Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The last words on Primavera Sound 2010

(1) Reasons why Primavera works: a beautiful city, a cracking line-up, fine weather, no mud, very few idiots. Urban festivals of this ilk are the new rock’n’roll for those of us too old and too unwilling to camp. (2) Leagues …

Tue, Jun 1, 2010, 09:56


(1) Reasons why Primavera works: a beautiful city, a cracking line-up, fine weather, no mud, very few idiots. Urban festivals of this ilk are the new rock’n'roll for those of us too old and too unwilling to camp.

(2) Leagues has covered all bases in his comprehensive and hugely enjoyable day by day reviews (see below) so massive thanks to him for trojan work on the reviewing front.

(3) My own top-of-the-list highlight were Sleigh Bells. I’ve become addicted to their debut album “Treats” and they were just what I was expecting and then some when they hit the P4K stage on Friday night/Saturday morning. That beguiling mix of banshee howls, looped-to-fuck nasty bangers, high-kicking frontwomanisms, filthy guitars and rapid beats would be nothing without some decent tunes and they’d plenty of those.

(4) The other monster highlight for me were Liquid Liquid, a band I’ve been curious to see for years. It was jerky rhythms and offkilter, punkfunk grooves ahoy and hearing “Cavern”, “Bellhead” and “Optimo” live put a smile on my face.

(5) I could have listened to Van Dyke Parks playing piano, singing songs and telling tales in the giant Auditori all night long. This masterclass in perfect pop music (with a few diversions to New Orleans in 1857) was a sublime example of how the Primavera jigsaw works.

(6) It was the year of the returning indie superheroes of old with the likes of Superchunk, Pavement and Pixies. Seeing Superchunk live was a big ol’ nostalgic trip for me, while the 30 minutes I saw of Pavement was enough to know that their reunion is definitely on the right musical tracks. My first Primavera was back in 2004 when Pixies played the first European show on their reunion tour. Six years on, they are just going through the motions like a well-oiled karaoke machine. Bet they’re getting well-paid for their efforts, though.

(7) It wasn’t all old-school. The first band I saw to grab the festival by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking were New Jersey’s punks Titus Andronicus. I’ve seen them a few times before, but this was one of those shows which turns casual observers into superfans. Others who turned things up a few notches: No Age, Cold Cave, Japandroids, Thee Oh Sees and Beak> (hugely impressed with them)

(8) And let’s be honest, it wasn’t all good either. I thought The Drums were a joke (the return of Haircut 100), The Big Pink were excruciating boring, The Slits were annoying, Broken Social Scene were dull and Mark E Smith reminded me of some cranky bugger cadging fags from passerbys outside a pub (and that was just when he was singing).

(9) Then, there was Florence & The Machine. There are many who might wonder if a booking like this – and maybe Pet Shop Boys – was wrong for a festival like Primavera, but the response to both acts rendered that argument null and void. I’ve seen FATM a few times in the last year, but this was on another level entirely. Gone are the reticence and nervousness of ealier days, to be replaced by a super-confident pop star who knows what her arsenal of songs can do – and more importantly, how her band can twist and turn those tunes into lovely shapes.

(10) Prediction: there will be a hell of a lot more Irish people at Primavera 2011. As Leagues mentioned in one of his reviews, there was no escaping the fact that there was a huge number of Irish fans at Parc del Forum this time out. This number will only grow as people realise that going to a festival doesn’t have to involve standing in a muddy field in the Irish midlands, surrounded by drunk idiots, getting pushed around by power-tripping security men, listening to terrible bands who have no place on the bill and getting turfed out of the site at midnight. There actually is another way and this involves taking a plane to a city out foreign.

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