I have returned from my first Primavera experience with the new found ability to climb a usually panic-inducing hill of stairs without breaking a sweat, possibly heightened tinnitus, a stomach pained with a diet of hotdogs and beer and still with an ever-present moon tan that is now only marginally more bronzed than during the snowy months. BUT what a helluva fun time it was, spent walking the many concrete miles to watch a neatly picked round-up of reformed fore-fathers (Refused, Mudhoney, The Cure, Yo La Tengo...) and the offspring that their past sonic exploits helped birth.
Thanks to the ever-flowing 1EURO beers and sun-scorched hangovers I won't even try to write a walk-though of every artist I had the pleasure of catching (or even write-up events in chronological order), but here's a run-down of some of the bands that made the 4 hour delay eating dry bacon butties at Gatwick worth all the while...
The entire Refused performance was incredible; now over twenty years on from their initial inception, the propulsive power of their sound and the voice that they provide is phenomenal to comprehend in a live setting. With 'Free Pussy Riot' emblazoned on their drum kit, we are reminded that their catalogue of music is ever-present and defiant and certainly not just a nostalgia trip. Though I never thought I'd be watching Refused dressed in a pink summer dress and strappy sandals. The 14 year-old me would have been ashamed.
White Denim continued to prove themselves to be the relentless masters of the entire guitar music spectrum, which was followed with a hair-raising trip to see Mudhoney plough their way through seminal grunge masterpieces, with howls of 'TOUCH ME I'M SICKKK' echoing up the walls of the auditorium and out into the open sky.
John Talabot was a complete mystery to me before the festival (I'd heard his name but had never taken the opportunity to properly research), but his set was certainly a highlight. As a hometown show for the Barcelona-based producer, the building beats, high-reaching vocals, menagerie of samples and woozy soundscapes produced couldn't have had a better backdrop than next to the slowly waving sea, bathed in moonlight in front of the post-3am party crowd. His new album is now at the top of my record-buying list.
After seeing him in a packed-to-the-rafters XOYO a few months ago, it was difficult to tell how Kindness' disco meets 90s boyband soul sensibilities would fare on a large stage. Thankfully Adam Bainbridge looked right at home skipping and shaking his way through 'World, You Need A Change of Mind', all limbs a-go-go and wearing an impeccably kitsch pineapple-patterned shirt (a nod to the Hawaiian, but - like most of Bainbrige's references - replicated with a greater sense of style than the trashier original outing).
- Part Two will follow, after a disco nap -