Optimus Primavera Sound 2013: the preview

Before we leave, we want you to know which acts you shouldn’t miss on this year’s Optimus Primavera Sound. Ok, everyone knows you’re supposed to go see Blur, Nick Cave, Swans or MBV, but there’s more to the festival than those big names everyone knows about. Not that we’re listing pretty much unknown bands below, but… here are our choices. Special guest this year is CC Name of White Fence and Fictional Boys. Go see them. See you tomorrow!

Guadalupe Plata. Thursday, 6pm, Super Bock stage Primavera Sound

2010, Barcelona. A few minutes earlier I had witnessed one of the most intense concerts I’ve ever seen in a festival by three dudes from Israel playing among the crowd. But what most surprised me that evening was a little band playing for some 40 people in the little stage right next to the press lounge. That band was Guadalupe Plata, three bluesmen from Andalucia that anyone who didn’t know who they were could think they came straight from the the American deep south. Their new album (selftitled, like all their other releases) has a song called John Fahey’s Funeral, so now you might know what to expect from them. – DSS

The Breeders. Thursday, 9pm, Optimus stage

In Primavera’s last year’s edition, I happened to choose a 90’s band for my preview of the festival in the “to watch” acts (The Afghan Whigs). This year, once again, I have to make that call to the past: The Breeders, side-project of Pixies’ bassist Kim Deal and her twin sister Kelley, plus Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Jim Macpherson. Playing their acclaimed LP, Last Splash, from start to finish – although I guess there’s enough time for other songs, since the album doesn’t even last 40 minutes – expect them to teach indie kids how it’s done. All in all, a must see. Well… it is Optimus Primavera Sound’s first day, meaning there’re no overlaps. Just remember not to dine at 9:00 pm (if you dine at all during the 3 days). – BSC

Neko Case. Friday, 6:50pm, Super Bock stage

I’ve got a personal rule while watching (too) many concerts at Primavera, and essentially every other busy scheduled festival: I prefer watching the endings rather than the beginnings. I’ll explain better, in a scenario where a band I like is starting while I’m watching another I also like, I’ll wait to the end of the current show, and then move to the other. But May 31st at 18:50 might be an exception to the rule, as Neko Case is starting her concert at Super Bock Stage, leaving me to only 20 minutes in for Om. The Sun still shining is one of the reasons for my switch (yeah, kinda breaks the spirit and all that mambo jambo for Om), Neko’s beauty is the other reason; you shouldn’t miss one of the best alt-country songwriters out there. At least the very ending of it. – BSC

OM, Friday, 18:30pm, ATP stage

It’s complicated to define Om music as metal or as heavy. At least, since Advaitic Songs, the songs are a lot spiritual, the sludge and drone emerge gracefully and there’s some kind of mysticism in their music. I can give you some kind of advice: If you’re not an expert of the genre (and I’m not), I suggest you to give it a try. They have consistent and mysterious melodies, demonic tones and all of that give them the density and meditative melodies. A lot of textures, a lot of hypnotic repetitive grooves and spaced drums that will make the concert a quite pleasant experience. – CMT

Daniel Johnston,  Friday, 8pm, ATP stage

The concert of the iconographic singer/songwriter Daniel Johnston is going to be one of the moments that I most expect. In a way, we can say that the tumultuous figure of the artist truly transcends the musical part. I’m not saying that his songs aren’t that important. They are heartbreaking and unabashed pieces of sincerity, they have the struggles and scars of a life marked by mental illness. In the concert, I suppose we are going to see innumerous affecting moments, devastating masterpieces with their own intentions and meanings, making the night a little bit more existential. We can see the show like a catharsis from the problems of his life and the lonely way how he has trying to fight them.  Life lessons you should not miss. – CMT

Shellac. Friday, 11pm, ATP stage

Seriously, do you need me to explain to y’all again why the fuck you should leave Grizzly Bear alone and watch the most exciting rock and roll show of the world instead? – DSS

Four Tet. Friday, 0:15 am, Super Bock

There are beats and bleeps, tweaks and loops. There are laptops and fancy set-ups. And beyond all that, there is Kieren Hebden. A pro in melody making, layering sounds is his specialty. His unpredictable set will belwilder and confound you, but you will want him to keep going just to see what he comes up next. And when the right moment strikes, close your eyes and just shake it. And by it, I mean everything. – SMF

Do Make Say Think. Friday, 1:25am, Pitchfork stage

You could argue we’re not in the mid-00s anymore and listening to post-rock bands that aren’t named “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” is useless nowadays. I’m like that, too: after listening to every single release starred on afterthepostrock back in 2005/06 by bands with more than 4 words in their names, they’re the only ones I come back too every now and then. But if nostalgia is the only reason bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Pixies or Pavement are still playing shows in freakin’ 2013, why shouldn’t I be pumped to finally see a band whose three early 00s albums I listened way more often than I should? They play at the same time Blur goes on stage, so their show’s attendance will probably look like a Constellation Records fan meeting. – DSS

Glass Candy. Friday, 3am, Pitchfork stage

I saw them play in LA while I was in a duet writing period, and loved Ida No’s voice so much i named a song after her. Tim did a cover of it on 
White Fence’s “Family Perfume”. I really hope I can see Swans and Meat Puppets too. – CC Name (White Fence)

Fuck Buttons,  Friday, 3:25am, ATP stage

Fuck Buttons music is truly original. They have some kind of visceral power, corrosive swats and some euphoric rhythms. Tarot Sports gave them the credibility of a second album full of climaxes, fuzzy synthesizers and noise, lot’s of noise. The distortion and the vibrations give to their music a gorgeously sonic experience. On stage, we are expecting strong beats and a mesmerizing event. The hard dynamic and craft elements will make the bodies sway and the excitement will be infectious. The abrasive and post-apocalyptical tones will make us dance until our muscles hurt. – CMT

The Drones. Saturday, 7:05pm, Super Bock stage

If Primavera Sound was some sort of worldwide indie Eurovision Contest, my 12 points would go straight to Australia and the festival hasn’t even begun. Arguably OZ’s best band to sprout after the Bad Seeds, the Drones will be playing their only shows in Europe this year at both Primaveras, in support of their new monolyth of an album, “I See Seaweed”. Their intense show at the 2009 edition was one of the highlights of the festival for me – they even made me travel to Madrid later in the year to see them again – and I won’t lie, this is the concert I’m expecting the most. If you’re not yet convinced to go and see this rock and roll monument, perhaps I should let you know that they were picked by Neil Young to support him on his latest Australian tour. Hope that validates my opinion and excitement. – DSS

Dinosaur Jr. Saturday, 8:20pm, Optimus stage

Go grab a couple of beers after the Drones show and proceed imediately to that big stage right next to where you were earlier. Mascis, Barlow & co are still rocking like teenagers some 25 years after they shook the pre-Nirvana American alternative rock scene. After failing to see their show at the Paredes de Coura festival back in 2007 (seriously, what the fuck was I thinking when I stood in the rain for most of the borefest that was the New York Dolls’ neverending gig while waiting for Dino to come on stage only to give up and listen to the concert in a flooded tent instead?) this is a show I can’t miss. – DSS

Dan Deacon. Saturday, 1:20 am, Pitchfork 

So you want to have fun at this year’s OPS? Worry no more. Dan Deacon brings with him drums, wires, lights and a myriad of buttons that produce the most danceable noises. But be aware, there’s no standing-with-your-arms-crossed-looking-serious-and-tapping-your-foot bullshit allowed. Hold on to your straw hats and ray-bans, pay attention to the choreo class and get ready to dance like you already had one too many sangrias! – SMF

Titus Andronicus. Saturday, 1:55am, ATP stage

This is the most uplifting concert you could see in this year’s edition of Optimus Primavera Sound and we think you could use a punk rock-infused shot of energy to help you make it through the night. Don’t forget there’s still a Fucked Up show not to miss at 3am. – DSS

Fucked Up. Saturday, 3am, Pitchfork stage

I’ll go straight to the point here, here’s a bunch of reasons for this being probably the best concert of Optimus Primavera Sound:

– It is preceded by Titus Andronicus, Dan Deacon and My Bloody Valentine. Whichever you choose, you’ll get a decent warm-up at least, either the inspirational rock of Titus Andronicus, the partying Dan Deacon OR YOU KNOW, THE GET-YOUR-EARS-RIGHT MY BALONEY VOLATILE (WHAT?! MY DARLING CLEMENTINE?!)

– It’s Saturday night, and only two concerts to go. Do you really want to play that “Man, I’m exhausted” card?

– And Fucked Up is set to be at the Pitchfork tent, ahahah this will end badly

So there you go. If you miss to be carried in the arms of Damian Abraham during the punkest of the hardcore punk song, you’re failing in life. – BSC

The Magician. Saturday, 4 am, Pitchfork 

It’s the final countdown to the end of the festival. Your last chance to buy an overpriced beer to that girl you’ve been chatting up. Or just to dance until your feet hurt. The Magician will definitely pull some of my favourite remixes out of the hat, and perhaps will have some italo disco, synth pop or new beat up his sleeve. Who knows? A good magician never reveals his secrets. But remember, "they‘re called illusionsMichael“. – SMF


Optimus Primavera Sound 2013: the timetables

Finally. Optimus Primavera Sound 2013 starts next Thursday, May 30 and we’ll be covering all aspects of the festival – be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter and Facebook as well as the extensive review we’ll publish next week. And by extensive we do really mean “write about all the concerts our collaborators are able to attend”. For now – like we did last year – we’re publishing the colored printable timetable everyone loves so you don’t miss any concert. Again, we teamed up with the Portuguese website P3 to give you the most printable beautiful timetable in town. There’s also an Excel version of it in case you feel like editing the cells’ colors to highlight the concerts you can’t miss.

Download printable timetable (PDF format)

Download editable timetable (Excel spreadsheet, XLS)


Jacob Faurholt used to be Crystal Shipsss by himself. But Crystal Shipsss is now a full blown band and they’re releasing a new EP full of slow burners like “Listening to Devil Town”, a song about, you’re right, listening to Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town”. Crystal Shipsss EP is out next May 6th on digital + cassette. Daniel would be proud and I’ll probably throw a cassette into the stage when I see him performing at Optimus Primavera Sound by the end of May.



Remembering Optimus Primavera Sound 2012: a month later and day 4

Ah, Optimus Primavera Sound. It’s been already a month. From now on it will be way slower the time passing by to the next edition, already confirmed to take place at the simply perfect Parque da Cidade, Porto, from May 30th to June 2nd. Really hard to wait, you say? Don’t you worry, it looks like the Autumn version of the festival, the Primavera Club will also take place in Portugal this year! Take note: November 30th through December 2nd in Guimarães, European Capital of Culture in 2012. How cool is that?

Moving on, if you haven’t been to Primavera but wanted to know all that happened, you realized that there aren’t many reviews from the last day. Not hard to figure why: venues with limited space, a lot of people who left Porto earlier and so on. As for Bolachas?


Yep, I was one of the lucky ones who got a ticket for Olivia Tremor Control and Jeff Mangum at Casa da Música. (Actually forget luck, I went earlier to the festival site, waiting in the line for those golden tickets who assured entrance to these shows. Took me about 2 hours for one of it to be in my hands, but people by the same place in line as me even managed to get it faster, due to the fact that there was the waiting line to get in the festival and then the actual line for the tickets, and by the entrance the inspection was divided by gender and the girls were quicker and ok fuck that, I got it and you didn’t, moving on)

By the reaction of the crowd, it seemed that the Olivia Tremor Control concert was being amusing. Well it wasn’t. It wasn’t just that. It was, also, incredible.

Six musicians – only the drummer, I think, played the same instrument all along – who knew their shit, some of them very talented. And by “some of them” I mean the bassist. When he wasn’t the violinist. Or when he wasn’t the oboe player (oboist sounds awful but so it is). Also, he looks a lot like with me, which explains all the delighted chicks on the crowd. And that is the last time I’ll go personal, sorry again for that.

I’m the blue one.

By this point everybody can assume this was intense. And sure you’re right, OTC playing song after song with little or no interval in between. All great songs, very characterized with that Beach Boys vibe, thank you all for singing (musicians!), but also fearless in experimentation and tripping balls. Yes, I’m talking to you, Mike Love. Pussy.

Many thanks to Rita, a strong lassie on fights for setlists

This noisy and carried away part got a lot intense by the middle of the concert, approximately, much like in their acclaimed last work, Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume 1, back in the days. And also lots of songs from this one (setlist above), for example “Hideaway”, making me shake my head like it was a dog’s tail who just saw his owner arriving home, or “I Have Been Floated”, ear friendly chorus and IS THAT JEFF MANGUM? Oh yeah, just before the 2nd chorus, there he was, the former member of OTC, joining them on stage, for the rejoice of the fullpacked crowd of Mangum’s fans.

Few more headshaking moments and then realizing the concert was about to finish, in little more than 60 minutes I think, wasn’t paying attention as you’d imagine. And what can I say? Well, let me put into this: if I had gone to this as a hardcore fan of the band, this right here would be the best concert of Primavera 2012. But now I’m becoming one of those nuts, I’m converted. As if the beauty of discovering and enjoying unheard bands by attending clueless one of their shows wasn’t enough. Loved it.



So, what about Neutral Milk Hotel? Jeff Mangum, whatever. This one was special, as you might have guessed, due to popular demand, he had to play another concert by four o’clock for those who couldn’t make it to the evening show. Hardcore fans attending those two didn’t regret it for sure. I also heard that the afternoon one missed to “sold” out, which is a shame. As I already mentioned, the venue was fullpacked, opening seats for the orchestra countertop in the back of the stage and also in the balconies.

Uff, so much I could talk about. In fact, fuck it, I’ll just stay short in words. There’s no way I could add anything more to the satisfaction of the fans, it was a dream who came true to a lot of those people, checking their indie idol just three feet away. Oh yeah, Jeff sent a big “fuck you” to Casa da Música and invited the people to get up and go to up front and some even sat on the stage by his side. Screw you, benches (no pun intended). Can you already imagine all the fans hysteria? (PS: Olivia Tremor Control also deserved this, you people)

As for the non-fans, which were not a few I risk to say, me in part included… I’m quite bipolar to Jeff Mangum songs, some I think are marvelous, others crap, others just fun. But in the end? Most his set was composed of songs from the first batch. It was pretty good, indeed. I caught myself singing to some songs (Jeff allowed us to sing along some tunes, don’t beat me) and even the ones I definitely don’t like were cool. Totally worth it. Thank you very much for “Naomi” and a handful of other greats, man. Go die in peace, Mangum’s people (compliment).

So is this how it ends?

Credits to: Hugo Lima

Kindness © Hugo Lima, Optimus Primavera Sound

No funking way! Bad joke aside, there I was, moving from Casa da Música to Hard Club to check Kindness, with, I can almost swear, the other only 3 people who did this. While it sounds like no one cared about this option for the last day of festival, I’m just going to say that it was actually worse than Jeff, in terms of space to move. Seriously, I had never seen Hard Club’s Room 1 so full, and it’s the Porto venue I most visited. And there’s an easy explanation, which we concluded soon we got there: since the shows were free and the ticket to them was obtained right there, all the foreign people who couldn’t attend Mangum’s shows or even couldn’t care less showed up. And thank you, it was a blast. Kindness are still young as a band, but their ways to make you groove are way back to the days, and their final product isn’t quite antiquated. A charismatic frontman, which best job is to go through the crowd with a tambourine from the stage to the exit door, only noticeable when he’s meters from you (seriously, mindfuck of the day, he’s tall and long haired, how come he just shows up when he’s already in front of you?!), two hot chicks doing choirs and even assuming the lead sometimes, sweet bass, sweet guitar, sweet keys and holy shit the drummer! What an animal. Completely stole the show. 

Their two top hits “Gee Up” and “That’s Alright” didn’t miss, of course, and even came back in the encore. That was the worst think I can remember from the show, but nevermind, got a chance to see that drummer do a solo and, fuck this, destroying the set with a little help from the leader. And that’s how you close the best urban festival to take place in Portugal. It will be a hard year mssng Primavera.

© Hugo Lima, Optimus Primavera Sound



Optimus Primavera Sound 2012: day 3

Oh, festivals on rainy days. Such a pleasure for absolutely no one. Everyone loves guest appearances in festivals, but would invite such an inconvenient entity? My one and only guess is “students who couldn’t attend the festival due to having to study for exams”. You made little girls cry, are you happy now?