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Primavera Sound : Barcelona 2012 Day 1

Okay, back from Barcelona… here’s the first day of my Primavera adventure…

Thursday: After an absolutely amazing twilight set from the Walkmen at the majestic Arc de Triomf entrance to the Parc de la Ciutadella the previous night, we headed to the stunning Parc del Forum complex for the first proper day of the festival. Straight away it was clear to see why the bands start so late (around 4pm, as opposed to the midday starts we’re used to at UK festivals): it was as hot as hell until approximately 8pm, which really didn’t help the sunburn I’d picked up on Badalona beach the day before. After catching a few minutes of an Archers Of Loaf acoustic set, first up properly was Purity Ring on the Pitchfork stage, who showed flashes of brilliance but failed to really ignite, mainly due to the heat and the drowsy low-tempo bump of most of their songs. Next, Iceage struggled with equipment problems, but got the first pit of the day going and scared the wife, which is usually the sign of a good gig. Grimes drew a huge crowd and seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, pogoing behind her keyboard with a handful of impressively energetic entourage/ audience (?) members. After that, it was over to the San Miguel (main) stage for Afghan Whigs, then the Rayban arena for Mazzy Star; two enjoyable trips down memory lane, the first an anthem-packed rock-out, the second a more mellow, lazy affair. Trekking 15 minutes across the site to the Mini stage, we caught the last few songs of Death Cab For Cutie‘s set, then – with the intention of catching Kindness on the P4K stage – we headed back and got distracted by Wilco. My plan, in the event of a schedule clash, had been to forsake bands I’d already seen previously (Wilco, Spiritualized, the Men), but hearing Jeff Tweedy and co. ploughing through “Poor Places,” we decided to stay by the main stage. It was well worth it, one of the best shows of the weekend, a good balance of older material and songs from The Whole Love, along with the now customary triple guitar battle on “Impossible Germany.”

The reformed Refused were next in the Rayban arena, putting on an awesome show in front of a crowd that couldn’t get enough of their 15-year old socially-aware hardcore, and in retrospect I wish we’d stayed for the whole gig, but instead we once again crossed the site to catch the XX on the Mini stage. With the moon above them and the sea to the side, the vibe for the London group was chilled; perhaps a little too chilled for 1am, and although old favourites and new songs alike sounded lovely, we decided to wake ourselves up with some hip hop. Back at the P4K stage (via a well-timed walk past Franz Ferdinand doing “Take Me Out” on the main stage), A$AP Rocky blasted through a tight set punctuated (too often) by klaxons and gun-cocking samples (the wife’s best line of the weekend: “I’m not sure I like his attitude. I mean, I’m neither a bitch or a nigga… I really don’t think I’m actually his target audience…”), and was joined for a while by Danny Brown (who we missed while we were watching Refused) who absolutely stole the show.

Ahead of their new album coming out this week, Japandroids put on a storming headline set on the Vice stage which would indicate that their time to take the spotlight is imminent. Round the corner, then, to the P4K stage for an esspresso shot and a slice of cake whilst watching the Field‘s hypnotic 3am set (complete with live drummer and guitarist, and trippy light show), then back to the Rayban arena for a few minutes raving to Erol Alkan while we waited for the Metro service to resume at 5am. Tired and sweaty, we navigated the Barcelona underground back to our hotel, pleased that we’d managed to stay awake, and looking forward to Friday…

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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