It's taken DiS four years to get a reviewer down to the younger Portuguese leg of the all conquering Primavera Sound festival so, um, what's a couple of extra months waiting on the actual review? Here's some belated thoughts on the festival that nobody actually calls NOS Primavera Sound out loud.
I’ve always found that festivals have been about individual moments. So without any more preamble, here are some memories that stuck with me from NOS Primavera Sound this year.
- Discovering the benefits of holding a festival in a city park. The grass is so comfy underfoot! And the main stages are at the bottom of a hill so you can sit at the top and still see everything! Mark that as a point for Porto over Barcelona.
- Being reminded that I actually really like Turn On the Bright Lights (and also Antics): fair play to Interpol for sticking to their strengths (i.e. those first two albums).
- Getting so drunk I had to lie down during Caribou, thanks to the highly dangerous €3.50 half-litres of Sangria the festival sold with reckless abandon. I’m sure Caribou were good, but I have only the dimmest recollection.
- The taxi driver who happily told us, in response to our admitting our drunkenness of the previous night (see above), that he had been drunk too and that he had crashed his car. He then showed us pictures of his car, while still driving, which at least gave veracity to his story.
- Seeing a man roll the fattest joint I’ve ever seen in my life during Babes in Toyland, of all people, thus making a mockery of my 'where is that weed smell coming from' festival game.
- Lying down, looking at the sky during Underworld. If you’re anything like me and get terrible Festival Legs then you’ll know the value of each moment you get to sit down. That combined with the music of Dubnobasswithmyheadman made for an almost euphoric experience.
- HEALTH being as terrifying good live as I remember, and the perfect band to close out the festival for me.
And because we’re all suckers for lists, here are some alternative Primavera awards.
Most Frustrating Hour of the Festival Waiting over half an hour for the festival bus and thus only catching the last 15 minutes of Viet Cong. Honourable Mention Desperately wanting The Replacements to be better as they seemed to spontaneously combust on stage ('this is the last fucking time we’ll ever play this song'), then actually enjoying the end of Sun Kil Moon, even though I had resolved not to thanks to Mark Kozelek’s increasingly dickish behaviour.
Best Drummer Essentially a two-horse race between Steve Shelley, who pulled double duty with Sun Kil Moon and Thurston Moore, and the inimitable Todd Trainer of Shellac, but I think Todd just edges it, mainly due to him looking like a large goblin man playing a tiny kit. Honourable Mention Babes in Toyland’s Lori Barbero rocked way harder than I was expecting.
Crowd Interaction Award Run the Jewels. If there’s a greater guilty pleasure then yelling 'Dick in her mouth all day!' at the top of your lungs then I don’t wanna hear about it.
Most singular performance There’s no universe where this couldn’t go to Einstürzende Neubauten, with all their custom-built industrial percussion and Blixa Bargeld’s intense energy. Honourable Mention Yes, I know I should have seen Shelllac years ago but there’s nothing like seeing the endlessly-elongated weirdness of 'The End of Radio' in person, especially when Steve Albini spent a good amount of time narrating the various lascivious adventures of the snare drum.
Joe’s Obligatory Festival Moshpit Shellac again, I’m afraid, since Pallbearer were too slow for anything other than appreciative head-nodding. It was surprisingly brutal.
Still Got It Award: Thurston Moore Philanderer he may be (and boo to him) but he looked great, the new band sounded fantastic and it had Debbie-goddamn-Goodge from My Bloody Valentine in it. You can’t really quibble with that.
So, did I enjoy it? Put it this way: I’m already planning who to go with next year.
Photo of HEALTH from Primavera Sound Barcelona by Burak Cingi