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Primavera Sound Part 3

Jeb Taylor

The final day for me at Primavera has rolled around, and it's probably the most stacked day of the week. I avoid doing much else on Saturday aside from eating some traditional Spanish tapas and catching up on some work in my hotel room as I want to get down to the festival site early today. I make it there in time for Australia's (via Greece now I believe) own Montero kicking off the Apple Music stage. The Chapter recording artist plays a really great set of his quirky psych tunes to an impressive amount of people for an early start in the hot Barcelona sun.

Carseat Headrest

As I head over to the main stages one again Car Seat Headrest is kicking off and I'm glad I made it there to witness their set. After releasing a really impressive album a couple of years back, I was yet to see the bedroom recording prodigy turned band live. I'm not sure what my expectations were but whatever they were they were well and truly exceeded as the US group, delivered one of the best live sets of the week. One of my most anticipated Australian albums this year is from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, so I head across to one of the smaller stages to see them playing to a rammed crowd. I had also seen them a couple of weeks back in the UK and they are totally killing it in this part of the world. The band write songs that sound like they are already classics despite being brand new, and they deliver them effortlessly.


Next up Ariel Pink, anyone that has seen an Ariel Pink show will know that it is chaotic, entertaining and feels almost just moments from falling apart but is somehow held together. This show is no exception but at the end of the day if you take away the craziness that is happening on stage, there are some great songs there and the set tonight is filled with a solid mix of tunes from all the various incarnations of the name. Belly are a pretty forgotten nineties band from Rhode Island, that have reappeared lately and I was somewhat surprised to see on the line up. I mentioned to a friend I was going to watch Belly and they asked who, I ran into another friend on the way there and got the same response, but in the mid 2000's I discovered their album 'King' which was released in the mid nineties and I really liked it. The part of their set I saw was solid but I didn't get to see them playing anything off that album, I did only catch a few songs though so it is quite possible they did play them at some point.


Earlier this year through circumstance of having too many things on, I missed Slowdive's Australian tour. When I looked through the Primavera line up, they were probably the name I was most excited to see, their 2017 album was my favourite record of last year, and Souvlaki has been a long time regular play on the turntable. A really big crowd has gathered, so it's obvious a lot of other people are excited as well. The UK group deliver a mesmerising set littered with classics from their back catalogue as well as their most recent album. They save the best for last though, when they kick off 'Sugar For The Pill', the stand out single from 2017's self titled album, the crowd erupts. For a band that hadn't released music for 22 years to have their most recent single be the crowd favourite must be something very special when you consider nearly all their nineties contemporaries tour to audiences waiting to hear their back catalogue favourites.

How was someone going to follow Slowdive? Next up for me was Grizzly Bear, they played a bunch of their best tunes and played well but they couldn't really back up what I had just seen. 'Two Weeks' from the classic 'Veckatimest' towards the end of the set gets the biggest cheer from the large crowd gathered to watch them. I quickly watch a couple of songs from Jay Som who is playing to play a small but enthusiastic crowd. I've seen the name around a fair bit lately, she writes pretty solid pop songs and delivers them quite well in a live setting.

The Oblivians

I'm at the stage early in anticipation Memphis garage punk greats The Oblivians, a band who I never thought I'd get to see live. Their records (along with those of Greg Cartwright's other band Reigning Sound have been long time favourites on the Music Farmers turntable). The trio blast out an almost hour long set of fuzzed out punk rock blasts, swapping between instruments and even reconfiguring the drum kit mid set. "We do things like this because we're not really a proper band" exclaims Jack Oblivian, if they're not a "proper" band, they're definitely an authentic one, delivering music with passion and energy just like they have for all those years and providing a definite highlight of my Primavera. Listen to these guys and you'll see where many of the current day garage rock bands have come from.

Arctic Monkeys are playing back on the main stage and across their career I've really liked certain records, but never managed to catch them live. I'm at least curious to catch up on a couple of songs so I arrive just as they play their last couple of tunes (pre encore). As expected they are totally owning what is the biggest crowd I've seen of any band at this festival. Their live set is confident and polished, their songs are good, there is a reason they have become one of the world's biggest rock bands. I don't stick around for the encore though as Deerhunter are about to fire up on another stage, they deliver a set pretty much as expected for the band.

Arctic Monkeys

Finally as it hits around 2am, it's time to head over and watch Beach House, kind of a curious choice for a late spot but their chilled vibes actually work and the big crowd in front of them lap it up. They are a band go across with the release of 'Teen Dream' and since then some albums I've picked up on and others not so much. Their set is a solid way to wrap up an epic few days in Barcelona.

Overall Primavera provides one of the most enjoyable festival experiences I've had. A combination of location, site and curation seems to make it work better than most, the fairly perfect Spanish weather also helps its cause.

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