Primavera Sound ’11 – Day 3

Photo by Alan Moore & taken from State.ie

Before we get started I’d like to thank Johnny Feeney for taking the time to share his Primavera Sound ’11 musings with us. I for one have really enjoyed reading them and it’s made me wanna go to next years festival. Day three, take it away.

Primavera Sound ’11 – Day 3

Saturday and Champions League Final day in Barcelona and the place was buzzing. The site was awash with the colours of the Blaugrana and the odd, brave Man U fan and there was an undercurrent of anticipation in the air you couldn’t escape. But the show must go on.

Yuck opened the ATP stage in fine style in the sun and drew in a large crowd for such an early slot. Their catchy, hook-laden music harks back to the days of early ‘90s grunge with a splash of distortion thrown into the mix. Theirs was a rather short but super-tight set and I would expect bigger and better things from them in the future.

The all-girl group Warpaint (pictured above) weaved their mesmeric, psychedelic indie to dazzling effect. Tunes like ‘Undertow’ and ‘Composure’ sounded fantastic out in the open air of the Llevant stage with the Mediterranean breeze on your back and a beer in your hand. They’re a very good looking band too and held something of a spell over me as I watched. I wasn’t the only one.

tUnE-yArDs gave one of the performances of the festival for me. Utterly unique, tUnE-yArDs (aka Merrill Garbus) came onstage armed primarily with a ukulele whilst providing loops of percussion and tribal backing vocals for herself. Along with her booming voice and ably assisted by a bass player and 2-piece horn section, the results were devastating. Highlights here were ‘Gangsta’ and ‘Bizness’, my two favourite tracks off the excellent new album W H O K I L L. The music varied wildly between lo-fi folk and tribal African beats but was always captivating. She plays Whelan’s on June 17th and is well worth a visit.

With Fleet Foxes, you always know exactly what you’re going to get. Their pastoral folk and beautiful, soaring harmonies went down well on the main stage without setting the world alight. Main stages at festivals are a hard place to grab the attention of a large crowd and with the Champions League final about to take place, a lot of people’s minds were elsewhere.

After watching the mighty Barcelona crush Man Utd, I ran swiftly over to PJ Harvey who had the unenviable task of following the CL Final but she very quickly had the crowd at the main stage rapt. Playing for over an hour and a half, the setlist included almost everything off this year’s exceptional album ‘Let England Shake’ alongside classics such as ‘C’mon Billy’, ‘Down by the Water’ and the brilliant ‘Big Exit’. A remarkable performance by Harvey and a must-see for me at the Electric Picnic in September.

Swans are a new enough discovery for me so I plumped for them over Mogwai and I was not disappointed with my choice. They played intense, dark, multi-layered rock that sounded like music for the apocalypse. Alongside the guitars and drums were lots of rage, haunting bells and sinister strings. I liked this more than I thought I would. Will be digging deeper with these guys.

Putting my last choices into the hands of others, I went to see Darkstar who I didn’t care for much. Dub-heavy electronica, I just found it drone-y and dull. Animal Collective are a band I’ve never “got” on record but I decided to see if there was something live that might shed some new light for me. I now don’t “get” them live either. Not for me, thank you.

And so another successful edition of Primavera Sound ends for me. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope to return next year for what’s turned into something of an annual pilgrimage for me.

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