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NOS Primavera Sound 17: welcome to our top ten

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(Photo: Hugo Lima / nosprimaverasound.com)

Oh my brothers and oh my other comrades… six years of NOS Primavera Sound, six years we’ve left the Parque da Cidade hungry for more. After another sold out edition, we’re wondering if the festival needs to grow a bit more. And the answer is “no it doesn’t”. We love it just the way it is: a smaller, familiar festival that keeps us from going to Barcelona because we simply don’t need it anymore, even after those two sweet, sweet editions we were a part of (’09 and ‘10).

10. HAMILTON LEITHAUSER

After repeated listens of Leithauser’s debut record (with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam), I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, we couldn’t help but think “A 1000 Times” was a one hit wonder. Things are shaken up a bit live, but the single still stands strong as the major highlight, a contender for one of the best moments of the whole festival, with Leithauser screaming his heart out during the verses.  

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9. THE GROWLERS

Half an hour of The Growlers’ gig was enough to grant them a spot on our top ten. In the end, all you need is a great song – and they’ve delivered it in the form of “Love Test”, off hit record Chinese Fountain. The Growlers have grown from the garage scene and matured well enough to grant them a safe spot at a festival’s major stage, but they remain young at heart. Wish we could have stayed for “Going Gets Tough” later in the set, but some band was calling our names in a stage nearby… (Photo: Miguel Oliveira / pointandshoot.pt)

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8. SLEAFORD MODS

The Nottingham duo sounded a bit less abrasive than in the past, but they’re still what you should look for in a festival stage if you want a good time. Props to Andrew Fearn for keeping the best job ever (traveling the world, hitting the ‘play’ button every now and then and bobbing his head while holding a 50cl can of beer, and drinking it). (Photo: Hugo Lima / nosprimaverasound.com)

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7. SAMUEL ÚRIA

Our favorite Portuguese songwriter of the 21st century had the honor to open NOS Primavera Sound 2017 and of course he was up to the task. It was also the first time in six years that we’ve seen someone dance in the first concert of the festival, when people are usually busy seeing friends they rarely see during the rest of the year and having the first beers while there’s barely any queuing. “É Preciso Que Eu Diminua”, from his latest record, and old favorite “Teimoso” did the trick.

6. JULIEN BAKER

Playing simultaneously with the festival’s headliner, especially since the headliner is also a fellow singer-songwriter, is a tough job. Still, the few hundreds who (rightfully so) thought this kind of music is best enjoyable in a small crowd, close to the stage, and not in the middle of 20-something thousand people were rewarded with what was probably the best solo delivery of this festival. The young Julien Baker, alone at the microphone, presented new songs (“Distant Solar Systems”, “Funeral Pyre”) from her second record, her yet unnamed Matador debut that should be due later this year. We have, indeed, witnessed the beginning of something important. And beautiful.

5. MITSKI

Like The Growlers an hour before, Mitski was hurt (well, not literally, just our appreciation of her gig) by the fact that our annual celebration with a certain Chicago trio did not allow us to be there at 9pm sharp. Still, our swift run to the Pitchfork stage has rewarded us with the chance to witness her playing the song that turned us on to her music, Bury Me at Makeout Creek’s “First Love / Late Spring”. However, the highlight of her show had to be the closer “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars”. Who does not relate to the words “I work better under a deadline”?

4. WEYES BLOOD

Her birthday wasn’t until one hour later, but in the end it was Natalie Mering who gave us a present instead. Playing most of Front Row Seat to Earth, an album we unfortunately haven’t seen her play before – and with a full band – this was one of our most awaited shows and we weren’t disappointed. And, on top of her having the most beautiful voice of the whole festival, the band delivered a pretty decent version of Can’s “Vitamin C”.

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3. JAPANDROIDS

In an edition of the festival where we ended up seeing mostly “quieter” acts, Japandroids – along with our favorite band, read along… – was one of the exceptions to the rule. It’s difficult to stand still while the Canadians are on stage, throwing us punches left and right. (Photo: Miguel Oliveira / pointandshoot.pt)

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2. NIKKI LANE

Playing for an understandably small audience given the options, the Highway Queen still deserved a bigger crowd. Mostly playing songs from her latest album (“700,000 Rednecks”, “Send the Sun”, “Highway Queen”, “Jackpot”), our favorite country princess/queen/just give her a crown already ended things in style with a great version of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”. (Photo: Miguel Oliveira / pointandshoot.pt)

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1. SHELLAC OF NORTH AMERICA

What did you expect? My seventh Shellac show in eight Primaveras (two in Barcelona, six in Porto), although not my favorite from the bunch – 2016 was unreal – was indeed the best of the 2017 edition. Back in the ATP meadow, and earlier than ever (8:30), they didn’t even need two of their biggest classics (“The End of Radio” and “Prayer to God” were absent from the setlist) to set the crowd ablaze. New crowd favorite “Wingwalker” was as fun as ever, “Steady as She Goes”, “My Black Ass” and “Squirrel Song” provided the most headbanging fodder and, by the time the show ended, most people would be perfectly fine with an additional half hour. Yes, it’s true: year after year, Shellac is still the best rock band you can see in a stage. (Photo: Hugo Lima / nosprimaverasound.com)

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NOS Primavera Sound 2017: what not to miss

Shellac.

Ok, ok, let’s get a little bit deeper than this.

First, the playlist:

THURSDAY, JUNE 8

We know it’s hard to go to the festival this early, especially when the only artist playing that early is a Portuguese singer-songwriter singing in a language you probably don’t understand. But really, give him a shot: Samuel Úria (17:00, Super Bock stage) is probably our favorite dude-with-a-guitar-singing-in-Portuguese. This should have been Grandaddy’s night, but misfortune knocked at their door and we’ll get Arab Strap instead (21:10, Super Bock). Recently reunited after a 10-year hiatus, the Scottish influent duo might look oddly placed between Miguel’s adventurous R&B (20:00, NOS) and Run the Jewels’ (22:20, NOS) raucous hip hop set, but hey, this is Primavera.


FRIDAY, JUNE 9

Painful decisions are to be made early in the day, with Whitney **(18:50, Super Bock) and **Royal Trux (19:00, Palco., or “the stage formerly known as ATP”) fighting for your attention. Last year’s _Light Upon the Lake _and their recent new single “You’ve Got a Woman” brought Whitney to the spotlight and were one of our highlights at last years’ Vodafone Paredes de Coura Festival. If they bring the full band to Porto it will be difficult to not see at least part of their show, but the prospect of witnessing Royal Trux’s reunion show swings the pendulum on the other direction. Last year, Neil Hagerty walked all over whoever was seeing him at the same stage, and this year he brings his lifelong partner Jennifer Herrema along. Well, at least **Angel Olsen **(19:50, NOS), who needs no introduction (seriously, she doesn’t – this is usually what people say when they’re too lazy to write anything substantial about an artist, but she really doesn’t) has no opposition, so I guess we’ll all be there, right?

Same with the first 30min of Sleaford Mods (20:30, Palco.), we’re guessing. Their music is definitely not for everyone, but then again most music isn’t. Just one day after the British election, expect the Nottingham working class heroes to be extra angry while spitting their verses. We were similarly angry when we realized two of our favorite acts in the whole festival, Nikki Lane (21:00, Pitchfork) and Teenage Fanclub (21:00, Super Bock) are clashing. Life isn’t fair. Country darling Nikki Lane has just released her third solo album, Highway Queen, and has a mountain to climb trying to win over a crowd that usually disregards country music as food for hillbillies’ ears. Teenage Fanclub, lords of British indie rock, have been touring relentlessly after releasing one of the finest albums of their almost 3 decades long career, Here. The toughest choice of the year.

And here’s to hoping we can hear Julien Baker (22:30, Pitchfork) during Swans’ set a few metres away (22:00, Palco.). The young songwriter from Memphis is set for indie stardom, releasing her sophomore record later this year on Matador, and faces fierce opposition, not only from Swans (on their last tour, at least with this lineup) but from bearded-folky-guy-turned-glitchy-weirdo Bon Iver. Later on, Hamilton Leithauser (00:00, Pitchfork) returns to Primavera without his Walkmen and the party goes on with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (01:00, Palco.) and Nicolas Jaar (01:00, NOS) splitting the audience in half: rockers to the left, dancers to the right.


SATURDAY, JUNE 10

The Growlers’ (19:50, NOS) make some of the catchiest songs of modern rock and roll, and their latest record, produced by the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, is filled to the brink with such tracks. Expect fun. Then, it’s time for the yearly pilgrimage to wherever Shellac are playing (20:30, Palco.). This year, they play unusually early, but maybe that’s a good thing – they’re back to the stage where they originally played every year. Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer will – of course – once again provide us with the best show of the festival. I’m pretty sure we wrote the same exact thing last year.

Mitski (21:00, Pitchfork) is not exactly a good kept secret anymore, with her Dead Oceans-released latest album, Puberty 2, making her reach new heights. She will be followed by another songwriter at the top of her career, **Weyes Blood **(22:30, Pitchfork). _Front Row Seat to Earth _was one of our favorite records of 2016. Like Julien Baker the night before, she’s playing simultaneously with two of the most popular artists in the festival, but will have no trouble catching the attention of whoever passes casually through that stage.

Towards the end of the festival we switch to full-on party mode, with Canadian garage rock duo Japandroids (23:20, Super Bock) warming up to Aphex Twin (00:30, NOS)’s clusterfuck of a set (preview here) and The Black Angels (01:00, Palco.)’s psychedelic rock. And while we’re still longing for another of those DJ Coco sets at closing time that (again) won’t happen this year, there’s still a lot of dance to be had until the sun comes up for the last time.

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Bolachas Now Playing

#90: Nikki Lane, “Highway Queen”

Nikki Lane is one of our favorite songwriters right now. Her third record, Highway Queen, has just been released and we’re beyond happy to share a couple of songs with you on our fifth playlist of 2017.

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live

Festival Paredes de Coura 2012 – Day 1

You know, It’s rainy. My sixth year and I’ve never witnessed such a monsoon. To make things better I was camping, my tent got completely soaked and with it all my clothes and mostly all my food. I needed a bucket to drain the water, so I decided to sleep on my car until the sun decided to show up. Bear Grylls is a spoiled brat when compared to what I’ve been through.

© Hugo Lima

 © Hugo Lima

Anyway, let’s jump forward. Concerts. First thing, compared to the last day this one had a lot more to offer.

Sun Araw started early, first show of the day. As usual, Cameron Stallones brought us a cosmic voyage even Carl Sagan would be jealous of. Guitars full of echoes and different vibes presented the tenacious audience. Especially those who were high on mescaline.

One of the most expected bands on the whole – Japandroids – just followed. Vancouver born and raised the duo delighted the audience. With their fast and aggressive play style they conquered all of the soggy hearts in the public, and, eventually, the moshing started. The house that heaven built was probably the most well received song among everyone and there was even time for a little sing along on the chorus.

 Japandroids © Hugo Lima

I confess I’m not a fan of tUnE-yArDs (fuck this typo), but I guess everyone digged them and I heard wonders after the show. First of all I’m not fan of androgynous girls but I guess you must be different these days, right?

Anyway, it was a happy show, and I’m glad it was. Everytime Merrill Garbus clapped everyone did. She was such a crowd pleaser. The music, you know how it is. Can’t say it isn’t catchy… but I’m not the biggest fan. Sorry guys.  Anyhow, if you’re fan of the band I guess you’d be pleased watching them, especially Merrill.

 tUnE-yArDs © Hugo Lima

Now the moment I’ve been waiting for. As a fan of Pavement (especially Wowee Zowee), Malkmus is one of my favorite songwriters. Unfortunately it wasn’t Pavement playing but nevertheless Malkmus needed the main stage. C’mon. Diss dudes. That’s what you did.

Mostly playing his latest Mirror Traffic, a somehow less noisier record, the crowd just didn’t noticed what was happening. Apart from – supposedly – most known songs like Tigers or Senator both featured on their latest, there was still time for some oldies (e.g. Jenny and The Ess Dog, Church on White) and even for a Pavement cover (Speak, See, Remember). Standard (amazing) rock show just happened. God bless you, Stephen.

 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks © Hugo Lima

Now time for some Friends. Exactly, to meet my friends. But there was still time to witness the beautiful Samantha Urbani disguised as a policewoman (?) and making every guy in the crowd tempted.  She tried to please the audience with crowdsurfing, references to Pussy Riot (the russian band, etc) and I guess the crowd digged her. Not literally, but they wished.

 Friends © Hugo Lima

Portuguese favorite fatty (see day 0 post) was back now with a band named PAUS (sticks). With a strong bass, frantic keyboard and double drums they seem to be one of the favorites among the public. One of their members, Hélio Morais just gave back the warm acceptance saying that “Paredes de coura é amor” (Paredes de coura is Love, more or less like this.) Guess you’ll always be welcome here.

 Nice Shirt. PAUS © Hugo Lima

Nuno Lopes was the chosen DJ the close the close the stage. Classic.

JFC

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live

Paredes de Coura Festival 2012 – the preview

My personal favorite festival Paredes de Coura is just ahead and we’re here to welcome it. Almost a landmark in Portugal, Paredes de Coura is turning twenty this year. And what a big boy it has become. From the likes of Sonic Youth, Arcade Fire, Dinosaur Jr., Queens of the Stone Age, Yo La Tengo, Mogwai, PJ Harvey, Pixies, Death from Above 1979, Morrissey, Bauhaus, The Cramps (and we could keep going), the shores of river Tabuão (that sets the perfect idyllic scenery) have seen it all. More than you probably will in your whole life.