With “The Dream and the Dreamer”, Jeremy Ivey ceases being just Margo Price’s husband and sidekick, and establishes himself as a songwriter worth following. It’s hard to believe this is Ivey’s debut album, and we hope it’s not the last. Some of the best americana we’ve heard this year. Plus: new tracks by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Tindersticks, The Orphan Brigade, Daniel Martin Moore, Christopher Paul Stelling, Alasdair Roberts, Richard Dawson, Matt Dorrien, Lola Kirke, Okey Dokey, Olivia Jean, Dry Cleaning, Pip Blom, Long Beard, (Sandy) Alex G, Angel Olsen, Jenny Hval, DJ Firmeza, Murs, JPEGMAFIA, Yves Tumor, Tørsö, and Swans.
NOS Primavera Sound 2017: what not to miss
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.
Amplifest 2014: the preview
The happening of the Autumn, the weekend of the year. Amplifest is back for its fourth edition with the most ambitious and varied lineup ever. Where else can you find Swans, Marissa Nadler, Ben Frost, Peter Brötzmann, Woven Hand, Pharmakon, Allhousseini Anivolla or Cult of Luna fit in the lineup of a small, indoor 2-day festival?
In downtown Porto, European Best Destination 2014, lies the recently renewed and majestic venue Hard Club, in a centenary building where once operated one of the busiest markets of the city. Now it houses two concert rooms where most of the magic happens, plus a restaurant and the most pleasant mainfloor I’ve chilled in a music venue that will also hold a concert, talks, exhibitions, listening parties and a record fair. And don’t forget the film programme, which includes a really interesting screening of Raffaele Mosca’s March of the Gods: Botswana Metalheads, a film about, well, you know, Botswana’s exquisite metal scene.
But let’s not forget about what drives people to music festivals in the first place: s̶o̶c̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶n̶e̶t̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶* the concerts, of course. Here are our picks for this years’ edition of Amplifest. Be sure to check all the info, the complete lineup, buy your tickets in advance, etc at the festival’s website. Oh, we forgot. Not a festival, an experience.
PETER BRÖTZMANN & STEVE NOBLE (Sala 2, 5:25 – 6:10)
“Free jazz from free jazz!” Steve Noble’s drumming skills will be pushed to the limit by German veteran saxophonist and free jazz luminary Peter Brötzmann. I chose to not listen by anything they’ve recorded together (spoilers!), but I sure expect a lot from this duo. While Brötzmann needs no introduction at all for the average music lover who dares to challenge himself every now and then, Noble is an experienced drummer who also plays in Æthenor and collaborated with the likes of Ikue Mori, Derek Bailey or Stephen O’Malley. This should be interesting. And produce a whole lot of noise.
MARISSA NADLER (Sala 1, 6:20 – 7:20)
The calm after the storm, except for the broken hearted. After releasing a myriad of lesser known albums, which includes the excellent Songs III: Bird on the Water (a true gem and one of the most breathtaking albums taken from the American psychedelic folk revival at the end of the 00s), singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler finally broke through this year with her not-major-but-certainly-not-minor-label debut, July (Sacred Bones/Bella Union). Playing in Portugal for the first time – despite having some of her official videos filmed by Portuguese video artist Joana Linda – this will most likely be the most intimate moment of the festival. If I could take my eyes off the stage, I’d sure see people crying.
BEN FROST (Sala 1, 00:15 – 01:15)
Yes, I skipped Swans. Everyone and their mother/father has heard about them, at least if they own a Facebook account. Enough is enough and the music speaks for itself. Ben Frost is the real highlight on day 1. When I first listened to his masterpiece, 2009’s By the Throat, I certainly did not expect and was appalled by the massive layers of industrial noise (Jesus Christ, I was hoping for something more soft and mellow when I decided to download yet another Bedroom Community record) that were presented to me before its true beauty revealed itself: an album that even without using visual elements sets an entire scenery for us to glare. It could be a movie. It could be a nightmare. I know he’s presenting his – actually as wonderful – new album A U R O R A, but during an entire hour I’ll pretend I’ll be living that nightmare again.
WOVENHAND (Sala 1, 7:30 – 9:00)
One of the best possible reasons for not watching the final minutes of a FC Porto home game is being blessed with the possibility of seeing Denver’s finest outfit Wovenhand. David Eugene Edwards’ brainchild is one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget that rainy night at Casa da Música where I was repeatedly trampled by a Southern Gothic-inspired monster of a band, with Edwards preaching above all – and I liked it. This is the main reason everyone should be there and they’re worth every cent of your ticket. Shut up and praise the Lord.
CULT OF LUNA (Sala 1, 10:40 – 00:10)
Coimbra, 21st April 2007. Seven and a half years ago. That was one of the last times I listened to Cult of Luna. I was beginning to fall out of love with extreme music. I remember I didn’t even bother to pay attention to their next output, Eternal Kingdom, one year after, expect for that behemoth of a track that is “Ghost Trail”. Still, that night in a ruined monastery in Coimbra is forever carved in my mind – that was the most powerful concert I have ever seen in my life. That bunch of Swedes hit me like a sledgehammer even with all odds against them – only a couple hundred people showed up to a concert in a massive open room with the worst imaginable sound quality ever (poor Men Eater, who opened for them). Sometimes I felt my head was hitting hard against the inside of a bucket but ultimately I noticed it was free of pain and floating near some dense, dark clouds. 10/10, would experience that again.
ALHOUSSEINI ANIVOLLA (Mainfloor, 00:10 – 00:50)
Now this is risky. Listening to anything after a Cult of Luna show seems like a really bad idea, making it tempting to head home after a tough weekend. Not if you place the most exquisite proposal of the whole festival right after their concert in the mainfloor where everyone will be hanging out. Alhousseini Anivolla is a Nigerien guitarist who’s also the frontman of local band Etran Finatawa. If you follow the desert blues scene or spend your summer vacations in Sines, you probably already know about him. I don’t. And I won’t talk too much about something I know next to nothing about, but all it took for his concert to be featured here was this youtube link.
*The crossed out text is actually an ode to Amplifest’s mature and polite audience: I’ve never seen such a small amount of people talking or fucking around with their smartphones in a festival than in this one
Optimus Primavera Sound 2013: Friday, day 2
Optimus Primavera Sound. Hugo Lima/Optimus Primavera Sound
Optimus Primavera Sound’s second day of concerts was assuredly the big day of the festival, with major headliners Blur stepping up to play one of the most important concerts in Portuguese soil this year. But there was so much more to it.