Primavera Sound 2018 was again a really effective showcase of talent and new music, but also of the problems of what happens when a festival this important gets really big, with more that 215,000 attendees. But let’s focus on the music, better, Monday-to-Saturday, May 28th-to-June 2nd, in Barcelona, Spain:
U.K.’s Yonaka showed the kind of anger and fire bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sleigh Bells, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had in the past. Their subtle and mix of post punk rock, some drops of hip-hop attitude and the sense that they can’t give any rest to the audience made for a great set, but we’re not sure if theirs will be a long musical path.
Right after, The Twilight Sad returned to Barcelona after opening for The Cure in late 2016. Theirs was a very tense and emotive gig with the classics like “I Become A Prostitute”. Alex Graham, once again one of the most dedicated and committed frontmen you will ever find, was the focus of a very, very solid gig which included a very heartfelt rendition of “Keep Yourself Warm”, by Frightened Rabbit, a tribute to the recently deceased Scott Hutchinson (QRO interview). One of the most touching gigs of the festival.
ZA! Proved that their electronic/megaflow/oriental/freaky/electric/schizophonic set works well in small rooms as well as big, open-space places.
Later in the evening, Anna von Hausswolff was one of the revelations of the festival, with an incredible set of expansive metal, experimental pop and prog-rock. But this description and it’s not fair to von Hausswolff’s music. It’s like Fennesz decided to turn it up to eleven and put guitars in it, to say the least. A really, really pleasant surprise.
Fever Ray was underwhelming as they decided to focus on the dancey uncomfortable side of their work, so we decided to go and watch Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for the nth time. And, you know what? It was fantastic.
And to cap off at night we were genuinely surprised by the mix of blues and black metal by Zeal and Ardor. Most of those songs start with bluesy touch, but were almost like gospel and then turn to an expansive blow of black metal, which was reinforced by two other vocalists apart from frontman’s Manuel Gagneux. And it worked! It really worked! Very, very worth of a listen.
Elsewhere, Björk made sure her visa from her planet was put to good use with a radically different sonic-wise and image-wise concert.