Primavera Sound 2014
15 acts, 3 days
As usual this year's Primavera Sound programme is once again outstanding. Up to 11 different stages have been constructed at the Parc del Fórum, which mean’s we’ll be doing more walking than usual and it might happen that two of our favourite artists will be playing at the same time. Our view is that less is more. Don’t get stressed. It’s all about enjoying the festival without thinking about what’s going on at another stage at any one time. We’ve chosen five artists for each of the days, ones that do not overlap and we’ve ignored artists who we consider overrated even if they’re headlining. This is what we’ve come up with:
Thursday May 29th
We going to try and arrive early to get a comfortable spot in the Auditorium at 18:00 and enjoy the performance of veteran musician Julian Cope. This guy is almost a Renaissance artist. Musician, poet, author, antiquary, musicologist, etc, last year he released an great album as good as anything he produced in the 80s: "Revolutionary Suicide", is a double album filled with hypnotic drawn out tracks, where Mr. Cope sings to the revolution, utopia, and consumers of hard drugs. A true artist.
At 19:35 we’re off to the Sony Stage to listen to the folk group Midlake who have survived the departure of the lead singer Tim Smith with a new album "Antiphon" and who together with Fleet Foxes are one of the best groups performing this genre of almost acoustic folk right now.
We’re going to hang on at the Sony stage until 21:50 for one of the festival highlights: Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent. This girl has it all: young, beautiful, excellent guitarist, sings well, good moves on stage (without overdoing it), with one of the best albums of 2014 under her artistic name. Much more popular now after releasing her album and the tour with David Byrne, after seeing her on stage you’ll understand why she dazzled the founder of Talking Heads: Annie is a huge talent. Unquestionably.
Hang around till 1:10 and head to the Ray Ban stage to see Charles Bradley. This old school soul singer is 63 years old, he debuted as a soloist and composer recently, after decades of living from hand-to-mouth imitating James Brown in micro-venues, only to be discovered through a documentary which explored his previous life and how he came to record an album under his own name with his own compositions. It made a big impact and today he is one of the most important current figures of this musical genre made popular by figures like Marvin Gaye or Al Green.
To finish off the night, we’re going to the Heineken stage at 02:20 to see Disclosure. They were here last year just after releasing their debut album "Settle", which ended up being one of the best ones of 2013 with their new updated take on the UK garage sound for the 21st C which turned the very young Lawrence brothers into global stars. They deserve to play the stage at one of the largest venues in the festival. And their mother will be proud.
Julian Cope, Auditori - Primavera Sound '14
Midlake, Sony stage - Primavera Sound 2014
St. Vincent (photo: Renta Raktsha) Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Charles Bradley (photo: Darren Basteck), Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Disclosure, Heineken stage - Primavera Sound 2014
John Grant, Heineken stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Friday May 30th
At 18:30 the Heineken stage kicks off with John Grant. It’s no secret that the U.S. artist based in Iceland is a favourite of ours and that "Pale Green Ghosts" was not only one of the best albums of 2013, but represents a total change in style moving between contemporary folk and synth-pop. It’s not his first time to play the festival, but he has never played the main stage before. Undoubtedly, one of the great song-writing talents of today.
We’re off to the Auditori at 19:45 where there’s a very special show going on: Mick Harvey playing classic Serge Gainsbourg tracks in English. We’ve know Gainsbourg fans worldwide, but few like this former member of the Bad Seeds and Birthday Party who has recorded two albums of songs by the French master. They were recorded 20 years ago but are being performed specially for the occasion, so it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be played live again.
At 20:40 we’ll be going to the Ray Ban stage to listen to a genuine star: Dr. John together with The Nite Trippers. This living legend of the blues and rock n’roll will be coinciding with the bland but very 'hyped' Haim, so it is likely that it’ll be a trendy-hypster free zone attracting the true connoisseurs of quality music. Then come the resurrected Slowdive and the beyond-saving Pixies, but we’ll take a rain-check on that.
We’ll be staying here till 02:00 at the Heineken stage to see the always exciting !!! (Chk chk chk). They’ve played Barcelona many times, their live concerts are always mind boggling. It’s impossible to resist their mix of disco and funk and sheer energy of lead singer Nic Offer. They’ll be playing their Th!!!er album released last year, keeping up the standards that we’ve become used to.
We’re finishing off with an old reliable: Laurent Garnier from 04:00 at the Ray Ban stage. This French guy needs no introduction. This time around he’ll be playing a set of 2 hours, a bit unusual for the festival where house and techno artists normally don’t get indulged like this. Dancing masses are guarnateed.
Mick Harvey, Auditori - Primavera Sound 2014
Dr John & The Nite Trippers, Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014
!!! (Chk chk chk), Heineken stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Laurent Garnier (photo: Richard Bellia), Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Kronos Quartet, Auditori - Primavera Sound 2014
Saturday May 31st
Today we start early: at 17:30 Kronos Quartet play the Auditorium. The chamber quartet celebrate 40 years of experience and versatility. Virtuosos equally comfortable playing Phillip Glass, David Bowie, Television, Astor Piazzolla or The National with the same verve and quality as when playing Mozart or any other classical music. Must.
And if we say Television, the classic line-up put together by Tom Verlaine will be performing at 19:30 at the Sony stage with the mega "Marquee Moon", from 1977, playing it in its entirety. Seminal New York City disco punk which in fact goes far beyond either genre and could be regarded as post-punk with its long playing tracks, guitar solos inspired by jazz rock and lyrics recalling the classic late nineteenth century French literature.
At 20:35 on the Ray Ban stage the unique Caetano Veloso, we’ve jus written extensively about him in the print edition (so have a look out for that) we can’t get enough of this guy.
We’ll be waiting here till 00:30 when Trent Reznor and the reformed Nine Inch Nails will be playing the Sony stage. Yes, they are somewhat mainstream but they’re still some of the finest musicians to have emerged during the 90s, great live and still producing worthy material. Their "Hesitation Marks" album from last year was their first in almost five years, with loads of brilliant tracks as good as anything from their classic album "Downward Spiral" or "Pretty Hate Machine". More of the same perhaps but with lots of gusto.
Whoops! ... We're running short on time. We’ll let you choose between the 80s pop funk of Chromeo on the Ray Ban stage at 02:25 or Cut Copy’s 80s synth pop at 03:30 at the ATP. All these decisions have left us a bit disorientated. From now on it's time to hang out with our friend who’s just invited us to another beer. Have fun!
Television, Sony stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Caetano Veloso, Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Nine Inch Nails, Sony stage - Primavera Sound 2014
Chromeo, Ray Ban stage - Primavera Sound 2014