b-guided > Barcelona

A Quick Guide to the Primavera Sound 2013 festival

15 artists; 3 days

By Sergio Pulido 14.05.13

In just a few short weeks Europe’s ‘indie’ festival ‘par excelence’ will be kicking off, this year they have redoubled their efforts with more of everything: more artists, more stars, more stages and…more square meters, which means that getting around from one gig to another is going to involve marathon like stamina. Given this line-up of talent, stages and distances to be covered we are offering some advice on how to get the very best out of the festival without killing yourself in the process. But be warned: this is a synopsis, so many of the artists considered unmissable by some will inevitably be completely ignored because of logistics.

Thursday May 23rd

Arrive early: it’s the first big day of the festival and normally 99.99 % of the crowd will turn up with their bracelets and entry cards, so get there early for the first group you want to see and try to be as patient as possible.
The evening kicks off towards nightfall, at 20:30 to be precise on the Heineken stage with Australian band Tame Impala, and their updated take on psychedelic classic rock. They released an amazing album last year and there are a lot of expectations out there about hearing this live. Is lead singer Kevin Parker a rock star in tune with the times we live? Or the great white hope for rock? We’ll soon know! It’s bad news for the over rated Manel, who will be playing at the same time on the Ray-Ban stage.

  • Tame Impala

    Staying where we were (at the Heineken stage) at 22:55 the very nineties band The Postal Service will be making a come-back, it’s a joint venture between Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello who brought out a beautiful record 10 years ago only to return to their respective original groups. With the anniversary coming up they decided to re-release “Give up” and organise a world tour to play it live, an opportunity that looks like being genuinely unique.

  • The Postal Service

    Now will be a good time to grab some food, use the loo or have a beer with your buddies, or come nearer to the stage to get up close and personal with Grizzly Bear, which is not recommended for anyone who prefers their emotions served raw and on the intense side, who should look out for the ATP stage at around  1:10 am to see Death Grips, the experimental hip hop band who are unphased by improv, or expressing their less domesticated side, nor by playing hardcore sounds (which some rock journalists like to call noise). Edgy, unpredictable and irresistible, their mission is to shock, they had no problem with illustrating the cover of their latest album with an erect penis so on stage it’s safe to say that we can probably expect to be surprised.

  • Death Grips

    Half an hour later it’s quite likely that the crowd will move inexorably to hear the French band Phoenix, for anyone looking for a less intimidating dance sound they should go directly to the Ray Ban stage to hear the always recommendable Simian Mobile Disco, experts in music festival dance sets specialising in electro-beats appealing to the masses, who will present this their first live album.

  • Simian Mobilie Disco

    To finish off the night it’s a toss up between Four Tet’s high flying microhouse in the Pitchfork or the brain-crunching drone of Fuck Buttons at the ATP, depending on how receptive you are at this early hour of the day (2:25 am). Both gigs overlap but we will be going with the latter.

  • Fuck Buttons ©Lucy Johnston

    Friday May 24th

    After a well deserved night’s sleep, the next days starts off early (18:10) at the Heineken stage to listen to Kurt Vile and The Violators, ex member of The War on Drugs with five solo albums already under his arm, a young composer and singer, finding his way through the very North American genre of rock that recalls the sound of Neil Young and Wilco, to name just two artists, known by some as “Americana”. Fresh blood for an old stalwart.

  • Kurt Vile and The Violators

    For anyone with the patience or energy to queue for the Auditori, get in line for the inimitable and down right bad Daniel Johnston performing at 19:30, (un-missable in our opinion) stay here for the 20:25 concert Django Django, one of last year’s revelations who sound like a mix between the “Beach Boys or the Beta Band to a 4/4 beat ” according to a DJ colleague, psychedelia to a 4/4 beat and A remarkable debut album.

  • Django Django ©Mikael Gregorsky

    We could well stay at this stage for a while longer, at 22:45 the Jesus and Mary Chain will be playing, a highly influential band if ever there was one and authors of a fist full of classic songs that will be revealed in all their glorious live sound, but we think there will be even bigger expectations at 0:15 at the Primavera stage to see the child prodigy that is James Blake who has surpassed all expectations with his “Overgrown” album where he side steps his dubstep roots moving more in the direction of contemporary soul with more than excellent results, as well as possessing one of the most powerful base sounds that we have ever heard in our lives.

  • James Blake

    We loved the Swans at last December’s Primavera Club, their brilliant performance is still ringing in our ears so we’re going to go with the crowd here and opt instead for the reborn Blur at 1:30 am performing on the Heineken stage, the band have made a powerful and energetic return playing reams of hits perfect for jumping, singing and feeling like we’re once again back in the 90s.

  • Blur ©Linda Brownlee

    Finally, at 3:20 am make your way to the Primavera stage to enjoy the always original and interesting Dreijer brothers, better known as The Knife, pop terrorists who have no qualms about breaking their 7 years of silence with a long and complicated album, shattering all hopes for an easily digestible bubble gum pop like they had with their very popular hit “Pass this on”.

  • The Knife

    Saturday May 25th

    If you have any energy reserves left, be warned that the last day’s line-up is also very dense with a lot of interesting artists! The action starts at 19:30 in the Auditori with Apparat and an orchestra of 30 musicians playing their recent sound track album for the theatrical work “War and Peace” by Tolstoy (given the length of the book it’s likely this will go on for a while) and promises an eruption of sound closer to drone than their usual techno beats. It all sounds exciting…, but for epic groups and unchanneled mysticism what could be better than the Dead Can Dance cult band of that marvellous 80’s label 4AD who have made a come back to their best form with a fantastic new album playing live at 21:00 on the Ray Ban stage.

  • Apparat

    From there we recommend moving on to the Heineken area to make sure to get a good spot for Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds at 23:35, who have released their best album in 15 years and are always intense, elegant and can be relied on to deliver on stage. For more information we recommend reading the review that was published in the most recent edition of B-Guided, #54 Spring Summer 2013, the printed version (see also online version).

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

    Staying with the stage of the green bottle beer company 2:25 am is the moment when eardrums will be unmercifully assaulted by My Bloody Valentine who released an album recently after nearly 22 years of silence enveloping us within that sound bubble once again which they first created back in 1991 and which still sounds shocking and drug fuelled.

  • The Magician

  • My Bloody Valentine

    For the closing act we’re going to avoid the omnipresent Hot Chip and head instead to Pitchfork who’ll be playing at 3:20 am dancing around like crazy to the disco sound of The Magician. Anyone with any energy reserves and willing to stay till 4:35 am with DJ Koze who’ll be unleashing the minimalist melodic style from his latest magnificent work “Amygdala”, something like a collection of the best of the genre Germany has to offer. Then it’s straight for the yellow line metro, to bed and sweet dreams.

    In the end we’ve managed to name check 15 artists but… how could we possibly make it any shorter faced with this line up? We can’t work miracles!