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Highlight - the site. You ?
About 45 minutes ago! Very fun, very very sweaty fun.
General high points:
The site, and the city in general - beautiful place
Amazingly cheap food and drink around the city.
Really good organisation in general - very few queues, free programs, not much inter-stage bleed, and loved the way the rain macs started getting distributed as soon as the first shower happened
The eerily British rain on Saturday
The Jeff Mangum queue
Not being able to take water in, combined with the lack of free water inside (apart from the one water fountain which I'm pretty sure was sponsored by a candid camera TV show, given that it drenched you every time you tried to drink from it). I spent most of the weekend feeling pretty dehydrated.
Musical high points:
Yo La Tengo's set in the afternoon sun on Friday
Wilco, especially the second half of their set which was just massive tune after massive tune
The Walkmen. Just grin-inducingly good.
M83 - too short, but wonderful all the same
Afghan Whigs - everything I hoped they'd be
Jeff Mangum. He seemed so happy just to be playing there.
Other good stuff - Black Lips, I Break Horses, Chairlift, The Rapture
Death Cab's piss-poor excuse for a last-minute cancellation
Realising I don't really like Mercury Rev any more
Thursday's line-up being a bit weak in general and could have massively done with EITS. Suede are a catastrophically boring band.
unless all their equipment had melted I'm sure they could have worked around it.
I dunno, maybe they had a flight to catch but if they'd just played a 20-minute acoustic set it would have gone down brilliantly. As it was it just seemed like they couldn't be bothered.
Would you pick Porto over Barca again?
If yes, would you pick it again if they were the same price?
But if it was 60ish again then I'll be over in a shot. It's generally lots cheaper than Barcelona, except for the flights directly to porto. But you get value for that, in that flying with TAP isn't a God awful experience like with ryanair. Accommodation, food and drink (in the city and at the festival) are all cheaper. The site is really nice, well planned, lovely grass outdoor stages, has night busses running every five minutes when the metro isn't for normal prices and is next to a good stretch of actual beach. The city isn't rammed with tourists, pickpockets or mentals, so has a much nicer atmosphere than parts of Barcelona at the time of year.
Thursday could've been better, but I had a cock up with my apartment so I was still kinda wiped from the stress of carrying luggage round the city centre at around 11pm searching for the easy hotel, otherwise I probably would've been much more in the mood for staying for the rapture instead of leaving mid-suede.
Site is more intimate and a lot nicer.
City is miles cheaper and friendlier
Smaller line up but better value for money
I had a great time.
The drinks in the festival and around the city were cheap.
The food wasn't the best imho at the festival and a bit pricey.
Had an amazing mixed meat lunch with unlimited chips & rice (everymeal seemed carb loaded this way?!) with drinks for less then 5 EURO - amazing value!!
My friends (all Barcelona veterans) seemed suprised/annoyed by the festival not letting in any food/non-alcohol drinks into the site - wasn't that fussed to be fair and managed to smuggle in food each day.
THE BEACH is right by the site and was great on sunny Friday.
The site was lovely with slopping grassy knolls so you got good views of the stages all round. Easy to walk between stages too.
People were sound, no aggro and pretty relaxed.
We stayed in the city so we could do touristy stuff in the day which was ace. Got taxi's to and from the site only cost 1.5 EURO per person each way which we all thought was excellent value.
I really enjoyed:
The Rapture - FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHT for me
Flaming Lips - first time seeing them but others who have seen them before were not impressed
Baxter Dury (rejuvinated me after I got soaked walking along the beachfront)
The Drums - lots of fun
Wasn't that impressed with:
Atlas Sound -?!
Mercury Rev & Suede - pretty dull apart from there "big singles"
KOC - should have been on early, felt out of place pre XX
Really annoyed I got to busy chatting/drinking with randoms that I kissed The Walkman :(
Missed all of Sunday has had to get the early Sun flight for work today
Overall - great value for a Festival. Same price I'd defo go again and that was without DCFC, Bjork and EITS all not playing. Imagine if they'd all been there too!
So all I can manage is - IT WAS BLOODY BRILLIANT
1. Codeine: a lot less nervous than at IBYM, they played brilliantly for a small-ish but very appreciative crowd. Would have been perfect if it wasn’t for noisy neighbours (The Flaming Lips)
2. Afghan Whigs: big sound and a setlist full of classics. Maybe not as intense as in their early, drug-fuelled days but Dulli was on form throughout
3. Jeff Mangum: finally got to see them, and truly wonderful in a gorgeous all-seated venue, playing all the favourites off Aeroplane and more
4. Wavves: recruiting Jay Reatard’s backing band has proved to be a masterstroke, no more faffing around or tantrums, but an hour of non-stop fun instead
5. M83: probably the biggest party of the whole festival, leaving everyone wanting more after a cracking set that was way too short, but this proved to be a godsend, because of
6. Thee Oh Sees: clashing with M83 was a bit of a nuisance, but managed to catch the last half hour with the band on fire and the crowd in a 3 AM moshpit frenzy
7. The Rapture: on an otherwise underwhelming first day, the did hit a high note by playing lots of their hit album Echoes, and fitting in newer songs quite nicely around them
8. Other Lives: early evening surprise, drawing a large crowd for their rather orchestral Americana
9. I Break Horses: just as the rain stopped, enveloped in clouds of dry ice, and much more than just another shoe-gazing tribute band
10. Yo La Tengo: great career-spanning performance, with a very cheerful Georgia Hubley and the guitar bashing Ira Kaplan both in great form
1. Kindness: the 80s were the nadir of pop music, and Kindness’ attempt to relive the days of Club Tropicana is just horribly wrong
2. The XX: too samey and boring for a late night, main stage closing show
3. Tall Firs: didn’t work at all on a big outdoor stage while it’s still light, which was a shame
Final verdict: 4 superbocks (out of 5)
1. The festival site: 3 outdoor stages all with glorious grass and surrounded by lush trees, each stage at the bottom of a hill so always a good view. Never congested (except for Beach House) and bars literally everywhere. Minor criticism: could possibly have done with a few more urinals (better for the trees)
2. The booze: cocktail bars on site, sangria on tap, 1 euro pints in the centre of town, jugs of wine for lunch, port tastings, it just kept on coming. Your heart says yes but liver says no. Heart wins
3. The food (excluding the festival): it is so easy to find delicious meals for hardly any money, from a simple outdoor BBQ place where they grill your sardines to order to what seemed like a tourist trap but proved to be extremely tasty (unless you order the vegetable soup), with huge portions and a miniscule bill
4. Safety: apart from one night quite late when I strayed into some alleyways populated by scary drug users/dealers, you never had that dreary Barcelona feeling where you feel you have to be on guard all the time or someone will nick your wallet or phone.
5. Matosinhos: on arrival, the area where the festival is located seemed far from the city centre, and a bit quiet and suburban, but the longer I stayed there and walked around, the more I liked it, from the little local restaurants, to the beautiful, sandy beach (and its great beach bars) and the interesting shop names (Fagdance and Sukmmi being particular highlights)
1. The food (at the festival): if you don’t eat meat, you can’t eat. I had one measly, stale churros (for 2 euros!) and that was it. Bringing your own food not allowed. Loading up on a big lunch beforehand was the answer.
2. Queuing for Jeff Mangum tickets: 2 hours in the soaking rain. In the end it was worth it, but surely there must be a better, more efficient way to address this ‘limited capacity show’ malarky? (and a reliable source told me that Mangum would have been more than happy to play one of the outdoor stages)
3. Not being able to speak the language: unlike Spanish, Portuguese is alien to me, and although most people have at least a grasp of English, it would have been so much nicer to have a bit of banter with the locals, especially when watching football with a bunch of toothless old codgers in a pool hall
Final verdict: 5 superbocks (out of 5)
Moreover, this year has been very unusual in terms of weather in Portugal. During the winter months almost never rained and we have weeks with temperatures above 30 degrees. Although more recently, in late spring, it rained but that is not going to compensate the extreme drought in some areas of this country… Unless this weather issue is really it changing and we will have a rainy and cold summer. Not.
Atlas Sound - was expecting a band, not a solo performance.
Suede - Enjoyed it
But the real highlight for me was Codeine. Unbelievably good. I'd never listened to them before but had a hunch it would be my kinda thing. Everyone there for that performance knew they were witnessing something special.
massively marred by the police on the entrance of the site. I can understand that we spoke a different language and stuff, so physical gestures were necessary in order to communicate, but all three of the police woman I was searched by were horribly rude and physically really rough. I know i'm overly sensitive to most things, but feeling roughed up entering the site put a massive downer on every evening.
In contrast the private security on site were all really nice, friendly and helpful.
Fighting three grown men for a plastic fucking coat :(
'rabid', 'baying mob' etc
Also I don't know if anyone else saw an extremely vicious man juggling cats to 1920s style music in a restaurant while they were but he did and it sounded like both the funniest and the most disgraceful thing all weekend.
Although it's nice to know that when civilisation falls apart and bread is being handed out the back of lorries, I can hold my own.
Any day now that's going to happen :(
The next thing I knew the apocalypse was happening.
I didn't even need one cos I brought a mac with me (always prepare for rain, and they're great for booze smuggling)
they were pretty sound with me
On 2 occasions I just told them what was in my bag and they didn't even check - allowed me to smuggle some snacks in :)
However my friends seemed to get screwed over more some looks like it was pot luck with who you got...
I liked the sort of village fete feel to the site, especially on Thursday when it wasn't fully open; great prices; amazing you could get a cab home for €8; the free tat was great when you didn't have to get into a fight for it; suprised by how much I enjoyed the Suede/Mercury Rev double whammy, and had enormous fun dancing to numbers showcase...
The Jeff Mangum queue would have been a fiasco if it had been sunny - with the rain it was just awful, we ended up going back to town afterwards, I slipped on a steep street, fell over and banged my knee on the cobbles and just couldn't bring self to go back to site that day. And then I didn't really enjoy Jeff Mangum that much. Had a lovely time in general, though.
The site - It's absolutely beautiful. Drinking on the beach then heading straight in is absolutely wonderful
The sheer volume of booze I managed to sneak past security. Was quite chuffed with myself.
Super bock - Delicious and so well priced
Food options SO much better than Barca
Rapture - band of the weekend. bossed it
War on Drugs - Looking forward to them and they were very good.
M83 - sounded absolutely huge
Beach House - were tops but I got dragged away as my friends thought it boring
Other Lives - Really impressed me
John Talabot was awesome
We won a quiz about Porto so we got to watch Wilco from this stone viewing area with free champagne. That was good.
Dirty Three were awesome
I Break Horses, Chairlift were tops.
Loads of stuff I now can't remember
Jeff Mangum was incredible and the Casa de Musica is INCREDIBLE
Suede blowing their load in ten minutes
Quite enjoyed Mercury Rev
Flaming Lips getting jammy. I've seen them 3 years running at festivals now. The encore is always amazing but why do I keep doing this to myself?
The XX - jesus, so tedious
Death Cab - go fuck yourselves
Rain last day was a bit of a downer
Having to throw away my amazing sandwiches
100% going next year. Incredible value for money, so well organised. So cheap (cabs home for 8 euro). porto is an amazing city. Not as much to do as Barcelona but it looks incredible, everyone is so friendly and you don't feel like you're constantly about to get mugged like in Barca (usually cos you are)
The city is a joy. And I'd recommend Adega Leonor near the uni. The best bar in the entire world. Everyone just stands in the square outside and it's a euro a pint
super bock is lush
Maybe it was having warm tins on the beach, but Sagres by comparison was RANK
Cristal was fucking ming.
Almost every band I saw was great, but particular highlights were Kings of Convenience, M83, The Flaming Lips, The Rapture and catching the end of Thee Oh Sees. Also dancing till 6am with Erol Alkan then heading to Hard Club was so fun! The fact the Optimus and Primavera stages were set up like that was great as it meant you didn't spent much time waiting for bands to start on the Thursday especially.
The festival site was lovely, and the fact the bags, lanyards and the programmes were all free came as a very nice surprise after being used to having to pay about £10 for that stuff at T in the Park. Food/beer was nice too, and pretty good value. Enjoyed the fact there was a KFC stall, but it would have been nice if there had been a bit more selection/some more healthy options. Porto is an incredible city too and I'd definitely go back next year if the line up is as good
Then standing about 100 metres away drinking tins only showing up when I needed the loo
Loved the site, in a totally different way to Barca (less impressive but more intimate and less packed).
Had I not loved so much of the music it might have seemed a bit sparse music-wise but as it turned out nearly everything I saw was awesome.
- The XX (sorry to disagree with everyone but I thought they were spectacular)
- Suede (but I'm a massive fanboy and they played a good number of less obvious tracks)
- Afghan Whigs (awesome)
- Mercury Rev
- M83, Chairlift, The Rapture, Neon Indian
- Black Lips, Wavves (neither normally my cuppa)
- Cheap booze (pints of Sangria - sugar high ftw)
- Cheap taxis
- Weather on Saturday
- Food options - shit, even if KFC was an entertaining novelty
- Sound for Saint Etienne was awful. Still had fun, and not sure if this is the festival's fault or just the band being shambolic (probably the latter if I'm honest)
- Walkmen (aside from last 2 songs - though this was entirely predictable)
- Being too lazy to queue for Casa de Musica event tickets - venue looked amazing
Chicken kebabs, MEGA BIFANA and Argentinian baguette place were all amongst some of the best food I've had at festival. The custard filled churros were epic
I'll give you the churros.
...for Optimus Primavera Sound 2012 photos: