The sun was really shining Saturday and I made my way to the forum by way of bike along the Barceloneta beach. I arrived to Real Estate’s set that took me back to another kind of paradise…my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ. Real Estate has the beachy summer sounds that made a perfect pair to the sunny saturday in Barcelona. The afternoon crowd responded to the good feel jams and lyrics “Budweiser, Sprite, Do you feel alright?” while the band was purely giddy to be at Primavera Sound bassist Alex Bleeker announcing “this whole thing is awesome”. I caught a brief set by Atlas Sound who did a nice acoustic rendition of his songs off Logos – even bringing “Walkabout” to life despite the absence of the song’s addictive backing sample.
Next I layed out on a viewing tower behind the field of the San Miguel stage to take in the set from Florence + The Machine. Not familiar with much of their material before the festival, the set was a welcome surprise. More fun pop the anything else, the young brit Florence Welch, lifted her catchy hits off debut album Lungs with her commanding voice rising across the field and bringing in the barcelona sunset.
I last saw Grizzly Bear three years ago at the Pitchfork festival in Chicago, and despite exquisitely sharp songs from the band’s debut Yellow House I left dissapointed. Their sound just didn’t seem to produce on a festival stage like it did on album. As they took the the Ray-Ban stage, it was clear that their ability to captivate a festival crowd has significantly improved, Further their deeper arsenal of hits like Two Weeks and Southern Point satiated the crowd relaxing across the amphitheater.
Built to Spill delivered a tight set at the ATP stage filled with their driven slacker indie jams spanning across albums. BTS a band that influenced my affinity for “indie”, closed out Primavera Sound for me on a high note and reminded me to keep supporting emerging independent artists this year – many of whom will take the stage for Primavera Sound 2011
On Friday the venue swelled with many more people flocking to the Forum to see The Pixies headling show. I started the afternoon at Spoon’s set on San Miguel. It was the first time I saw Spoon and while their was mixed reaction in the crowd, the funky grooves that Britt Daniel and the gang deployed made Spoon was the perfect catalyst to get me revved up again after a late Thursday night. After catching a bit of raucus provided by Spanish rock outfit Mujeres, I caught most of Coco Rosie’s set. Coco Rosie music seems to fall somewhere along the lines of opera and hip hop…opera-hop maybe a suitable classification. The dramatic droning female vocals from Bianca and Sierra Cassidy, layered with a harp, all backed by a French beat boxer made for one of the most interesting sets of the weekend – accompanied by their quite avante-garde video show.
Next up Wilco gave the crowd a long set of polished classics exhibiting their years of experience and ability to lead some drawn out jam sessions. Wilco comes off as one of the most versatile bands that can adjust their size, sound, to meet the needs of a small theater in Chicago to a huge stage out in Barcelona.
The Pixies followed on the main stage to what was the largest crowd of the weekend and one of the best sets. Kim Deal looked incredibly happy while strumming the spinal cord to many of the Pixies songs while Frank Black belted out well dusted hits from Surfer Rosa and Doolittle. The packed crowd wailed back, danced in the space between shoulders, and I think the fair amount of beer being tossed was another sign of pure excitement from the Spanish fans.
Closing out Friday I saw the tail end of Major Lazer’s late night set – which is pure joy and hilarity. Finally, I caught Yeasayer’s 2:30am set filled with their psychadelic-middle eastern-pop gems like “Ambling Alm”, “One” and “2080”. The perfect nightcap for Friday that gave the electric charge for another full day of shows on Saturday.
The Primavera Sound Festival set along the Mediterranean Sea in an urban park in Barcelona, Spain marks the triumphant evolution from summer touring festivals to summer destination festivals.Primavera Sound in its 10th year has perfected its current formula of hosting promising indie musicians alongside pioneering artists, all in a multicultural European city located along the Med and guarded by the Collserola mountain range.
As for the venue itself – the Parc Del Forum is exactly the type of urban park that pulls off an incredible music festival. I must point out that the venue is quit dynamic, as it was hosted an Andalucían Fair a month ago which largely consisted of Sevillana Dancers and Seafood restaurants. For Primavera, the park fit 10 stages across the entire grounds, which all had a unique format and size, and provided comfortable space to get close to the stage, sit within an amphitheater, or just lay out on the grass.
The thousands of attendees from all over the world echoed the diverse lineup of artists hailing from across the globe. However, without a doubt the Spanish vibe was undeniably present from the Sounds from Spain mini-festival held at one of the stages to the delightful gazpacho and jamon iberico tasting.
Across the three day festival – I was lucky to see great sets from many bands, some whom I have seen before and other I plan to see may more times and hopefully next year again at Primavera Sound.
Day 1 – Thursday.
I could clearly hear Patrick Stickles’ of Titus Andronicus voice pouring out of the Pitchfork Stage all the way to the entry gates as I geared for the first set of the weekend. Titus Andronicus brought their album “The Monitor” to life on stage with their anthemic songs and the crowd responded with sing-a-long and a constant flow of fist pumps. I would be remiss in not mentioning the last time I heard Patrick sing was at a community center in Glen Rock, NJ over 9 years ago while still in high school – he’s been rocking for a while. . Later at the same stage the Smith Westerns brought their groovy garage-rock feel to the stage – reminding everyone once again to rock and have a good time.
At the Ray-Ban Stage The XX lulled me
lodic songs came out as clean and precise as they do on record, but I think their sound would exude an even greater “cool” in the small club format or perhaps a church basement in North London. Next up, Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene implored the crowd to have a good time and drink lots of water, and while the crowd hesitated to swap in H20 for San Miguel beer, they responded to the furious guitars, drums and vocals of BSS. I think at one point there were 10 people on stage all clearly maestros of their own instruments and somehow managing to produce cohesive songs filled with crescendos. “It’s All gonna break” and the new instrumental sensation “Meet me in the Basement” showcased their loud building sound across guitars, strings (provided by Owen Pallet), horns, and drums and skill to sooth
e and rock a festival.
By the time BSS finished their set, almost all fans migrated towards the San Miguel stage for one of the weekend’s headliners Pavement. Opening with their semi-commercial hit “Cut Your hair” the audience lit up to Stephen Malkmus’ shredding guitar and echoed back their own “ooh-ooh-oohs”. Pavement supplied a giddy crowd a run through of classics from Slanted and Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. During “In the Mouth a Desert” the audience couldn’t cease jumping, dancing, and mirroring the huge grins strewn across the members of Pavement.
Pavement’ set could have been the perfect nightcap if Delorean didn’t have a 2:30 set scheduled back on the Pitchfork stage. I took in one more set from these Balearic-dance rockers hailing from the Basque region of Spain. Their songs like “Seasun” and “Endless Sunset” reminded us all that we were in Barcelona, Spain, steps away from the Me
diterranean Sea, and embarking on a great summer.
More to Come on Friday and Saturday from the Primavera Sound Festival.
What do you get when you combine the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and Pink Floyd? Why, the Pretty Things! Okay! According to wikipedia (you know, the Truth), this British Invasion band “made it” in the UK, but sadly never in the Land of the Double-Down. Until now!
I guess I’m a few months late to the best-of-the-decade superlative party, but fuck it. In the aughts hip-hop got soggy as shit – the music hit the mainstream like never before, and it definitely suffered because of it. However that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of great output in the last decade, and we saw great albums from the likes of Binary Star, Ghostface, Mr. Lif, and particularly groups outta California like Blackalicious, Jurassic 5, People Under the Stairs, and the whole Stones Throw stable of artists. But then we also saw the rise of Edan, a triple-threat MC/DJ/producer from Boston. I don’t know if his second album Beauty and the Beat is the “best” album from the last ten years, but I certainly think it’s the “coolest.” Edan is a very good MC, and he scratches well too, but the production on this album is just insane. Boiled down to a few words, this is “psychedelic hip-hop,” which I of course mean in the best way possible. This is innovative stuff: he successfully meshes hip-hop with something reminiscent of a Krautrock sound and maybe like early Funkadelic’s trippy rock. Running only 34 minutes, it flows together beautifully. If there’s any justice, this’ll go down as a classic.