One of the worst nightmares of a music festival – especially one that boasts as one of its highlights the stunning greenery of the park where its grounds are located – is having twelve hours of non-stop rain as its headliner. Saturday, June 9th, the third and last day of a sold-out NOS Primavera Sound, was blessed with a late autumnal weather that might have ruined the day for some, but ultimately enhanced the experience for most. We’re talking about the stoic vast majority of festival goers who endured the most annoying of elements for what it seemed like forever to witness a rare local apparition of the biggest headliner of the circuit, one of the least divisive big acts of the scene, the constant top performer while most big names go through phases.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. They deserve to come first in every article written about this edition of the festival. From the solemnity of their latest record’s “Girl in Amber” that dealt with issues we do not want to reproduce for the 1000th time in here to the absolute genius of The Good Son′s “The Weeping Song” – where Warren Ellis, one of our favourite people in the world, gets to shine brighter than everything else (and he would still do it even if we were gifted a clear, starry night instead of that annoying light-to-medium rain), there’s no single soul that wasn’t touched by Cave that night. And, if there was, there was no escape as soon as he lifted some audience members to the stage during the “Push the Sky Away” finale. The festival seemed over for most after that, but…
Nils Frahm / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
Against all odds – “it’s going to be shit, go see him in a seated venue with no rain!” – we decided for Nils Frahm over The War on Drugs. Perfect choice, as the German composer managed to levitate (and, at a certain point, even move some feet) whoever decided it was a good idea to keep battling the rain in a country where most people think there is none, especially in the summertime. We also made a similar good choice when we gambled and missed a couple of Cave’s songs to watch most of Wolf Parade’s gig at the SEAT stage after dinner, where Public Service Broadcasting also shone a couple of hours before. Who cares about the weather when you have such a fantastic lineup crammed into 4-5 hours?
Public Service Broadcasting / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
At first glance, the British band looks like they’re straight out of some posh-ish Conservative Club. Shh, we did not research their politics, we’re not associating them with any political quadrant, and we don’t really give a shit, we just think they’re a bunch of lads with great taste in clothing. After we get past that, we cannot get enough of their kraut-art-rock performed by history nerds. After all, we’re talking about a band that released a concept album revolving around post-coal communities in rural Wales, coincidentally an area of the world where yours truly just did field work on. Excited to cite their work in my thesis. Way more captivating than their late night show four years ago in Paredes de Coura, and infinitely more interesting than my research.
Father John Misty / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
Unfortunately, the first two days of the festival weren’t that stacked as the last day that also promoted the first Portuguese shows by newcomers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Vagabon, Flat Worms and Denis Sulta, a young DJ straight outta Glasgow who was making everyone go mad at the Bits stage (some covered half-finished parking lot right in the middle of the festival that was a godsend for those less prepared for the rain). Liminal Soundbath did not happen, Helena Hauff and Mall Grab had to cancel their sets, but DJ Lycox properly rocked that stage on Friday night. On the first day, after a lacklustre performance (another one…) from Waxahatchee in the big stage, Father John Misty did not disappoint. His small army of stellar musicians would not let it happen, even if Tillman decided not to show up. Tyler, the Creator overcame what we thought was the end of his career with some less interesting records between this performance and his debut and topped the hip-hop chapter of 2018′s edition of the festival.
The Breeders / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
Friday was on its way to be a sea of disappointment as we felt absolutely nothing during Amen Dunes’ performance early on at the SEAT stage (even though we love his records). Playing simultaneously, IDLES were supposedly “great fun” (Everyone that went there, 2018), but we made the wrong call on this one. Well, we have the right to do something stupid every now and then – like trying to pretend we were enjoying Zeal & Ardor’s gig where we could be simply breezing through the no-bullshit songs of Yellow Days a few metres from there. Or leaving a very enjoyable Vince Staples show after a few minutes to check out Superorganism – a weird attempt of translating into music the experience of taking “mind enhancing psychedelics” while watching children’s shows on TV. But, at the end of the day, no matter how much we experiment, leave our comfort zone, expose ourselves to music we would probably not give a chance in other situations in hope we strike gold – and we often do – we can always resort to the safe havens of yesteryear to make our festival experience as memorable as it can be: watch The Breeders play the classics “Drivin’ on 9″ and “Cannonball”, as perfect as the first time we heard them, and, well, attend the yearly service by our favourite preacher.
Shellac / Hugo Lima, NOS Primavera Sound
All the classics. “Squirrel Song”, “Steady as She Goes”, “Dude Incredible”, “Wingwalker”, “Prayer to God”. Hell, “The End of Radio” at the end of the show, like it always should be.
WE LOVE YOU, SHELLAC. PLEASE DON’T EVER LEAVE.