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Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Day 4

  • Written by  Stef Siepel


Anyone who has partied hard three days already (including having gone through some strenuous travelling including an impending 4-hour-but-luckily-just-1 delay), knows that when day 4 comes around, chances are your body starts to suggest, Honey, you calm down a bit. There’s no stopping us though, as we are right on time for The Bohicas playing the Adidas Originals stage. They provide a riff heavy brand of rock, with some nice dashes of pop, including some almost Beach Boys-like vocal lines done by the lot of them in unison. The songs are nice, and some of the guitar and bass lines are pretty nifty. The one thing is, you don’t always get their full effect, as there’s always some sort of wall-o-sound to tie all the instruments together. Or, if you want to look at it less positively, obscure some of it. A cleaner sound with more patience would, in my mind, suit some of the riffs and solos a bit better, they would have a better chance to really come out and be heard.

When the soccer fans start hauling benches across to put them in front of the big screen showing the cup final between Atletico and Barcelona, we know it is time to chuck our food out and get going to the main stages. We look on from a distance as Foxygen do their combination of proper songs and dinner theater, as the band goes full throttle both in terms of playing + dancing and putting on a show. Sure, it might not be for everyone (and I can imagine that some people will feel properly alienated by the craziness of it all), but if you don’t mind a bit of proper American rock & roll theater (like yours truly), this is an act you might want to catch on their farewell tour.

Interpol has become well big, so big even that we need to queue in time to get a proper place to see them, which I avoid doing in my own country as they’re playing those soulless venues with too big of a capacity. Interpol has always been one of my favorite bands, having seen them for the first time in 2005 and a couple of times since. The first two albums are among my favorites, though my favorite song is ‘Pioneer To The Falls’, the opening track of their third album. Almost all songs after, I’m not too big on, and I think that the loss of Carlos D. also hurt them in the eye candy department. Sure, Daniel Kessler and his elastic legs is fun to watch from time to time, and Paul Banks has a certain frontman charm, especially when he dishes out some proper Spanish to be jealous of. I was always right in front of Carlos though, who was always so elegant and mysterious you couldn’t help but look at the man.

Imagine my surprise that this Interpol performance was everything I could have hoped for at the current point of their career. They played all my personal favorites (‘Leif Erikson’, ‘The New’, ‘Pioneer To The Falls’), and the amount of new songs are kept to a minimum. The renditions are completely fine, with Paul Banks sounding as good as ever (apart from the first song, which had me worried there for a second), and the atmosphere is amazing. I’m surrounded by people well into the band, and everyone is clapping, singing, rocking their heads, and no one is talking, being bored, or pushing their way up front. It is the kind of performance that you’re hoping to get from a band you were massively into for a long period of time and who you haven’t seen live for a while.

Tune-Yards I have seen fairly recently though, and here the band is in fine form. The vocals are still strong, the percussion is well taken care of, and the tracks are still as characteristically Tune-Yards as they’ve ever been. Songs like ‘Waterfountain’ and ‘Gangsta’ still hold up well. The choreographed bits seem to be surprisingly without energy, and either I am in need of a Red Bull (or some form of caffeine hit) or the band is. When I saw them last November there seemed to be an aura of fun hanging around the band that, although they’re playing well, seems to be missing a bit here. Still, it’s a band unique in what they’re doing, and it’s still sounding and looking good, even if there’s a bit of a spark missing tonight.

Ideally, I would then go on to be dancing to John Talabot’s special disco set. But the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System stage, though having been expanded upon from last year, is still too small for the amount of people who like their slice of disco dancing, so we find ourselves unable to get in. From the outskirts of town I do hear a couple of superb disco tunes, as I’m sitting shaking my little program-booklet-turned-fan in the most disco way I can. And this is real disco, old school disco, diva vocals with bass and beat dancefloor disco. It would have been the absolute perfect way to end an amazing four day music stint in Barcelona, but alas, I’m left hoping for this man to take his super special disco set on the road (and preferably, to my home town of Nijmegen).

Though the perfect ending wasn’t to be (not to mention the delayed plane, the railroad detour due to maintenance, and the short night that would follow), this was again a trip well worth taking. From personal favorites like The Juan Maclean and Interpol to heavyweight performances of people I had never seen before, like Patti Smith, Belle & Sebastian and OMD; there was so much good music to be found on whatever side of the music spectrum you wanted to get your fix for. A slice of cheesy synths? No problem! An American classic, there it is. Some super modern R&B? Why, of course! Or how about some super tight house music? Primavera serves up a platter that manages to quench whatever craving I might have musically, and they do so with a quality offering. The perfect weather this time around is a welcome bonus after last year as well, of course, and if I’m so lucky to be able to attend next year, I’d happily sign for an experience like the one I had this time around.

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