The second day in Barcelona began in a much easier way than the previous one had. There was less running and travelling and more chocolate filled churros. Having arrived with no real plan for the start, I wandered toward the noise that was coming from the ATP stage.
There, was The KVB. A two-piece that sounded like they had been plucked directly from Manchester during the 80’s. Or, as the Primavera description had expertly described them, the missing link between joy division and new order. Although it’s not really my thing at all, the few tracks I watched were pretty entertaining! They do seem the sort of band that would have been a better late night watch however.
The original plan was to from here go and watch Julian Casablancas & the Voids. Instead, I ended up at the Alt-J presser. There were a number of questions asked by the press including one about the hatred that Pitchfork has for them. Although it appeared to annoy the drummer, Thom, it prompted the response from singer Joe that “it’s actually kinda nice that they hate us so much“.
There was a number of other subjects covered which included how this was their first time at Primavera/Barcelona and how they hadn’t realised that the 1am slot was the headlining position, instead, expecting it to be held in a small tent. It was the last question asked that was the most important of all nevertheless. I grabbed the mic and asked, “Have you seen the parody video that was doing the rounds last week and if so, what do you make of it?”
Joe provided the all important answer. “The thing we were laughing at the most was how the mate offers absolutely nothing to it at all. But to be honest, It is a very catchy song at the start. There’s a fucking good melody there, it’s great”
He continued “They’re both obviously very high. The thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever been that high that I want to sit there munching on rice crackers. I love how they’re just doing this track, eating rice crackers”. So there you have it. You heard it here first!
Tobias Jesso Jr. was the next act on the list over at the pitchfork stage. He’s an artis that I’ve never really come across in the past but I really enjoyed him. Some pleasant music to just stand around in the sun and relax to. “I changed this song up considering it’s a festival and I don’t really belong here” he remarked at one point; but he was wrong, he did belong here. The standout of the set was a track titled ‘Hollywood’ which had the entire front few rows singing along. Definitely somebody that I will give more time to when I’m back home.
Over at the Ray Ban stage, The Julie Ruin was a band that I wanted to see having seen the extremely interesting documentary ‘The Punk Singer’. The former Bikini Kill and Le Tigre singer in person was all right, but it wasn’t really for me. Instead it was back over to where I’d just been to go and see Perfume Genius. His was a name that I’ve come across a lot over the last 12 months but hadn’t yet checked out.
The first thing of note was his really fantastic voice, which, reminded me of Hayden From Wild Beasts. His snake like dancing though did leave a little to be desired. Overall it was a nice chilled little set except for the occasional screaming. Yet I’m not sure that he did enough to make me want to listen to more.
From there it was over to the main stage for the first time to see Sleater-Kinney. Thankfully, the sound was on good form again, with everything clearly heard and the volume being at the right level from the off. ‘Price Tag’ kicked things off and there was really great energy from them with Carrie Brownstein demonstrating that she is still as cool as fuck. Despite having only having seen them a couple of months ago, I did still enjoy the set. It also meant leaving in early was allowed due to the fact that I had to go in order to secure a good spot for…
Run The Jewels. The duo, consisting of EL-P and Killer Mike, who had won countless albums of the year awards in 2014 and were playing on the ATP stage. The two of them made their way to the stage with ‘We Are the Champions’ pulsating from the speakers. As instantly requested by EL-P, everyone in the audience raised their pistol and their jewels.
It was from the off that the show had a party atmosphere and it never slowed down. There was plenty of chanting for R-T-J, everybody was jumping and dancing, it was just good fun. The highlight of the set was a rousing rendition of ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’. At the time, it was the best set I had seen over the weekend.
Death From Above 1979 sadly, weren’t on the same level. Beginning with ‘Turn It Out, the sound was all over the place. I’m not sure if it was because of the setting but the music just didn’t translate as well as it has at past shows. Music doesn’t translate as well at a festival. It was sorta felt like that they knew they could ‘kinda’ play the tracks and it’d be all right. They were sloppy and not really on the top of their game at all. It may have been easier to pick up if you were in amongst it at the front, or, I could be making excuses because I really like them.
But alas, the singing was out and the bass playing was out. When they knocked out a below par ‘Go Home, Get Down’, I knew that this is where I needed to leave. Something went wrong and the track was ended early leaving Seb to remark “don’t worry about it, that’s just an old one”, which kinda summed how I thought their attitude had been.
Despite having reservations as to watch them, I headed over to Alt-J earlier than expected. This was the biggest crowd that I’d seen at the festival so far. My reservations were correct however, because I had the same issues with them that I had when seeing them at the Apollo last year. I am not a fan of the new record and when those tracks were being played it just made me lose interest. That being said, they did put on a good performance and the crowd appeared to be in to it.
At 3am, it was time for my final act of the night. I had never seen Ratatat, a New York City experimental alternative rock duo, before but I was excited to see them. Despite having no vocal, the absolutely crowded Ray Ban stage were treated to a excellent light show. It was only ever about the visuals and the music too, with the duo choosing to remain as silhouettes for the entirety of their performance.
Ratatat were all about what the ray ban stage at primavera means to me. An absolutely top notch electronic act, late at night with great visuals. Defintely my biggest surprise of the festival so far this year. Loved them.
It is actually the sets like Run the Jewels and Ratatat that make going to festivals that bit more special. Acts that you don’t know anything about or how they sound and they just blow you away. Putting on a variety of acts without ever sticking to one genre is something that Primavera excels at, and I’m more than excited to do it all again tomorrow.