DJ Coco. Eish ke fdp de festa! Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Last day of Optimus Primavera Sound 2013. Unlike last year, sunny. Sunny. Who loves the sun? Everyone.
Many things I hadn’t done in Primavera until checking out Manel:
– Watching a concert from start to finish sitting on that grassy hill;
– Watching a “nuestros hermanos” band, also from start to finish (to foreigners: that means a Spanish band in the perspective of a Portuguese essentially);
– Not worrying with schedules during or even after the current show.
Well, they’re at least the positive things I hadn’t done until watching Manel. Ok, the music wasn’t even unpleasant, they’re far from that feel actually, but I wasn’t also fully paying attention to them, hanging out with some friends by the grass seems a lot more appealing. But the fact is that even for the mere chilling out, the soundtrack was just right. And I guess I must thank Manel for that, for bringing me an “Avante” feel for a festival who’s already very, very pleasant to be at (and again, foreigners, “Avante!” is a Portuguese music, politics and basically cultural festival from the Communist Portuguese Party, and a “high” to many cheerful people). You’re alright Manel, have a safe trip back to Fawlty Towers. Barcelona, I mean. – BSC
The Drones. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
The Drones is the best rock band in the southern hemisphere right now. It’s not an easy band to fall in love with on stage, though: frontman Gareth Liddiard’s confrontational rockstar attitude has visibly put a lot of non-fans off, Fiona Kitschin’s bass playing style (almost always with her back facing the audience) made a lot of people think she’s a douche and well, they didn’t say a lot of nice things about the country or the festival, pissing off everyone whose favorite part of each concert is the moment when the lead singer tries to say something in Portuguese (I’ll refer those kind of people as ‘idiots’ from now on). As for the concert itself? The Drones preferred a best-of approach instead of promoting their latest album, I See Seaweed: although “Nine Eyes” was probably the highlight of their one-hour set, a recap of their 15-year long career suited them better while playing in a country they haven’t visited since 2006, all classics included: “Shark Fin Blues”, “The Miller’s Daughter”, “I Don’t Ever Want to Change”, “Six Ways to Sunday” and a slo’ burnin’ version of Kev Carmody’s “River of Tears” topping up another solid gold performance by one of my favorite live bands of the past 5 years.
Dinosaur Jr. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Dinosaur Jr. are the essence of rock and roll. I wish I could go to a Dino Jr. concert every week. I love Dinosaur Jr. I also love that Damien Abraham from Fucked Up jumped on stage to perform a Last Rites cover with them. I loved “Freak Scene”, I loved “Sludgefeast”, I loved “Start Choppin’”, I loved “Budge”. I loved everything about this concert. It’s impossible not to love a lot of stuff when you’re on Dino Jr. I wish everything was as good as a Dinosaur Jr. concert.
I also love that our friends from Primavera immediately put The Sea and Cake playing at the ATP stage right after the Dino Jr. concert. Spending that astronomical twilight staring at the stars (hah, those were just smartphone screens turned on) felt just like honey. I haven’t even felt the need to shout at John McEntire demanding a Tortoise concert here ASAP.
Explosions in the Sky. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Why didn’t I stay in the ATP stage grassy slope imagining what would the Explosions in the Sky concert sound like and waiting for White Fence? It would be incredibly less boring than the concert itself. Turn the volume up, you pussies. I only woke up on “The Only Moment We Were Alone”’s last three minutes. Fellow festival planners, a reminder: if you have Do Make Say Think and EITS on your lineup, it’s the former you want to put on the big stage. Or, you know, make your engineer turn up the volume.
Meanwhile, Dan Deacon was tearing the Pitchfork tent apart with his heavy machinery (and those two maniac drummers). Funniest show of the festival seal of approval, even if we just managed to see the first three songs before leaving for a tiny bit of that clusterfuck of noise that is MBV.
Even if it wasn’t the case with you, My Bloody Valentine got to be the most expected concert, given the five minute delay (the only one during the whole fest, remarkably). And certainly a curious one to check how the much-buzzed this year’s record would turn out live, alongside the performing of old tunes. Sure, the loudness factor was a central point, and later I’ll give my 2 cents about it, but here’s the knocker: if you’re already familiarized with this band (i.e. if you’re the least fan of them), I found it hard for you not to have enjoyed it. Personally, I loved it from start to finish. Yeah, bunch of opinions on this one. Let’s be more concrete, first of all Kevin Shields and his crew choose a pretty gutsy setlist, ranging from hit songs off Loveless (the concert opener “I Only Said” or the album’s finisher “Soon”) to fan-favorites, not on the LPs songs (“Honey Power” and “Thorn” really stood up to the highest of high standards), while the recent mbv would only receive three listenings – although that day we learned that “Wonder 2” is also an appropriate ending to a concert. As I already confess, I found the concert pretty strong in all of its duration, but if I had to choose the peak point, well, I’d say the combo of fast pace “make the drums as loud” songs “Feed Me With Your Kiss” and “You Made Me Realise” was one of the most headbanging rock experiences I had in life, famous “Holocaust Section” aside, sure (it lasted 6, 7 minutes I think. For all purposes, I think it lasts just alright). And all in all I guess that’s the common point for this concert: pretty acceptable that this music is not going to please everybody, however, not only it worked as a loudness experience for some, as for others it accomplished their expectations of being their Primavera concert for 2013.
Oh yes, the “loudness factor” I must talk. You see, the press got entitled to some free ear piece for this show, in exchange for a review to them, so I’ll go ahead and do them both. As the concert was starting, I did put them on and off a couple times, not only to find if the Primavera Ear Peace (great pun by the way) was successful in lowering the volume that came to your ears – and it really was, probably the best advantage of them – but also to test my resistance to the loudness. And while this much varies from person to person, by the third song I was removing them to only put them back on and off a few seconds on the last song (because I had a review to make, professionalism my friends), and the truth is that I went well the whole show. At the front row. Hurray, youth. So, as for if the show was crudely loud? Not really! Not only that, the mixture was somewhat very fortunate (well, for shoegaze standards I guess), didn’t have any major complain, so thumps up. This without ear plugs, because with them on, the case was different. The sound from the louder guitars would turn out fine, but for instance hearing the vocals would become a very tough mission with them on, and I mean just noticing them, understanding them is already hard, heh? But not only would the vocals be a boredom to catch, in the last song’s “aeroplane” loop, with the plugs on you could notice the comeback of that noise on some drums interfering, I think – the drums weren’t playing. Moral of the story: there’s no such thing as perfect mixing and perfect ear pieces, but if you’re not much resistant to the loud noise, you can fully rely on these to come home and to not be listening to white noise all by yourself. – BSC
Titus Andronicus. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Busiest time slot of the festival, hands off. Dan Deacon, MBV and Titus Andronicus overlapping meant a lot of people were watching their favorite concert of the festival at the same time without even being in the same stage. Lead singer Patrick Stickles was the man of the night, leading a highly consistent five-piece that didn’t miss a note and still were the most punk-rock you could get for your €100. Things aren’t what they used to be. And the enemy is still everywhere.
Fucked Up. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Third time seeing Fucked Up, first time I decided to stay the fuck away from madness. 3AM, concrete floor, a tonsilitis, bruised sinews and sobriety kept me away from the eye of the storm (read: Damien Abraham, that dude that I didn’t get to see up on the stage because he was already next to the front row when I arrived at the Pitchfork stage). Nice to see the new kids are still vibin’ to “Son the Father” like they should. The perfect ending for most, although there was so much more after this.
The Magician. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
All those ecstatic concerts in the last hours of the festival seemed like a big build up to the party-hard sets from DJs The Magician and Coco, responsible for closing the festival on a high note: the first by booming his greatest accomplishment (read: an incredible remix of Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers”) that made everyone in the tent go nuts, and the second one by blasting hit after hit (and by “hit” we mean Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”) while the mastermind behind Primavera Sound picked a pair of original Wayfarer sunglasses from a visibly inebriated member of the press (who writes for an amazing website that absolutely no one reads – just like this one, but in Portuguese!) who was wearing them on stage at 5am. Good god. We love this festival. See you next year.
– DSS/AMB except when noted