Primavera Sound 2014: Festival Report

Photo: Pierre Lestruhaut

It’s been a week since we got back from Primavera Sound and I must say that it takes quite a long time to recover from such a huge festival. We have seen lots of concerts, maybe not as many as we wanted but here you have Club Fonograma’s favorite acts from Barcelona’s biggest festival.

Wednesday May 28th, La [2] de Apolo: Aries, Beach Beach, Me & The Bees

Ex-Charades Isabel Fernandez’s new musical project Aries has attracted a lot of attention lately due to its second album Mermelada dorada, released by La Castanya last march. Opening the label’s showcase in the small room of the Apolo venue, Aries offered an audiovisual experience more than a concert. As dreamy as the songs are, relying just on voice, pre-recorded stuff and synths, live creations projected in the background wall illuminated the music and hypnotized everyone in the audience. Beach Beach started their show with its newest single, “Just like before,” from their forthcoming album and thus kept the lively ambiance in the room created by girl-duo Aries. They presented most of their forthcoming release The Sea (september 2014), which is going to be one of my favorite albums of the year (I already know it), but also played older hits from their previous album Tasteless Peace (2012). Beach Beach have become a poppier ensemble and it feels like a luxury to see them play in such a small venue, because it looks like they are going to be huge in the future. This showcase was also the occasion to present Mundo Fatal, Me & The Bees latest album, released just a day pior. Even if they could have preferred a setlist full of their old and well-known songs, Ester Junquera’s band played most of the new album and it was a very good surprise to see that everyone was pleased with it, the room at its full capacity. - Glòria Guirao-Soro

Thursday May 29th, Fòrum: Föllakzoid, Lasers

The ATP stage was the one hosting chilean psych-rock band Föllakzoid and, even if it was pretty early in the afternoon, there was a very big audience waiting for them just before the show -maybe because their latest shows in Barcelona were so well received. The desertic sounds of Föllakzoid’s album II invaded the surrounding space, fitting well in a place that looks like some post-apocalyptic site. Lasers closed the Vice stage at 3:00 in the morning with a mainly local audience but succeeded in throwing a Chicago look-alike party with their concert. The disposition of the trio on stage was peculiar, my impression of it was that the audience reacted to it as if it was just a DJ set, dancing to a setlist based on their disco tracks.  - Glòria Guirao-Soro

Photo: Felipe Mercado

Friday May 30th, Fòrum: The Saurs, Oso Leone

Apart from the big ones, there are also other smaller stages that showcase local bands or that are part of the Pro programme, where every year there’s an invited country or region (this year being Poland and Estonia). One of Barcelona’s youngest bands, The Saurs, played on friday at the Adidas Originals stage because they won the festival contest for local bands and it was one of the best shows that evening, very energetic and powerful. The garage-rock trio has just released their second EP, Dry Finger, and their shows are always a guarantee of fun. Friday was also the big event for young Mallorca band Oso Leone, playing and being filmed at the Pitchfork stage in prime time. With a setlist based mostly on the songs of Mokragora (Foehn Records, 2013), Oso Leone presented their very personal folk-rock based on noisy atmospheres and intense reverberations accompanying a voice that sometimes recalls Amen Dunes. It was an intense performance that started soft and quietly but unfolded a lot of energy all along.  - Glòria Guirao-Soro

Saturday May 31st, Fòrum: Univers, Juventud Juché

The last day at the Fòrum started with Pierre and I watching the last song of young nineties rockers Ohios, then going to the Pitchfork stage to see Univers defend their first LP L’Estat Natural. It was early and it was raining, but there were a lot of fans, friends, members of other local bands, but also curious international attendants. The latter only stared at the very beginning, but ended shaking their heads and moving along the noisy rock ambient Univers created with their setlist, based mainly on their last album but also featuring hits like "La pedregada" or "Cavall daurat" from previous releases. It was a pleasure to see that such a big stage wasn’t that intimidating for them, even if they look pretty nervous sometimes. Pierre had the chance to talk to them and we will soon publish an interview with two of the band members. Right on the other side of the festival site, playing at the same time Television was, we could see Madrid post-punk band Juventud Juché at the small Sony PS14 stage. It was a short but very intense show featuring songs from Quemadero (Sonido Muchacho, 2013) and from their self-titled EP, which already have a very powerful sound and gain intensity when played live. Juventud Juché is a well-greased trio whose member Javi (vocals, guitar), stands out as an extremely charismatic singer that can scream really loud.  - Glòria Guirao-Soro

Photo: Sony Club PS14

Sunday June 1st, BARTS: Juana Molina

I wasn’t supposed to write anything about Primavera Sound, since we were only given a single press pass that was used by Glòria, and I eventually found myself in more of a festive than journalistic mode. But in an unexpected turn of events, here I am, surrendering to my own devotion for music writing, in spite of the festival’s strange press pass policies regarding digital media. Two reasons made me sneak in this last paragraph in our Primavera report (pronounced pry-mah-vee-rah if you trust the singer of Chk Chk Chk). There’s the fact that I really wasn’t gonna miss the chance to join the very exclusive club of (pseudo) journalists that have covered festivals in three different countries. And of course there’s Juana Molina. I was glad she got to play an intimate show at a local club in downtown Barcelona because 1) if you’ve heard anything Juana Molina’s ever done then you just know this is music that needs to be experienced in an intimate setting and 2) there were no other bands she had to compete with for my presence at her show. I did experience the concert while sitting on the third floor balcony of BARTS, since my complete lack of knee strength after three days of “festivalling” forced me to find a place to sit down. But despite the relative distance and even though I’m not the biggest fan of Wed 21 around here, the mix of warmth, tension, charisma, and musicianship that emanated from Juana and her accompanying musicians, was the kind of perfect finale that the greatest music festival in the world needed. In a week that was full of self-conscious indie weirdos (from Stromae and St. Vincent's eccentric dance moves to Arcade Fire’s everything) Juana was the only one that just felt naturally quirky and effortlessly whimsical. Like Kendrick Lamar said at the end of his performance: I will be back! - Pierre Lestruhaut