Primavera Sound: Of Montreal, Big Boi, Grinderman, Interpol, Girl Talk

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Barcelona – The official first day of Primavera Sound was Thursday, it was the first day we would see the official Primavera Grounds and also featured a host of stellar acts from all genres of music including Of Momtreal, Public Image Limited (PiL), Grinderman, Big Boi and Girl Talk. The headliner of the night was the always amazing Flaming Lips. Let’s take a look at the acts.

Of Montreal
Given the headliners propensity for props, costumes and gimmicks alike, Georgia’s Of Montreal was an extremely fitting opener as they too were known for their theatrics. Dressed in a beret, purple blazer and red pants, Kevin Barnes and his band took the stage just after eight and delivered a spectacular performance that features as much theatrics as quality songs. Featuring some of the stronger tracks from recent releases such as Coquet Coquette, She’s a Rejector and Suffer for Fashion Of Montreal played an all killer, no filler set that highlighted what Of Montreal is about when they are at their best – quirky, but extremely catchy pop. Two costumed performers that dressed in all kinds of costumes from Mexican wrestlers to odd pig headed dancers were brought in to add additional visuals to the show. I’m not sure what the theatrics, which included a luchadore wrestling match and interpretive dancing were about, but It was visual galore. The set ended with my favorite Of Montreal song – A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger . A great way to start off the night.

of Montreal – Coquet Coquette by Polyvinyl Records

Big Boi
At first, you would think that Big Boi would be an odd choice for Primavera given the other bands on stage, but you haven’t seen Europeans dance to hip hop. Atlanta’s Big Boi delivered an energetic show that brought some southern funk to the shores of Spain. The set consisted of both Outkast tracks and his solo material much to the delight of the crowd. Everyone was dancing as Big Boi and his group of MCs delivered energy track after track, all in tune with video projections. I don’t think anyone was crunking, but there was a definite sense of enthusiasm for the guy. For the encore, Big Boi brought on a bunch of ladies to dance to his hit single Tangerine. If getting some bodies moving was Big Boi’s goal for the night, then it was easily accomplished.

Big Boi- Tangerine by Big Boi

Grinderman
The next show on my plate was Grinderman and they were awesome. I don’t think Nick Cave is capable of anything but awesome. Perhaps the only hard rock headliner of the festival – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and company Just hit it hard. Between Nick Cave’s sermon like deliveries and Warren Ellis’s intense one man string section, the group just brought an intensity that just permeated through the crowd. Definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

The Walkmen
The next two acts were two indie rock bands from the early 2000s era that I had throughly enjoyed. Playing to almost two thousand people at the Pitchfork stage, the Walkmen absolutely had the crowd in a frenzy – people were dancing and singing along. I was only there for one song though, and that song was The Rat which for my money is one of the top songs to come from that era. If that song was any indication of the crowds enthusiasm for the Walkmen, then I imagine it would have been a heck of a performance.

Taking the long 15 minute walk to the Llevant stage, I reacquainted myself with Interpol, the New York post punk band that exploded onto the scene with their incredible debut Turn On The Bright Lights and has since failed to recapture that momentum with each album producing diminishing returns. This was the first time I’ve seen the band since the departure of the infamous Carlos D but I was still excited to see them. The excitement soon disappeared as the band sounded flat and uninterested on stage. The newer material just felt like a retread on the older ones and even though Lights seemed to register as a high point with the crowd, it just doesn’t compare to their older material for me. Tracks from the first two albums were placed sporadically in the set list and while they were pleasant to hear again, the show just didn’t register well with me and I left early to grab a spot for the Flaming Lips show, which was already reviewed.

Interpol – Barricade by artsandcraftsmx

A post Flaming Lips crowd was already all riled up by the time Girl Talk made it to the Llevant stage at 4:30 am. Taking the stage with a gaggle of dancers, Girl Talk finished off the first night of Primavera with his staple of classic rock/indie rock music mashed up with hip hop sound bites. Those with the energy danced their tales off and those who didn’t have that energy just watched with envy. The set ended sharply at 5:30 am and then everyone made the mad dash to find a taxi and get back home before the sun went up.

All in all a fantastic way to start off Primavera, even if I didn’t get back to the apartment until 7:30 am.

Primavera Sound: Flaming Lips, San Miguel Stage, May 26

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Barcelona – The first night of Primavera Sound was a mixed bag of eclectic music that featured the likes of Big Boi, Of Montreal, Grinderman, Girl Talk and Interpol. With such a wide variety of music, it was no surprise that the most eclectic of them all, The Flaming Lips would be the headliners for the evening. The Flaming Lips live show has been well documented, everyone knows about the space ball walk, the massive confetti guns, the gigantic laser hands and the throng of dancers that are placed on each side of the stage during the show. These things are now expected staples for a Flaming Lips show – everyone knows it’ll happen and everyone expects it to happen. Having said that and having seen them live not even a year ago, I still left the Interpol show early to grab myself a good spot for the Flaming Lips show at Primavera Sound. While those things are no longer a surprise to me, they are still undeniably awesome.

Before the show started, rumors were swirling about what type of show that Oklahoma band would play – they were due to play their album The Soft Bulletin in July so a bunch of us had hypothesize that they would get a preview of that show. We were wrong. Regardless, their was a collective buzz in the air as Wayne Coyne took the stage before the show to announce that the show would feature heavy strobe lights and that if you were uncomfortable, you could simply look away.

The show started shortly after 2 am with the now legendary space ball walk. It’s an old Lips trick that has started off every show for the better part of the decade but remains enthralling every time. To see the look on a fan’s face when they see this for the first time is absolutely priceless. The spirit of the crowd was taken even higher when the opening notes from She Don’t Use Jelly were played, setting everyone at the San Miguel stage into a sing along frenzy. Much of the show played out much like their show in Toronto last year and still, it was great. I could always sing along to an acoustic version of Yoshimi and scream out to the Yeah Yeah Yeah song. Wayne Coyne once again had the crowd in the palm of his hands.

The highlight of the set was the inclusion of Race for the Prize during the encore, a song that had been left off their show last year. It was clearly a highlight for everyone at the show as well, as the crowd went mad at the opening sequence of the track and started singing along to the song well after it was over. The hour and a half set ended as expected with the always emotionally overwhelming Do You Realize, a song and performance that can warm all the cold hearts in the world with it’s sheer magnificence and power. I could see this song in concert a hundred times and still spaz out when the opening beats of the song are played with the massive lights and confetti cannons blasting. It’s truly one of the great concert moments you could ever have, which its only fitting because whether the tricks are new or old, a Flaming Lips show will always be amazing and this Primavera set was no exception.

Set List
The Fear
Worm Mountain
She Don’t Use Jelly
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
See the Leaves
Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
What Is the Light?

Race for the Prize
Do You Realize??

Do you realize by Flaming Lips by Mr. Goma

Primavera Day 1 – Caribou, Echo and the Bunnymen, Poble Espanol, May 25th

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Barcelona – While the official Primavera Sound did not start until Thursday, there was a series of concerts on Wednesday night that was located offsite, but still under the Primavera Sound moniker. The two acts that played that night included Liverpool act Echo and the Bunnymen and Canadian band Caribou. We were there for both.

Anyone following the career of Echo and the Bunnymen will have known that the past few years, the group has been doing a variety of tours featuring some of their most popular albums. For Primavera Sound, the group decided to perform tracks off their first two critically acclaimed albums – Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here. Taking the stage shortly after 8:30 at Poble Espanol, the band quickly greeted the crowd, which was around 3000-4000 capacity before launching into a hard rocking set. Ian McCulloch seemed less grouchy than usual, perhaps inspired by the massive crowd in the beautiful venue. Poble Espanol is an outdoor open-air architectural museum, so it felt as if the band was playing in a town square from old century Spain. It was quite a scene.

Most of my knowledge for Echo and the Bunnymen comes from their latter, more poppy albums such as Ocean Rain so I was taken by a bit of at how much harder the first two albums were. Tracks like Rescue and A Promise generated a huge response and McCulloch’s still got that voice and hit most of his high notes. The man was in pretty good spirit Wednesday night and even did some arm movements that could constitute as dance moves. While personally, I would have preferred more of a greatest hits show, I guess I have seen that already and it was nice to see some early Echo and the Bunnymen material and see where the origins of the band were. An encore featuring hit songs such as Bring on the Dancing Horses ended off a solid hundred minute set and was pretty much a great way to start off a music festival.
– Ricky

After a solid set by Echo and the Bunnymen(and after the departure of several of their fans (who care not a whit for that newfangled electro stuff), Caribou took to the stage to end of the night.  And what a show it was.  Dan Snaith and his three bandmates put on such a tight, joyous energetic set that was totally impressive to behold.  Never having seen Caribou before, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but when I heard it would be a full band performance, I figured it would be something worth seeing.  Seeing a solid electronic musician perform solo is one thing, but a full band performance always takes things to the next level.  Snaith and band had great chemistry onstage and sounded pretty tight.  I really enjoyed watching the interplay between the bandmates as they played so close together despite being on a fairly large stage.  It was like watching them jam together in their practice space, that’s how close together they were.  Caribou’s set was the perfect way to end off the night and a great way to start off the festival.
-Paul

Caribou- Odessa by pipppo

6 Reasons to get excited for Primavera

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Barcelona – Primavera Sound is finally here, and luckily enough, the Panic Manual will be covering this annual festival in all it’s glory. I feel like there’s not the usual round of excitement you get with North American music festivals on the internet, so here are some reasons to get excited for Primavera.

Pulp is Reuniting

Need I say more? the legendary Britpop band will be playing their first show since announcing that they are reforming for 2011. It will be crazy, the singalongs will be epic and Jarvis will show us he’s still got the stuff. I’m already drinking more water so that I can release more tears of joy whenthey take the stage.

Barcelona!

What a great place to have a music festival, forget Palm Springs or Chicago, Primavera is taking place in Barcelona, and the venue is RIGHT BESIDE THE SEA. You know what that means – post festival swimming! Did I mention that Barcelona is considered one of the culinary capitals of the world? The food is great, the weather is tremendous and it’s a festival by the sea. What more can you ask for?

Girl Talk at 5 am

So unlike other festivals, Primavera does not start at noon and end at 11. These people know how we work. Stay up late and wake up late. The first show at Primavera doesn’t start until 5 pm and the headliners don’t play until well after midnight. The last show on Friday night? Girl Talk. DJing at 5 am. Sure everyone will be tired, but if there’s ever a time to dance the night away and see the sunrise, then this will be the night.

The National, Flaming Lips and Belle and Sebastian

Three acts that been around for awhile that always, ALWAYS put on a great live show. The National have been playing a lot of high profile festivals lately, so they have undoubtedly become masters of the festival show. Flaming Lips…are just always amazing live and I’m sure Wayne Coyne and the gang have something in store for the Barcelona crowd. Belle and Sebastian are recieving a nice revival in popularity with their excellent album Write about Love. Being ableto see all these bands without scheduling conflicts will undoubtedly enhance everyone’s viewing experience.

The return of Fleet Foxes

After blowing people away with the sweet harmonies two years ago with their debut album, the Portland group is back with a new record and Primavera Sound will be one of the first places that Fleet Foxes will be showing off Helplessness Blues. I am sure that all indie fans will bath in the bearded groups awesomeness.

Primavera starts today. I am pumped.