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  • Primavera Sound 2015

    Giu 7 2015, 17:31

    Wed 27 May – Primavera Sound Barcelona 2015

    Highlights:

    + Seeing Steve Shelley rush past us on his way to the ATP stage (to play with Thurston Moore's band). "OMG, that was Steve Shelley", I recall slurring, minutes later.

    + Patti Smith performing Horses in its entirety and finishing off with Rock n Roll Nigger, in one of the all-time great Primavera sets that people will always talk about -- in the same way that they remember Neil Young, Lou Reed, Pulp, PJ Harvey, The Cure, Sonic Youth, Throbbing Gristle. The little Catalan girls turning around with saucer-eyes in reaction to my screaming. "How did that sound come out of him?"

    + Antony and the Johnsons, by far the artiest thing on offer at the festival (it opened with a modern/avant dance performance and the set featured a backdrop of a massive screen showing Kazuo Ohno/Butoh films), getting a wonderfully respectful reception. I was scared that such quiet, sombre music could have gone wrong on such a massive stage at a sunny festival, but there were times that you could have heard a pin drop: the crowd was as silent as the death Antony was singing about. And the reward for such attention was one of the most moving things you could ever experience: the combination of Antony's voice + lyrix, the clever, subtle use of the orchestra, so many people in quiet contemplation and a ridiculously beautiful setting made me tear up several times, especially during Another World. I think she also performed some new songs (!) and we got Blind and Cut the World. Hope There's Someone, Swanlights, You Are My Sister, Epilepsy Is Dancing and Cripple and the Starfish all sounded better than ever.

    + Underworld playing one of the best albums of the 90s in its entirety at 1.30am to a massive crowd that were strangely not tired at all on the final night (it's almost like everyone was on drugs?), and closing with Rez and BORN SLIPPY NUXX (!) which had everyone going ballistic. The Dirty Epic-Cowgirl-River of Bass section of Dubnobasswithmyheadman is just sublime.

    + My love of Tori Amos being rekindled 100% in one night, getting to see her live for the first time in at least fifteen years, in particular when she burst into Caught a Lite Sneeze -- my favourite song on the planet when I was 16! Actually, she played a set that was almost aimed right at me, since she opened with Bliss, played Crucify, Precious Things, Cruel, Code Red, Raspberry Swirl: all killer, no filler. She even done a cover of You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record), which was the highlight of the entire festival, if you ask me. All the gay men were in raptures down at the front of the stage (inc. me), going mental for the closing Cornflake Girl.

    + Seeing DIIV and Ex Hex (on different days) provide perfect afternoon melodic indie pop to start things off. (The first time I've ever seen Mary Timony perform live after being a fan for well over a decade, too.)

    + Watching Thurston Moore do a killer set that left my ears ringing for hours (I was standing next to a speaker at the barrier), then rushing over to the other side of the Forum for The Replacements for yet more noisy rock. "Down with all right-wingers!" -- TM. I replied, "FUCK THE TORIES!" and some Scottish guy agreed. You can find Tory-hating Scots everywhere.

    + Sunn o))) playing like three notes over their 50 minute set yet still managing to hold people's attention, and then Electric Wizard playing immediately afterwards for more br00tal metal. I sat down for all of this, in true metal tradition.

    + Seeing Shabazz Palaces doing their always-spectacular avant-hip-hop thing, then wandering over to the Adidas Originals stage to see Pharmakon do her brutally visceral noise set (which managed to be even heavier than the boys' metal club the previous night); and then when it finished after 25 minutes, wandering back over to find out that Shabazz Palaces were still playing!

    + The cute Spanish boy who came running up to me on the first night and stood there grinning at me, and then embraced me as if I were his long-lost brother or something. I was wondering if perhaps he was someone I had met at a previous Primavera, but then I swiftly realised drugs might have played a role in this incident when his pal gave me the "I am so sorry!" look. I didn't even get to sodomise him or anything.

    + Getting to see my main man, Blixa Bargeld perform for the third time at Primavera. Haus der Lüge live! OMG. The massive nail grinding percussion machine! The guy who had his little kid with massive ear protectors down the front to see Einstürzende Neubauten. What a dedicated father! Oh yeah, and Blixa getting pissed off with his faulty sound box and throwing it away after glowering at the sound techs. I would have been wetting myself had I been responsible for that one.

    + Deciding that retaining the half-bottle of alcohol I sneaked through security was more important than going into the Auditori (more vigorous checks) to see three hours of Mike Gira waving his arms around for the 50th time.

    + Sleater-Kinney opening with Price Tag, the brilliant opening track of their new album, and mentioning how they'd seen Patti Smith doing Horses earlier and it was one of the best things they'd ever witnessed. They know their shit.

    + Babes in Toyland not ageing a fucking minute (at least not musically/spiritually, eek) since the last time they played, with a brutal, rampaging set, concluding with Dust Cake Boy (which I had been screaming out for for most the set, it seems). It was like I was 17 years old again that night, with Tori Amos-Babes-Underworld, and I got into the spirit of eternal youth with some headbanging. It resulted in aftermath headaches that I can't remember happening to my 17 year old self, though. BIT would give Motorhead a run for their money. No sleep 'til Barcelona.