Foxygen. Photo by Hugo Lima [NOS Primavera Sound]
We told you Xylouris White would be one of the acts to watch on the last day of the festival and they didn’t disappoint. Too bad their entertaining lute-drums combo was witnessed by only a couple of hundred people, some of them laying down in the ATP meadow, enjoying the sun without having to see local hero Manel Cruz on the main stage, who gathered a huge crowd early in the afternoon (full of people who clearly need to check their priorities, of course). The Thurston Moore Band was next, interesting as always, but we would rather listen to Demolished Thoughts-era straightforwardness rock songs instead of seemingly endless guitar riffs that seemed to go nowhere.
Now, Foxygen’s circus was pretty entertaining. Sure, if you saw their concert in Barcelona you noticed none of the theatrics was improvisation (he also broke up with both his girlfriend and boyfriend a week before…) including their stage exit mid-concert when they left their best song, “San Francisco”, playing in the background and then came back to butcher their second best song, “Shuggie”. Sam France knows how to annihilate his own band – they’ve announced this as their last tour ever – going out with a bang and having fun while doing it. Kudos.
Kevin Morby. Now we’re talking! It was Kevin Morby’s second time in Portugal (remember the first? We do.). Now presenting his second album, Still Life, with an added bass player that adds an extra layer to his songs (what a fantastic performance of “Harlem River”!) he has clearly surpassed what was already a great concert back in October. Songs like “Amen” (video above) or “All of My Life” sound even better live, and the final sequence of Bill Fay’s “I Hear You Calling” into his own “Parade” is already a live classic that we’ll be sad to see vanishing from his setlist when the time comes. A truly fantastic concert by one of the best songwriters of this decade and the best of day three.
Death Cab for Cutie. Photo by Hugo Lima [NOS Primavera Sound]
Death Cab for Cutie was right next on the Superbock stage. Nostalgia was never my thing – and it still isn’t. Ten years ago, I’ve listened to Transatlanticism and Plans more often than I would admit today. But hey, I also listened to the Editors and Kaiser Chiefs’ debut albums and people would have to pay me for me to go through the pain of seeing them live in 2015. What drove me to see DCFC instead of one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live (Einstürzende Neubauten at the marvellous Casa da Música back in 2008)? I don’t know, but I’m glad I did. For the first time in Portugal, and after cancelling their gig three years ago due to heavy rain (maybe they just wanted to see Portugal vs Germany like everyone else) they’ve presented some sort of greatest hits set (”Crooked Teeth”, “Soul Meets Body”, “The New Year”) along with a decent selection of songs off their latest albums (including the beautiful opener “I Will Possess Your Heart”). But what really made DCFC’s Portuguese debut memorable for the fans was show closer “Transatlanticism”, which lead to a reasonable amount of tears being shed throughout the audience.
One Direction for adults.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I would rather see 1D among thousands of hysteric 12 year olds than sit through five more minutes of The KVB or aligning myself with all this fake nostalgia that is pretending to be a massive Ride fan when nobody actually listens to Nowhere or Going Blank Again since the 90s. Unless you were one of those post-rock nerds who listened to all instrumental rock albums released between 2005 and 2007 then proceeded to experiment with similar genres, like shoegaze or dream pop. Either way, you’ll probably never listen to Ride again until they’re announced to play other festival.
Speaking of bands people only listen to once per year, Shellac has played for the first time outside their natural habitat, travelling from the ATP stage to the Pitchfork tent for yet another massive show that words can’t explain. And I wouldn’t do it if I could, go check them for yourself next year. No excuses!
The New Pornographers were up next at the ATP stage. Massive disappointment for those who were expecting Dan Bejar and Neko Case on stage. Bejar is simply irreplaceable – so irreplaceable that the only song written by him that the Pornos played was the amazing “Testament of Youth in Verse” – but Kathryn Calder’s stellar voice quickly made most of us forget Neko Case wasn’t there. By the apotheotic show closer “The Bleeding Heart Show” you couldn’t tell if it was Case or Calder singing the coda. A great concert that could’ve been something else if Bejar had nothing better to do back at home.
If you were expecting to read a really excited review of Underworld’s rave by the main stage, please go somewhere else. Still on the ATP stage, Ought stole the show by playing one of the most exciting shows of the festival, which is even more surprising if you take in consideration the fact that Tim Darcy’s voice sounds like the official soundtrack of being constantly bored/being hollow on the inside. (That’s a compliment!) Starting with a triad of some of the best songs in their debut More Than Any Other Day (”Pleasant Heart”, the frantic “The Weather Song” and “Today More Than Any Other Day”), Ought then proceeded to numb the audience with some slower but inspiring numbers (including some new songs) and then proceeded to rip it all again by playing album closer “Gemini” by the end of the set. By the end of the concert – after shouting WANT IT!/WANTED! countless times – you could see people in such a state of ecstasy that made them celebrate, run and dance all at the same time while trying to catch a glimpse of Underworld’s concert. I might have been one of them. Right on time to experience “Born Slippy .NUXX” live, the moment everyone was waiting for (and which made a lot of people leave the ATP stage before the end of Ought’s gig). That “Gemini” -> “Born Slippy” sequence was probably the most exciting combo I’ve witnessed live – a mix of old and new, of organic and electronic, of shouting and dancing – and it could only have happened in one festival. See you next year, Primavera.