We promise to come to a hard conclusion on this whole business tomorrow, but if you were looking to present evidence at the court of festival rankings, Friday 3rd June 2016 might be the day you tell people about. Long-awaited doesn’t even begin to describe the 15 year wait for The Avalanches to return, but Primavera is the setting for their highly-danceable reunion. Also, a band called Radiohead – who must surely have been dreaming of a mention from Best New Bands in the hope that it will finally help them break through – played, over the course of two hours, a set that honours all eras of the band, with “No Surprises”, “Pyramid Song”, “Everything In Its Right Place”, and even choosing to end on a little song called “Creep”. It’s worth stating explicitly: this is a really great tour in which to see Radiohead live.
This two hour set time highlights another strength of Primavera – the H&M and Heineken stages (oh, if you’re a fan of partying in a corporate branded environment then you will love this festival) are the two biggest stages, and they face each other, alternating acts between the two of them, meaning you’re only ever waiting 10 minutes – and a 60 second walk – for the next act, rather than the up to 60 minutes it’s becoming customary to wait for the biggest festival sets at other major festivals. This extra time then tends to get handed back to acts in the form of a cheerful “hey you can play for your usual set time if you like”. Everybody wins. And, if the amount of people we bump into that we know from London is anything to go by, it’s fair to say that the British are making up a pretty sizable proportion of the audience here.
All of which means that tomorrow we’re not going to suggest the festival is amongst the worst in the world, put it that way. But in the meantime, here are some good new bands we saw on the Friday of Primavera Sound.
There’s something to be said for the art of festival curation. Last summer we saw Kiasmos play an early evening slot at the – highly family-friendly – British festival Latitude, to a tent of a few hundred people. Fast forward 11 months and they’re the act of choice for many people still decompressing after Radiohead’s set. Primavera is the kind of festival that would welcome the classical tinged, beat-driven-soundscapes of Kiasmos anyway, so accordingly, they’ve drawn a huge – and hugely appreciative – audience.
Now, if we’re declaring interests here, it’s worth stating for the record that the Kiasmos track Looped was my alarm clock every single morning for nine months last year. It made it impossible to wake up in a bad mood, I recommend it.
Tonight it’s an atmosphere of discerning, subtly uplifting club music. Credit to the audience member makes their own contribution to proceedings by bringing a bubble gun along, but that’s not the only moment that raises a smile from Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen throughout their set: judging by the amount of waving and grinning they’re doing they’re clearly very much enjoying themselves too. (Photo of Kiasmos by Mark Muldoon for Best New Bands.)
“Do you mind if I… jump in?” asks Savages lead singer Jehnny Beth, before spending ten odd minutes and two songs flinging herself around the crowd, with more energy than we’ve ever witnessed her do before.
Formed in 2011 and now touring their confident and confrontational second album Adore Life, it’s clear that the longer Savages spend on the road, the more, errr… savage a live act they’re becoming. Beth will still happily go for a little ‘walk’ over the audience on her knees, whilst live the band are increasingly a muscular, powerful post-punk outfit.
What with Primavera’s habit of putting its biggest acts on between, say, 10pm and 4am, playing an early evening set at Primavera often means you’re the first act people see that day. Closing their set with the winning combination of ‘This Is What You Get When You Mess With Us’ then ‘Fuckers’, Savages may as well be broadcasting on the live stream to festival bookers worldwide just how good they are at getting the party started. Conversely, you’d be unwise to bet against them playing further up bills next time around. (Photo of Savages by Eric Parnies for Primavera.)
Performing to roughly 150 people, Brisbane based singer Jack Carty is playing Primavera as the final date of two months touring Europe. And he’s a massively likeable singer-songwriter: firstly, he speaks very sweetly of life on the road with his tour manager/guest vocalist/wife, who he invites on stage to duet on a cover of the John Prine track ‘Long Monday’ – for the first time this tour apparently. The logical response to such a beautiful song sung so tenderly is: ‘maybe they should think about playing this one more often’.
It takes quite some courage to play very very delicate – occasionally country influenced, occasionally not unlike Damien Rice – music when the background noise of other stages is coming at you from all directions, but the dashingly handsome Carty isn’t showing signs of struggling. There’s a dig at New Zealanders here that he acknowledges – with a wry smile – flies straight over the heads of his European audience. On the closing track ‘And The Ass Saw The Angel’ he proves how well his voice can soar. (Photo of Jack Carty by Mark Muldoon for Best New Bands.)
Primavera Sound continues to stream live at http://www.primaverasound.es/index.
He also judges the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award and Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition, is never ever without his camera, once backpacked Syria, and also likes Burning Man, the Nottinghill Carnival, BBC 6 Music, India, Taylor Swift, Japan and blueberry muffins.
Latest posts by Mark Muldoon (see all)
- New Bands at Primavera – Manel, Sycamore Age and DJ Coco - June 5, 2016
- New Bands at Primavera – Savages, Kiasmos and Jack Carty - June 4, 2016
- 3 New Bands At Primavera – Thursday - June 3, 2016