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Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2022: our highlights

Ah, how we missed this scenery.


Imagine as if there was a rap outfit who had the same pizzazz and humor as the Insane Clown Posse but without the cheesy, tasteless pantomime and their beats were, quality-wise, akin to the best shit Native Tongues and Cut Chemist from the Jurassic Five put out. Couple that with rhyming about post-contemporary Portuguese urban life – footy games, knives to the eye (no Buñuel over here) and being your local don – on a robe and a ski mask – and you have Conjunto Corona. If you want to experience the Santa Rita lifestyle, then get your ass on Easyjet or Ryanair and go check them out, steady mobbin’ through the ‘hood.

Gator, The Alligator


These absolute madlads had the audacity of playing a 6pm show in the small stage as if they were King Gizzard rocking it prime-time in the main stage for twenty thousand people (which, unfortunately, didn’t happen, as they cancelled their tour). The garage-y, fuzzy quartet from Barcelos, all dressed in white, seemed unfazed by their time slot and churned banger after banger. Plus, is there a better way to celebrate the first time you’re actually playing the festival you’ve been going since you were a teenager than inviting two buddies to play guitar for you while you jump in the crowd for an entire song? Despite their young age, Gator, The Alligator are a very well oiled machine. Here’s to hoping they’ll be around for many years to come.


Whoever had the idea of putting them on after 2 AM – actually, you were right. Somebody needed to wake us up after that Beach House show. Fortunately, Sebastian Murphy had all the energy needed to lead the party for us punk rock losers stacked in his belly. Fresh off the release of their second post-pandemic album, Cave World, the Swedish rockers focused on their newest singles (“Punk Rock Loser”, “Ain’t No Thief”, and the infectious “Troglodyte”), dipped into 2021’s Welfare Jazz (through the groovy “Ain’t Nice”, although it would’ve been fun to see them perform their John Prine cover, too), but the highest moment had to be the already classic guitar freakout during “Shrimp Shack”.


Gabber, hardbass, rap, hyperpop, the internet, Slavic “architecture”, PlayStation 2, pussy, money, weed (ah, yes, giving the spam filter some extra work). The many worlds that inhabit the world of Tommy Cash turn his performances into a lot more than another DJ/MC duo trying their best to awaken half of the audience who’s desperately trying to stay awake after 5 full days of festival. The visual aspect alone makes it worth to be there, even if you’re not into the music. If you’re not into the music, you might be dead inside, but that’s a you problem. I might be getting old. But if you’re near me in the crowd and you are not getting into raving mood as soon as his remix of 1000 gecs’ xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx hits… Thanks, my back problems are gone.


One of the biggest names in Portuguese hip-hop had last performed in the festival exactly twenty years ago, sharing the bill with *checks notes* long-forgotten nu-metal “extraordinaires” Puddle of Mudd (not a joke). It might have looked as a weird choice back then, and it was still not the most obvious choice to headline a day dedicated to Portuguese music in one of the country’s prime indie festivals, despite how eclectic recent crowds appear to be. Sam’s father, Napoleão Mira, takes center stage together with special guests Orelha Negra and their accompanying orchestra. And, as soon as he finishes reciting his poem, we already know the entire crowd is on their side. This is going to be the triumphant return his career deserves. Some of these kids probably weren’t even born when he dropped “Não Percebes”, but everyone knows it by heart; same with the hip hop tuga anthem “Poetas de Karaoke”. But, in the end, it’s the absolute classic 16/12/95 that steals everybody’s breath. What a ride.


We already knew from their records that their french touch meets disco sound was a recipe for success – but no previous knowledge about L’Impératrice would prepare us for what happened on stage, and outside of it. The connection between audience and band was unreal, nothing like we’ve ever seen in this festival. And, believe me, we’ve been coming here for fifteen years. This is a festival where trends are set for the next few years, and a successful show at Paredes de Coura usually means yearly trips back to the country. They’ve earned their spot in all summer festivals until 2030, congrats.


Speaking of bands that will spend the next few summers among us… Turnstile were an atypical headliner for a festival that doesn’t really book hardcore bands, and where most heavy acts usually play the smaller stage. The kids were hungry, though. And they ran through the main dish like this was the last chance of their lifetimes at a party pit. Of course, songs from 2021’s GLOW ON were the most celebrated amongst a crowd that most likely has only heard of them in the past year, but the sizeable bunch of hardcore fans with daily tickets were treated to a handful of older songs too – nice sequence in the latter phase of the show, with “Fazed Out”, “Drop”, and “Canned Heat”. Kids were happy, the festival director was visibly over the moon, band was happy. As my pal (and Bolachas contributor) said at the time, T.L.C. now stands for Turnstile Loves Coura. For good reason.


Theoretically, Parquet Courts were “opening” for Turnstile, who played before that outpour of love for L’Impératrice. Their show had to be obscured by what came next, right? No way – we’re talking about one of the best guitar bands coming out of the previous decade, playing the main stage of a festival ten years to the day Light Up Gold was released. Which, of course, meant that halfway through the gig, they scrapped the entire “let’s promote our new album” thing; they dusted a pocketful of bangers from that record (“Master of My Craft”, “Stoned and Starving”, and sing-along anthems “Light Up Gold, Pt. 2” and “Borrowed Time”) and just let loose. A perfect set by one of the tightest rock bands in the circuit, and a serious contender for my top concert of 2022.