Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2023: our picks

© Hugo Lima | |

Well, it’s that time of the year again. First things first. Let’s start with what 99% of the people want from us every single summer: our printable blocky timetable, which you can download below, in a variety of formats:

PDF | PDF mobile, wed/thu | PDF mobile, fri/sat | XLS

And, while you dream about the current weather predictions actually happening…

…keep reading to find out about our top 10 picks for this year’s festival, as always mostly focused on the smaller names of the lineup. And scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist featuring not only the artists featured below, but also acts like Dry Cleaning, Jessie Ware, THUS LOVE, or Crack Cloud.

Julie (Yorn stage, Wed 16, 21:55)

The enigmatic Californian shoegaze trio hasn’t put out a proper LP yet, but they’re already hitting all the big late August European festivals (Lowlands, Pukkelpop, Green Man, etc). Competing with Yo La Tengo for attention is always a tough job, but trust us.

Squid (Yorn stage, Wed 16, 23:50)

Up until this week’s timetable announcement, we were sure Squid would be playing the sprawling songs off their new album O Monolith at the big stage. Maybe they’d trade the short but intense sets for a daytime lengthy, pastoral-paced live show at the big stage. Turns out we’re getting a late night freakout, a mix of Monolith and Bright Green Field, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. (Except, of course, that there’s a chance for an overlap with the absolute gem that is Jessie Ware, an artist we won’t write a blurb about because you should all know by now how precious she is.)

The Walkmen (Vodafone stage, Thu 17, 22:00)

Our pick for Thursday isn’t picked from the smaller names of the lineup – let’s just say it’s not the most Bolachas-approved day this year. We’re flattered that The Walkmen, an indie rock band that screams Paredes de Coura, but never actually played there, chose our favorite festival as one of the only two mainland Europe dates of their triumphant comeback tour, after a ten year hiatus.

KOKOROKO (Vodafone stage, Fri 18, 18:40)

This year’s classic jazzy interlude in the middle of all the indie rock bands isn’t actually an interlude in the middle of all the indie rock bands. It’s actually the start of a surprising and unconventional Friday where guitars and conventional rock song structures are (almost) nowhere to be found. Opening the main stage will be KOKOROKO, rising stars of the vibrant London jazz scene. We’re hoping the air temperature will be warm enough, but if it isn’t, we can count on this ensemble’s soulful melodies and Afrobeat-inspired rhythms.

DOMi & JD Beck (Vodafone stage, Fri 18, 20:25)

Dallas-based virtuoso keyboard/drum duo DOMi & JD Beck are young, but they’ve been doing this since they were kids. It’s no surprise (or maybe it is – I mean, read on) that they released their debut LP on Blue Note and their collaboration list includes jazz luminaries like Herbie Hancock or Thundercat, but also pop music giants like Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, or Ariana Grande. This should be a rare occasion to see them in a summer festival context, so don’t miss it.

Expresso Transatlântico (Yorn stage, Fri 18, 19:40)

Between the two jazz shows, Lisbon band Expresso Transatlântico gives us a guided tour through decades of Lusophone music, from Portugal to Angola, with an obvious stop in Brazil. Spiritual heirs to the fabulous Dead Combo, their debut LP, supposedly being released later in the year, is one of our most awaited Portuguese albums of recent times. (Please bring Conan Osiris along.)

YĪN YĪN (Yorn stage, Sat 19, 18:50)

Yes, that’s me, one more time, telling you to go see a Dutch band playing a Portuguese festival. If you ignore your mother’s favorite artist, YĪN YĪN are Maastricht’s finest export. The Bongo Joe-signed band are a melting pot of disco and East Asian funky influences, with an occasional trip to West Africa (I’ve written that before, but there’s so much “24 Hours in a Disco” on their standout single “Dis̄ kô Dis̄ kô”). Just don’t go see them if you hate fun. (Note for the booking team: if we’re going to keep the tradition of bringing Dutch acts to the festival, please do Terzij de Horde, Altin Gün, and Tramhaus next year(s)).

Les Savy Fav (Yorn stage, Sat 19, 22:10)

Thirteen years ago, when I was young (always wanted to be old enough to write this) a kinda broke version of me went all the way to Barcelona’s Primavera Sound to see all the bands that never in a million years would grace our stages. There, I squandered my chance to see my soon-to-be favorite band – it’s the one you can read about in the next blurb – because I went to see Les Savy Fav instead. A rare treat that I was only able to repeat in 2022. I made the correct call. There is (very bad – this was 2010) footage to prove it, and the description of the video is “There’s a party going on… And a naked yeti is right in the middle of it…”

Wilco (Vodafone stage, Sat 19, 23:00)

Why would I write about the biggest band in the lineup? Mostly because any Wilco show in Portugal is a happening. It’s the third time the Chicago indie rock giants visit the country in 29 years – they’re only one year younger than the festival itself – and it’s finally happening on the ideal place in the country to see them live. Having just announced a new album and finished touring another, we can anticipate a healthy mix of new stuff and classic live staples. A lot of guitar music-loving teens (who are probably too young to care about music their parents loved 20 years ago before they became boring responsible adults) are going to be exposed to “Impossible Germany” for the first time. Lucky them.

Ascendant Vierge (Yorn stage, Sat 19, 02:20)

Someone please slap me across the face, am I dreaming or is there a fucking GABBER act in my Coura? We’ve heard about Brussels duo Ascendant Vierge when they remixed/reworked Danny L Harle’s banger “On A Mountain”; they are definitely the hottest thing on this year’s after hours programme, and their name written so late in the timetable will be a constant reminder to yours truly to drink plenty of water and save some energy.