Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and unbiased when writing about a festival that is such a big part of your life. Except for two (very) unremarkable lineups that made me stay home, since I was old enough to go to college all my summers involved a trip to Paredes de Coura (and a painful trip back, too). When you’re a kid, they say you’ll eventually get older and boring, in a process they call “becoming an adult”. This usually comes with amazing perks such as ceasing to listen to any new music whatsoever, stopping seeing your (also ageing) friends, having great conversations about changing diapers with your remaining friends (yes, the other couple with kids you always go vacationing with to some shitty beach full of other couples with kids and the odd mother-in-law). Obviously, a multi-day, non-kid friendly, rural music festival such as Festival Paredes de Coura seems like one of those things that are amongst the first to drop from your newfound “adult life”. Except you don’t have to be that person; and is there anything better to remind you of that than going there and finding all your friends in the same place, same month, year after year, all over again? (Well, other than imagining the smell of those diapers.)
Vodafone Paredes de Coura 2018. Photo by Hugo Lima.
Another summer, another missed opportunity to have a vacation somewhere because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be other than at our little paradise of Paredes de Coura, in northwestern Portugal. The festival runs from the 14th to the 17th of August, but, like always, the fun begins way earlier than that, with four fun-packed, free entrance days with concerts and DJ sets right in the center of the small Minho village.
Three years later, Sensible Soccers finally drop their third LP and we still have no idea why they’re not taking this record worldwide with a big ass tour. This might be their best album to date. Plus: new songs by Matmos, The Comet is Coming, The Budos Band, The Mystery Lights, Black Pumas, Sasami, illuminati hotties, Lola Kirke, Jenny Lewis,Kim Lenz, Michael Nau, Helado Negro, The Fire Harvest, Tyler Ramsey, The Wild Reeds, Bill MacKay, James Yorkston, Carl Anderson, Baptiste W. Hamon, Daniel Norgren, and Howe Gelb.
After featuring Julia Jacklin’s Crushing as our record of the week in the same day she was announced in our beloved Festival Vodafone Paredes de Coura, we wanted the same thing to happen to The Cactus Blossoms… we hope they’re listening. Their second album, “Easy Way”, is just as catchy as their debut, which landed them a spot in the last Twin Peaks season. But there’s so much more than cult TV show appearances to the coolest band coming out of the US in the last couple of years. If you haven’t found it all by yourself yet, feel free to start here.
Plus: one and a half hour of new songs by the Mountain Goats, Hand Habits, Anna Burch, Big Thief, Kevin Morby, Sam Cohen, Sebadoh, Jess Ribeiro, Alex Lahey, Royal Trux, Jackie Cohen, Stella Donnelly, Solange, Sensible Soccers, Cavalheiro, Living Hour, Jacob Faurholt, Robert Forster, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Hiss Golden Messenger, Quaker City Night Hawks, Murray A. Lightburn, and The Tallest Man On Earth.
I’ll start this article by stating the obvious: the fifth edition of NOS Primavera Sound ended up having the most solid set of shows so far. As it’s the case with most festivals, this obviously depends on the choices you make, your taste in music, from where you choose to watch the gigs from, your level of intoxication, your company (or absence of) and, of course, the profile of the crowd surrounding you. Never leave those bastards spoil any show for you. Also, don’t be that bastard. Everybody hates you. Why don’t you just play with your phone in the new amazing food truck area instead of being in the front rows shouting like you’re in a loud bar? Summer festivals definitely need to have a stage with DJs permanently playing dance music the whole day. Maybe those idiots who don’t want to see concerts anyway spend the whole day there.