It’s those moments where you are not doing anything that a festival reveals itself. Saturday was the day that the Parc Del Forum became our best friend. After a near all-nighter on Friday, State was feeling worse for wear. Fatigue had set in and rehydration was the order of the day. That doesn’t stop the music though. Luckily, each one of the five outdoor stages at the festival have an alternative viewpoint – a place you can relax and watch the show. Sit in the stand at the ATP stage and still catch the obscure act of the day, sit on the steps at Vice and take in Lightspeed Champion while looking out over the sea, take advantage of the amphitheatre of RockDelux, lie down on the grass near Estrella Damm or grab a table and chair at the CD Drome.
The festival is remarkably hassle-free. No crowd congestion. Each stage is less than 5 minutes away. It’s mostly concrete outdoor structures with an urban park ambiance by the sea. And there’s the small matter of no mud and no camping which is a godsend. Most people travelling here rent an apartment in the city so that guarantees hot water, a bed and a decent breakfast. The organisers must also be applauded. There were no delays, adequate public transport, relaxed but effective security, friendly staff and a general air of easiness. The artist set-times are at least 45 minutes but on average an hour. Plus, every three-day festivalgoer gets a 300 page, bound book on the festival, a free programme and a highlighter. A small gesture but a nice one none the less. Primavera is as far away from the muddied and broken masses at other festivals as you can get.
A pity then that the last day is upon us but the line-up is crammed with 14 hours of music even if it lacks the heavy hitters of previous days. Due to arriving home from the Friday at 7am on Saturday, State has missed Bon Iver which by all accounts, was stunning. We are determined to soldier on and what better way to blow out the cobwebs than Times New Viking whose set was drunk scuzzy rock played by three drunk scuzzy Ohio natives. They shout, they dance, they throw guitars, they dedicate songs to Frodo Baggins, Heath Ledger (“If he’s in the audience”) and ask us to find their drummers passport. Our bones are well and truly shook.
With an itinerary planned for the rest of the day, State has only one opportunity to go to the Auditori for a performance. It could have been Throbbing Gristle or Young Marble Giants but it was Mary Weiss formerly of ’60s American soul pop girl group The Shangri-Las. It was the wrong choice. Weiss’ voice was suffering and she couldn’t belt out the hits as she would have liked. Still, it was nice to sit in the Auditori for the last time.
Back on the ATP Stage, David Berman and his Silver Jews are acerbically dropping poetic monologues on an appreciative audience including Les Savy Fav’s Tim Harrington. It’s all a bit morose for State and we catch the end of an impressive performance from Fanfarlo instead. Rufus Wainwright’s solo performance is the quietest and most touching of the weekend. His voice is soothing and his between song banter about gay marriage, guitars, Leonard Cohen and the beautiful Spanish is frequently hilarious.
Back to the ATP stage for more confusion as Deerhunter are playing. State is very unsure of what Deerhunter are and the new material they are testing out doesn’t help. Most of the set sounds like a series of endless song outros and apart from some Bradford Cox vocal noodling, there is little else here that impresses.
The last hip-hop act of the festival is one much anticipated. The arrival of Clipse, the coke-pushin’ paper-stackin’ mama’s boys from Virginia Beach are present and are annoyed at the soundman. Rightfully so, as the sound is so bad that it is difficult to understand a single word they’re saying. Loads of energy but how hard it is to get two turntables and two microphones correct?
Tim Harrington is running around the ATP stage, up in the stands and through the middle and his band haven’t even started yet. Les Savy Fav are the highlight of Saturday night thanks to his antics. He runs from side to side, jumps in the crowd, clambers over a fence, gets everyone in a frenzy, takes his clothes off, puts them on again, wears a leotard and is batshit crazy. The arena is his playground and he’ll do what he pleases. The band are tight and a furious soundtrack to Harrington’s performance. A perfect rock frontman.
Having missed Animal Collective’s recent intimate Dublin show, State was eager to catch their Primavera performance. On arrival, the sound of ‘Peacebone’ greets us, therefore breaking their modus operandi of always being a year and a half ahead of their recorded material. More Strawberry Jam cuts pop up including ‘Fireworks’ , a re-worked version of ‘Who Could Win A Rabbit?’ amongst new songs ‘Daily Ritual’ and ‘Brother’. The strip lighting at the back of the stage only add to the digital otherworldliness of it all. Guitars are played too for a change but it mostly relies on sample and percussions. Fascinating.
With most of the live acts finished the festival takes a turn towards dance at 3am. Simian Mobile Disco are playing Donna Summer and Green Velvet, Apparat Band are a bit too mellow and down by the water on the Vice stage, Para One, Surkin and Kavinsky are closing the festival with a bang. Their plans are scuppered by the heaviest rain downpour State has ever seen. It’s 5am and with not much shelter, thorough soakage and tired feet, most of the remaining audience run for the Metro. State joins them, hoping to come back next year when the sun shines for Primavera once again.
Les Savy Fav