Primavera sound 2014

Taking place at the start of summer, Primavera Sound, unlike later festivals around Europe in July and August doesn’t guarantee the sunshine. And that was made very clear on Wednesday evening as Kettering’s Temples provided the soundtrack for a rain dance. The heavens opened, the crowd got drenched, but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter. This is a festival with Nine Inch Nails and Jagwar Ma on the bill.

Gigs around the city are programmed under the festival umbrella throughout the month of May and there’s 170 odd bands dotted around the vast Parc Del Forum site between 4 PM and 4 AM for the three days of main festival action.

Thursday saw St Vincent bring the noise followed by a mixed set of bellowing riffs and ringing rock from Queens of the Stone Age. Arcade Fire played the same night, their appearance heavily anticipated by the international crowd. The star of the day though, had to be Charles Bradley who played the Ray-Ban stage complete with decoration disco balls. The American singer brought the soul all the way from America and his James Brown inspiration from the 1970’s sure hasn’t dampened in 2014. Bradley was alive, offering the crowd a party at 2 AM.

Friday offered a plethora of acts to pick from, Haim, War on Drugs, The Growlers and The Twilight Sad all standing out with great sets and packed crowds from each.

Pixies, legendary as they are, don’t really feel the need to put on a show. And so their set went, packed with hits and history yes, but not really taking flight or noising up the 11 PM crowd. That said, Primavera Sound and their festival fans were still in awe of Pixies presence.

The National and Deafheaven both brought in the early hours on Friday, the latter a terrifically noisy metal band that lit the stage on fire with their heavy bass lines and distortion.

Jagwar Ma stole the show, and the festival in my opinion, with their 3 AM slot on the Ray-Ban stage. The baggy band threw themselves into the cheers and chants from the rowdy crowd, their tracks ‘Come Save Me’ and ‘Man I Need’ causing the Primavera Sound fans to really let themselves go mirroring the dance moves from the stage. At one point Jack Freeman planted down his bass to really get his hips in sync with the infectious music.

And I can’t finish off talking of Friday’s gigs without mentioning the legend that is Laurent Garnier who played a two hour set until 6 AM. As the sun came up, mad fans climbed palm trees to break off branches for dancing with. Unlike Glastonbury, not a decorative flag was spotted at Primavera Sound, but there was something awfully special about a crowd of happy music fans waving palm trees and using them as meeting points to find friends in their place.

Saturday‘s vibe was quiet, it seemed as though the festival goers, including myself, had burnt themselves out a little and with a lot less pulling bands on the bill, people quietly mulled between stages to catch the likes of Television, Blood Orange and Dum Dum Girls before the sun went down.

Earl Sweatshirt didn’t disappoint with his animated performance full of curses and swagger. Cloud Nothings punk enthralling set saw the Vice Stage packed and spilling out to the sides with many taking solace on the nearby steps to catch a view of the mesmerising band.

In the same night, Nine Inch Nails blew the place to pieces with their impossibly tight and professional tracks, slapped distortion and jaggy hooks. With ‘Hurt’ thrown into the set It really was a performance to be remembered in twenty years time.

Scotland’s very own Mogwai played a great hour sprinkled with classics and recent tracks from their newly released Rave Tapes.

And finally finishing things off were Foals. The self-confessed geeks of indie rock have been on our radar for a while now, first catching the band in Glasgow’s QMU in 2008. Racing onto the stage with as much energy as a beast in the wild, they played a 15 minute instrumental before belting out hits including ‘Your Number’, ‘Inhaler’ and a personal favourite from their first album ‘Red Socks Pugie’. The first time the band have played Primavera Sound and a greatly memorable set for the many, many super fans in the crowd.

Less Brits than Beni, Primavera Sound manages to hold on to it’s cool vibe; floral headdresses and floaty kimonos are binned in favour of heavy leather jackets that brush off the night’s chill.

Words: Nadine Walker