Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Primavera Sound Day1 Barcelona, 28th May 2015 9/10

Spiritualized 9.5/10
This space rock from the UK perfectly suited a late evening slot on a mid sized stage, in a day of music which, for me, had been underpinned by the blues. The use of drone pedal notes, and long, dreamy time spans helped me to get completely lost in the music of a band who have previously eluded me live. The gospel singers added an extra dimension, and the performers were absolutely focused: there was no need for any chatter, but an immense sense of freedom.

Hiss Golden Messenger 9/10
I craved more Americana (and folk) at this festival, but HGM brought part of Durham, North Carolina to Spain. Crucially, they really did bring a new, more bluesy atmosphere to the songs live, with an emphasis on rhythm and the interplay between the four band members (two of whom are brothers).

Yasmine Hamadan 9/10
The Lebanese singer (and actress) was one of the surprises of the festival, bringing contemporary electronic influences to traditional Arabic singing. Her stage craft was incredibly seductive, and I was captivated, being reminded that Spain is closer to the Middle East and Africa than Northern Europe.

Mdou Moctar 8/10
This Toureg musician, from Niger, brought his guitar virtuosity to one of the most intimate stages, like Yasmine Hamadan a blend of the traditional and modern. The band exuded joy, and I was completely transported by the blues influences.

James Blake 7.5/10
The English musician brought a spectacular light show to a huge crowd on the Heineken stage, with more of an emphasis on EDM and less on the frail sensitivity of his voice than I remember. There's little doubt he commanded the audience, but with the scale came a sense of emotional separation for me.

Mikal Cronin 7/10
The Ty Segall Band member's third album has received critical acclaim, and there was no doubting the energy they brought to the Ray Ban, one of my favourite stages, similar in layout to the main area at Green Man. Yet, after being carried away by more improvisatory music, I wasn't really moved.

The Black Keys 5/10
It would be churlish to begrudge the garage rock duo (now playing as a quartet) their success. Yet, despite a position on the front rail, I found them to be a little bombastic, focussing on showmanship rather than traversing a nuanced spectrum of emotion.

See my other Primavera 2015 coverage here:
Day 2
Day 3

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