I awoke on the Friday raring to get back to the action, and as I was bumbling about the city I realised that I was close to Parc Del Ciutadella, which was hosting two small stages of music each day comprising mainly of bands who were also playing at the festival.
There were multiple benefits to the park's setup: It gave me the chance to see some of the smaller bands who often clashed with bigger name acts at the festival itself, wristband weren't required so anybody could partake in the music, and most importantly, as it was a park, you could bring in whatever food and drink you wanted (Cheap cans instead of €5 pints).
I arrived just as Siberian Wolves were finishing (because I got lost and had to negotiate a dual carriageway) but settled down for the intimate encounter with Les Sueques in the park. They were the first Spanish band I saw that weekend, and as expected, I didn't understand a word of what they were saying but their surfy diet-riot grrrl style was quite welcomed whilst out in the sunshine.
As I walked across to see Cheatahs I found the scene cordoned off with police tape, who were called to hold back the crowd while they removed a rather pissed off beehive. That's a first for me, maybe it's common over here? Anyway, back over to the other stage Hiss Golden Messenger introduced a gentle blueglass sound to the afternoon that took me away to the band's home of North Carolina. Hard not to like, but also hard to love.
By the time Cheatahs made it on stage, I was refreshed to have a blast of London back in my life. Performing on the Martini stage (next to the Martini bar may I add) I didn't think they were all that shoegazey despite what the Primavera app said, but they still put on a decent show. Twerps were next up and their twinkly pool punk pulled them through the set, but they really were not my cup of tea so I probably wouldn't have tolerated them elsewhere.
As the action wrapped in the park, it was time to make my way across to the festival itself, and first up was Julian Casablancas and his band The Voidz. Casablancas isn't known to be the most energetic frontman these days, and as they played tracks from last year's Tyranny, it mainly just hyped me for headlining set by The Strokes the next day, when his voice would be twinned with songs that I actually knew.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the legendary Patti Smith and her band performed her iconic debut album Horses in full, and it led to mixed emotions for me. I think I fall into that generational gap where I can easily look back to recognise the forerunners and visionaries that led to our current breed of musicians, so whilst I fully appreciate that Smith paved the way for immeasurable acts to come, I've also grown up listening to these inspired acts, and the music they went on to produce often leaves the source material rather dated. Horses didn't inspire me any more than previous listens, but it made for a great perspective piece, and I was thankful to have witnessed it live.
As Damien Rice walked out onto Primavera's main stage alone, he definitely looked rather lonely, however his performance was anything but. It was a ballsy act for just one person, but the reclusive Irishman somehow looked at home up there in front of thousands of people, and despite the delicate nature of his music he never sounded timid. A rousing success, and further proof that solo musicians can be top billing acts.
Sleater-Kinney are one of the prime examples of how reforming bands should do it. The all-girl punk band celebrated critical success during their original career back in the 90s and early 2000s, but when they broke from a 10 year silence with No Cities To Love back in January of this year, they arguably released the strongest album of their career, leading to renewed success, and a new army of fans. Fierce yet refined, they stood with purpose and proved that this is no lap of honour, this is a blistering start to the next race.
I'm learning that there is really no place to hide when it comes to rappers without backing bands, it's literally just you up there on stage. Trading bars like they've been together for years, Run The Jewels make for quite the partnership and always ensure that the levels are raised and the fuckboys are put in their place. Considering that they were staged against headliners Ride, you would have never guessed that there was anyone else playing at the same time due to the crowd's size and energy, and I certainly never for a second thought about what I could have been missing elsewhere.
Given that this was the third time I'd seem Death From Above 1979 since the release of The Physical World in September last year, the new songs sound as familiar as the old at this stage. I could always ask for a few more tracks from the debut album and EP but the Toronto based band played their thrashy part once again, and everyone seemed to enjoy the madness.
I departed from DFA slightly before in order to make my way over to Alt-J, who I was also seeing for the third time since the release of This Is All Yours back in September 2014, and this performance was easily my favourite to date. Whilst they never put a foot wrong at the previous shows, watching the band at 2am on a warm Spanish evening was spectacular. They played for 75 minutes and I danced during every second; it’s really quite astounding how much of an impact this band has made in the space of just two albums.
Body aching, I wasn’t sure if I could take much more but I had to ensure I was on top form for Ratatat. One of my most anticipated sets of the weekend, the New York duo took to the Ray Ban stage at 3am, and once they started playing their infectiously catchy instrumental music, it didn’t take much for me to summon my last ounce of energy. Having been silent for a few years, the pair let their electric guitars do all the talking, and showcased tracks from their upcoming fifth LP Magnifique, as well as classics such as ‘Seventeen Years’ and ‘Loud Pipes’.
I stumbled away into the night, wholly satisfied with every minute of the day. Dare I say it, but day three was just around the corner…