Combining a rural setting like Paredes de Coura with music of fearsome intensity is a great idea and the festival offers the opportunity to wander green fields and watch acts of a stunning quality. Paredes de Coura is one of the best organized festivals it has been our pleasure to attend. Hosting two stages, people who come to this festival like music and are open to new things. For most of the audience, will be their first time hearing many bands and it’s usually love at first sight. If you’re going there, you definitely need to look to some bands and here’s our recommendations.
Janelle Monáe – Wednesday, Vodafone stage, 11:30pm
Her intimate nature, fun-loving attitude and great natural talent are the main qualities of a born entertainer. In her last sophomore album called Electric Lady, she find a way to give us more of herself. She synthetises a parade of golden touchstones like Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye into a show-stopping display of force and talent. The emotional core of her music almost every time succeeds to connect us to gorgeously tender soul ballads mixed with singular swagger and schizophrenic sonic, making the concert an completely unmissable experience.
Conor Oberst – Friday, Vodafone stage, 9:20pm
Conor was 19 when we wrote some beautiful poems recorded in Fevers And Mirrors, an album ridden by angster and a fantastic lyric depth. As frontman of Bright Eyes, he always tried to lead us to existentially tinged meditations on life, philosophy and depression. A decade and a half later, in his first solo album, he still writes about high times and bad choices, about matured love and responsibility in a sumptuous immersion of californian folk. He still has some of the most passionate, angry and damming songs. The Los Angeles band Dawes, will back up Conor after playing a dependable set of their own, helping him to keep a steady grip on songs from his new solo record and some music that ranged from Bright Eyes.
Mac DeMarco – Thursday, Vodafone stage, 9:20pm
DeMarco’s current Salad Days brings us far more serious and personal songs that he’s ever made. The flamboyant personality and the jokester persona get him over a abundant public adoration but maybe he wants to be appreciated for the right reasons, trying to be a little more mature and making the things easier for listeners. You can expect some fusing airy jams and soft rock to lo-fi psych-pop with blasé lyrics and lots of echoes of reverb driving the sparse into a frenzy with a engaging set.
Dawes – Friday, Vodafone.fm stage, 6pm
If you already like them while reading these lines, thank Conor Oberst for bringing them along, or else you’d probably never see them around. Dawes, a rootsy rock band from LA, is the kind of band that doesn’t really attract much attention in Europe, let alone in the British-generic-pop-rock-band-paradise that is the festival scene in Portugal. In the past 5 years, brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith have surrounded themselves with some of the finest musicians and producers in southern California (Jonathan Wilson, Conor Oberst et al.) and released three of the best sounding Laurel Canyon-like records in years. Don’t miss them.
Buke and Gase – Friday, Vodafone.fm stage, 7pm
Noisy rock alchemists Buke and Gase will also play their debut show in Portugal. This duo of multiinstrumentalists from Brooklyn is one of the few bands in the mindiestream festival circuit who can proudly carry the tag ‘experimental’ without sounding like lazy and pretentious twats. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez actually build their own instruments like the “buke” (some sort of really small 6-string guitar) and the “gase” (guitar/bass hybrid) – hence the name.
The Dodos – Saturday, Vodafone.fm stage, 7pm
The Dodos finish their latest European stint with a show in the last day of the Vodafone Paredes de Coura festival. Presenting their latest album, Carrier, they’ve been playing small venues in Portugal since 2008. I first heard about them when some friends from Coimbra booked them their first show in Portuguese soil back then and I always found something refreshing in each of their five albums they’ve released so far. From catchy indie pop tunes (like “Fables” on Time to Die) to the delicate folk songs of their debut LP, everything they do, they do it well. Can’t wait to see how much their live show has evolved in the last 6 years and you should too.