Thursday, June 4, 2015
Primavera Sound Day 3, Barcelona, 30th May 9/10
Nashville's Mackenzie Scott was a late addition to Primavera, and therefore played solo without a band, so was at times impacted by sound bleed from a nearby stage (an issue this festival could address with more considered scheduling). Yet, her all too brief 45 minute set was the highlight of the entire festival for me. Her musicianship was devastating movingly, depicting raw emotion in an impassioned yet authentic manner.
Les Ambassadeurs 9.5/10
I'd planned to see Mourn after Torres, but after such an emotional pounding, I felt the need for some uplifting escapism. I was totally captivated by this long established African band, with strong funk and jazz influences, led by the albino singer Keita. This is the ensemble from which Amadou and Mariam emerged, and there was an overwhelming sense of joy, particularly from the two gospel singers at the front of the stage. The audience danced freely, and time seemed to stand still, except for the stage manager, whose very Western sense of the importance of time came under challenge.
The climax of my Primavera turned out to be Tuneyards, for its manic creativity. Merrill Garbus recorded loops live, but her drummer Dani Markham was also phenomenal. Tuneyards is all about rhythm, and so was founded as a duo with Merril and bass player Nat Brenner (whose parents I happened to be stood next to on the barrier). Their albums give only a hint of the raw energy band, which the audience responded to with enthusiastic movement.
Strand of Oaks 9/10
Despite having the opening 6pm slot on the main stage, Strand of Oaks were completely committed, and I suspect surprised those who'd yet to experience this rock from Philadelphia. Timothy Showalter has an inspiring story of triumph over adversity, and it felt as if this uplifting set was the pinnacle of his life journey to date.
This local, Catalan indie pop band was a chance discovery: I wandered to the small Adidas Stage after failing to be moved by DIIV at Pitchfork next door, yet they aptly fitted the sunny, early summer mood.
Tori Amos 7/10
A replacement for Eels, the Ray Ban stage was packed for this set, which I enjoyed from a seated position on the steps rising up in this amphitheatre. With a clearly loyal audience, it was an emotionally charged performance, extrovert and confident in tone; her pianistic skills were evident too.
Underworld weren't the climax of Primavera's final full day; instead that went to a much acclaimed Caribou's 3am set, which I skipped due to tiredness and the opportunity to see them next month at Latitude. Karl Hyde enthused a crowd which retained more energy them me, and which I found a little brutal. Yet, the joy of an event of this size and ambition is that there are pathways to suit even the most eclectic tastes. I'd been most affected by more intimate moments, and derived most happiness from musical influences from the south and west of Spain.
See my other Primavera 2015 coverage here: