NOS Primavera Sound 2016: 16 artists you shouldn’t miss

NOS Primavera Sound 2016 (NPS16) starts next Thursday, and who wouldn’t be excited to be there again? On top of that, just imagine you’ve moved from Portugal to a less sunny place. Of course you would be counting the hours. Now, practical stuff: have you printed the lovely timetables we made? Still having trouble deciding what to see? Our weekly Spotify playlist is entirely dedicated to NPS16. Check it out on the widget below, then read our festival preview.

Parquet Courts


Nobody ever gets to the festival early on Thursday due to countless reasons, but this year you should really try and be there for the first concert. Sensible Soccers (17:00, Super Bock stage) are probably the most interesting Portuguese band of this decade, and they’ve just released a new record, Villa Soledade, an electronic/kraut-ish pop gem that was featured in a couple of our playlists earlier this year. But if it’s really impossible for you to be there that early, at least don’t miss the 21:00 – 01:00 period, probably the best in the history of NOS Primavera Sound’s slow Thursdays. The cold, majestic songs of singer-songwriter Julia Holter (21:10, Super Bock stage) are followed by Sigur Rós (22:20, NOS stage), that instrumental band (nobody understands the language, so let’s pretend they use Jónsi’s voice as just another instrument so we can keep them in the “instrumental” basket) everybody with a heart and at least one functioning ear loved at some point of their lives. Need to warm up? Parquet Courts’ music (midnight, Super Bock stage), another favorite of ours, would probably be more suitable for a smaller stage, but at the same time, after they made their best album of the career, they kind of deserve a time slot like this. Then, you can either go to the Pitchfork stage for some partying, or, well, go see AnCo or grab a bite or whatever. I’m not your dad.

Destroyer’s Dan Bejar


When you, festival organizers, put artists like Cass McCombs (17:55, NOS) and Destroyer (18:50, Super Bock) – two of Bolachas’ favorite artists of the past fifteen years – playing so early with no big opposition, you’re making it too easy for us to highlight artists in a festival preview. But, of course, life isn’t supposed to be fair, and then we have to choose between witnessing a rare live appearance of one of the major songwriters of the 20th century playing that record everybody loves, or having the time of our lives again with Mascis, Barlow & co. Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds (20:00, NOS) or Dinosaur Jr (20:20, “Palco.”, or, “the stage formerly known as ATP”)? Damn, at that time of the day I would rather be confused about in which of the countless amazing food stands have dinner. Don’t do this to us. I’ll think about it later. (Also, I’ll probably choose Conga, Padaria Ribeiro or Casa Guedes. Choose wisely, there’s a limited amount of times you can go eat during the festival.)

Had a great time during Dino Jr and need to have some more fun? Are you regretting not having seen them? No worries: the legendary Seattle rockers Mudhoney (23:30, Palco.) play their first Portugal show in almost 10 years and, if you’re lucky, you can still catch a bit of Protomartyr’s (midnight, Pitchfork) show. If you liked Parquet Courts the night before, you’ll love this.


But, believe me, the best is yet to come. Tortoise (01:00, Palco.) has never played in the country in their more than 20 year career, and if June 10th wasn’t a national holiday already, maybe it should become one after the Chicago collective take the stage. Sorry, Beach House. Maybe next time. Tortoise is that band. It’s the best reason anyone could have to just stare at a stage for an hour without ever producing a sound, checking your phone, etc. They are the best set of musicians playing the festival this year.

Cate Le Bon


We couldn’t believe it was true: somebody else cancelled (well, to be fair, we love both the bands who couldn’t make it, Bardo Pond and Loop) and Cate Le Bon was brought in just a couple of weeks before the festival. I can’t think of an analogy for this situation that wouldn’t be insulting for anyone involved, but hey, we’ve been championing Cate Le Bon (17:45, Palco.) for quite a while around here, and we couldn’t be happier with the replacement. The exquisite Welsh singer-songwriter will be presenting her new album Crab Day and we’ll be those fools in the front row. And we’re going to stay for Neil Michael Hagerty & the Howling Hex (19:00, Palco.) to see what Neil Hagerty’s been up to since the demise of Royal Trux. Judging by their latest output, Denver, expect weirdness and guitar freak outs.

Later, another big headache: staying for the whole concert of the legendary post-hardcore outfit Drive Like Jehu (22:00, Palco.) or just leave early to have one of the funniest experiences people can have in a music festival in 2016? Punk rockers Titus Andronicus will be playing just around the corner (22:30, Pitchfork) and it’s difficult to say no. Well, at least, if you happen to prefer Air, won’t have to choose between those two.


Then, as we come to the close of another edition of NOS Primavera Sound, another bunch of big question marks will hover above the heads of everyone in the festival grounds: Moderat, Ty Segall, or Shellac? Come on, if you follow us, you already know the answer, even though we would definitely go see the other two acts if they didn’t clash with our annual Steve Albini worshipping session. Just search for our other NOS Primavera Sound reviews. “Oh, but I can go see Shellac next year!”. That’s a load of bullshit. Do you sometimes skip Christmas (or whatever your favorite celebration of the year is) because you think you have something better to do? No, of course you don’t. Stop being boring and go see Shellac (1:20, Pitchfork). And, if your body still functions properly, be sure to stay there for Royal Headache’s (2:45, Pitchfork) brand of Australian garage rock. We know you weren’t counting, but yes, we’ve highlighted 17 artists in this article. Not 16. And that still doesn’t do the lineup justice.

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