New Bands at Primavera – Shura and NAO

Primavera entrance by Mark Muldoon - Best New Bands

Barcelona—Once again, Barcelona’s Primavera Sound offered up the best and the brightest of the industry on the second day of its 16th edition.  Aside from powerhouse acts like Radiohead, The Last Shadow Puppets, and The Avalanches, a few newer bands came through to showcase their material to the throngs of hungry music lovers.


Shura by Corey Bell - Best New Bands

UK producer/singer-songwriter Shura performed twice this Friday, the second day of Primavera: first at the smaller, intimate Firestone Stage, secondly at the equally quaint in character yet physically less confined Adidas Originals Stage.  The first of her two sets lasted only about thirty minutes or so, and the second took up about twice the amount of time—yet due to time constraints, I was only able to see the first half of her later set.  Technical difficulties seemed to plague the Shura crew, as they were late gracing the stage on both occasions, but their absence was compensated by their illustrious stage presence, as Shura was flanked on three sides by a guitarist, a keyboardist, and a drummer, as she took center stage, her blue-tinted hair obscuring her face with just the right amount of cool.  During both sets she opened with a one-two punch of “Nothing’s Real” and “What’s It Gonna Be?” and both also featured recent single “Touch”—lifted from her upcoming debut Nothing’s Real, out July 8th of this year—and “Indecision,” also slated to appear on Nothing’s Real, but is already a favorite among fans as it is the third track off last year’s White Light EP.  Shura finished her Firestone Stage set with the title track from White Light, a sprawling seven-minute number that features energetic vocals and bounding electronic arrangements.  I have no doubt that Shura also ended her later set with the same song, and most likely slipped in a live rendition of White Light/Nothing’s Real track “2Shy,” which sounds like a time machine reaching back into the era of Wilson Phillips—though I can’t say for sure as I left halfway through Shura’s later set.  What I can say for sure is that Shura has a presence that should be reckoned with, and is clearly one of the brightest young acts to pass through the holy grounds of Primavera Sound’s Parc del Forúm. (Photo of Shura at the Independent in San Francisco by Corey Bell for Best New Bands.)


Nao live in Amsterdam via Facebook - Not Credited

Neo Jessica Joshua—a.k.a NAO—is a British singer-songwriter that skillfully blends R&B, soul, and electronica to suit her own unique artistic vision.  She is perhaps best known as the featured vocalist on Disclosure’s track “Superego,” though she has prove time and time again that she does perfectly well on her own.  Her debut LP For All We Know is also due out in July (though much later, on the 29th of the month), and though she has released several tracks already, she surprised the crowd with a few new ones—including “Happy,” “Girlfriend,” “So Good,” and “In the Morning.”  She also played some older material, like “Zillionaire” and her hit “Bad Blood.”  No cover of “Superego” was to be found, but that’s OK, because NAO is perfectly able to stand on her own with her own heartfelt, aurally arresting original material.

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Corey Bell

Corey Bell

Corey Bell is no stranger to music.Having spent the better part of the past decade at concerts and music festivals around the globe, he finds he is most at home in the company of live music.Originally a native of New England, he has since taken residence in New York and New Orleans, and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.He achieved his Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College in Vermont via an undergraduate study entitled “Sonic Highways: Musical Immersion on the Roads of America," in which he explores the interactions between music, natural environment, and emotion while travelling along the scenic byways and highways of the United States.His graduate thesis, “Eighty Thousand’s Company,” features essays regarding the historical and socio-economic facets of contemporary festival culture intertwined with personal narrative stories of his experiences thereof.He is the former editor of Art Nouveau Magazine and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts.
Corey Bell