Barcelona – Day two of Primavera Sound was obviously dedicated to Pulp but it also featured a host of other amazing bands on the bill including perennial festival headliners The National and another personal favorite in Belle and Sebastian.
Arriving shortly after 8:30 pm, I was able to make it to the Pitchfork stage in time to hear current sensation James Blake get drowned out in noise by M Ward, of all people. I wasn’t sure how his quiet as heck electronic soul music would work in an outdoor atmosphere and just as I suspected, it did not fare well. Those outside the fifty foot range of the completely packed stage got to hear both M ward and James Blake at once, much to the chagrin of most JB fans, I’m sure. Quickly realizing this mashup was going to be a disturbance, I left to join the mass migration of music fans to go see the National.
Walking towards the Llevant stage, it became apparent that almost everyone at the festival was going to see the Cincinnati, Ohio band. By the time the band took the stage shortly after nine, the field was at near capacity. Noting how pretty setting was, the group played 90 minutes of solid National music. While the tracks sounded amazing, it was tough to get into The National’s brooding brand of personal rock. We’re in Spain! At a festival! By the sea! Against a sunset! Why so serious? But despite my personal feelings, the band played a solid set of tracks new and old, highlighted by an appearance by the one and only Sufjan Stevens for the songs Afraid of Everyone and Terrible Love. “He walks among mortals” exclaims Matt as Sufjan walked off stage. I left the National before the last track to beat the crowd and grab a spot for the next act – Belle and Sebastian
It was shortly after 10:30 when Belle and Sebastian took the San Miguel stage. Starting off softly with the track I Didn’t See it Coming it took awhile for the band to find it’s groove with the crowd. As Frank noted, the band might of had some sound issues that made them seem quieter than they really were. However once the band started incorporating old time classics like Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie, the crowd started dancing and the show went uphill from there. Having seen them about five times now, I’m noticing that Belle and Sebastian, like many others veteran bands, now have a few tricks up their sleeves including having a girl applying makeup to Stuart Murdoch during the track Lord Anthony and inviting dancers on stage for what is arguably their most popular song, The Boy With The Arab Strap. Its amazing to see how far Belle and Sebastian have come as a live band, originally adversed to touring, the band now has become a polished machine capable of playing large festival crowds armed only with twee-ish tracks. Stuart Murdoch has become an accomplished and confident front man who knows exactly when he has the crowd. Highlights for me included Judy and The Dream of Horses , The Stars of Track and Field and Legal Man. The band also did their part hyping up the next band as Steve broke out the chorus of Common People during —–. The set closed with Sleep The Clock Around as expected and seeing how it is my favorite Belle and Sebastian song, it felt quite appropriate.
Pulp was up next, read the review here. Battles was pretty good from what I remembered. Day 2 at Primavera Sound had an amazing set of bands and resulted in the most amazing concert nights of my life.