive at the festival ground with its alienating concrete and futuristic look, we find our friends at the Cheetahs show who are halfway their set at the small but cosy Adidas stage. Their fuzzy shoegaze music sounds pretty good and they have some nice songs. But the band needs to work on their stage presence that looks quite uninspired and doesn't exactly get the crowd wild.

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Viet Cong
Things seem to go well for Viet Cong that besides some controversy on their name are gaining more and more fans with their music. Quite a big crowd has gathered to watch them play in the sun on the Pitchfork stage. Playing many shows is paying off since they sound more together and the show has more tempo keeping the momentum. And of course they end with another vicious version of that great song 'Death'.

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The Replacements
To be honest I don't know The Replacements too well, except I have heard of their "indie veterans" status. When bands like this come back together for a reunion I tend to be a bit sceptical but there's no need to. The band is playing their rock songs well and with a lot of enthusiasm, making them sound solid and convincing. Their energetic and lively stage presence results in a very entertaining show and quite a big crowd which is well deserved.

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Mikal Cronin
One of the gigs I'm really looking forward to is Mikal Cronin's. He just released his third album MCIII that is getting mixed reviews but I like it a lot. His fuzzy pop sound has deepened and sounds even better now. Live on stage he has grown even more. He looks more relaxed on stage and his music sounds very convincing today. The new songs blend in perfectly with the older ones. It all sounds very fresh and lively which is creating great vibes among the excited crowd. I'm really looking forward to his show in Amsterdam later this month.

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We wander off from the Ray Ban stage and find ourselves at the ATP stage where Spiritualized are already playing. What starts out as something almost gospel-like turns into a psychedelic Southern soul, Americana and Krautrock show that sounds pretty nice. There's hardly any interaction with the crowd but singer and guitarist Jason Pierce is calmly playing the songs, backed up by two lovely singers adding the soul. In the end it is coming across like some kind of soulful mix of Lou Reed meets Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

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The Black Keys
Today's headliner The Black Keys no longer take the stage just the two of them, but are now a quartet when playing live. The complementing two members are a bit hidden to the back in the dark though, which I always find a bit unfair. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are putting down a solid show playing many of their hits. They simply have many good songs that are still sounding great although by now everyone knows exactly what they are going to get. So their are no surprises in this set that is running smoothly but also kind of on routine.

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The Ray Ban stage is the perfect setting for last year's hype Jungle. They have brought their own lighting plan showing bright lit up letters spelling their name. The music of the seven person band is actually the brain child of Josh Lloyd-Warson and Tom McFarland, or J and T, who are at the front on the stage in the middle. There's a big turn up and everyone is in the mood for dancing, which is exactly what they are going to get. The danceable soul music is perfect for some good times on the dance floor while downing a few cervezas or vinos. It sounds great as well but like the album all songs sound very much alike. It makes you feel you are dancing to the same track all the time. But tonight that is fine and so we keep on shaking it to the tropical and smooth music.

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Since the festival's program starts late in the afternoon it keeps on going until early in the morning. However since we're not too keen on all the DJs and dance acts we decide to call it a day and cycle back home in the cool Spanish sea breeze for a good night's sleep.

More Pictures

Primavera Sound Day 2
Primavera Sound Day 3

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