Primavera Sound 2019 brought ‘the new normal’ to Barcelona, Getintothis’ Howard Doupé, Simon Kirk and Peter Guy reflect on a much-changed festival bristling with inventiveness and innovative ideas.
The annual pilgrimage to Primavera Sound is nothing new for Getintothis – yet for this particular writer it didn’t just represent our first sojourn to Parc del Forum – but a milestone in our first foreign music festival. Intrigue and expectation was high.
Now we’ve all heard the talk: it’s like no other music festival, few if any festivals in the UK can match it, Prima holds inclusivity at its heart, the line up is more diverse than any other European happening – and the food ain’t half bad. Well, it was time to find out.
This year’s theme was The New Normal, a direct slogan, a statement declaring Primavera Sound is a home for everyone. As one of the 45 worldwide festivals that last year pledged to achieve a 50:50 gender balance in their line-ups by 2022, Primavera – one of Europe’s largest festivals – has been the first major festival to do so.
It’s rational to say this incredible achievement has been enabled by the nature of its diversity. However, the unusual pop direction Primavera has lent towards for its big hitters in 2019 could quite well have swung it. Either way it is a sound move. And it pays off.
This year Primavera looked bold, ambitious, wholly-embracing and bloody exciting – however, will the thousands of faithful followers who demand a spectacle of great magnitude be satisfied?
The range of talent reached every corner of the artistic patchwork. While 2019 focused largely on pop, the nuts and bolts of what has made Primavera such an unparalleled experience remained prominent.
It’s fair to say with appearances from Miley Cyrus, Kurt Vile, Robyn, NAS, Stereolab, Loyle Carner and Janelle Monáe the overall flavour once again was enough to satisfy the most twistedly-demanding of palates. And it wasn’t just our minds that were well and truly expanded amid the pop-fuelled burst of musicality on offer.
Returning for the second successive year was the Primavera Bits area, reachable via the huge concreted suspension bridge high above the luxurious yachts and beach clubs – presumably where the Roman Abramovich‘s of this world spend mini breaks. It’s their version of a trip to the lakes. Those who made the trek had four stages of electronica, DJs, ambient sounds, trap melding hip hop and a whole host of MCs to submerge into.
Proving vastly popular last year, the Bits hosted the likes of Princess Nokia, Jayda G, Sophie, Yung Beef and Lizzo. The full line-up meant that venturing away from the main area of the festival ran the risk of never coming back. As they say, though, one cannot survive on riffs alone – despite the on-site transfer between the two getting pulled last minute!
With all this buzzing around our heads, we set off from our reacquainted digs for the week for our first venture onto the Parc del Fòrum. Passing the surprisingly glorious Barcelona beach, it’s bright, clear blue and once your past the skaters, surprisingly quiet.
It’s a long wander. That open skyline is broken long before you clear the endless concrete pathways by the two main stages in the distance towering over the site boundaries and the impressive sundial standing peacock-like punching into the clouds.
Facing each other on one side of the parc, the SEAT and PULL&BEAR stages are newly separated by the largest field of artificial grass we’ve ever seen. It may not be organic, but at least the colour breaks up the grey and cushions your backside during the between band’s chill time.
Once in it’s a relaxed affair. The opening day (Wednesday) is the warm-up with only a handful of food stalls open, two stages (Primavera and Night Pro) and far fewer people milling around.
To be honest, we’re welcoming of the break-in. Come Thursday and the first full day proper, there’s going to be no rest for the wicked. And tempering your energy is a key asset to Prima survival.
No surprise that what’s offered up is by no means a lukewarm start. Letting the locals show us how it’s done Spain’s Mow is what greets us on the Primavera stage. As the continental sounds of a dreamy pop Spanish Lana Del Rey, it’s the perfect festival welcome.
Taking things in our stride, the relaxed feel of the day is ideal for wandering around the site. Just as well really, getting your bearings requires quite a different approach.
Gone are the usual green fields, shrubs and natural hedge boundaries you’d expect.
Instead, there’s huge open spaces, monolithic concrete structures all firmly acclimatised to the Barcelona sun. The vibe is calm, inclusive with a definitive emphasis on enjoyment. This is the way UK festivals should be – surely? Why do we endure such grim, medieval situations rolling around in our own filth and putting up with such dirt and filth. Perhaps that’s part and parcel of their appeal?
Melenas get the music flowing in an all-girl garage-punk affair. It’s loose, yet flowing with plenty of charm. We haven’t a clue what they’re singing about, but with hooks this tight who cares before emerging star-in-making Hatchie hits the spot with melodic sunkissed grooves.
There’s a growing mix of audience come early evening, split between stage front and the grassy knoll opposite that trails up a steep bank offering a semi-decent overview of this part of the site. It’s not the last time we’ll take a perch on the one speck of sun-beaten grass.
Cuco plays the sunset slot with his laid-back ‘nerd’ vibes. Risen to a blip on the radar thanks to a string of annual self-released EP’s the bedroom-pop, sunny-side-up hip-hop would suit the mood better as an instrumental vibe set. No disrespect, but we’re still in awe of the whole setup to really pay attention.
Stepping up for the ‘quiet-night’ headliners are Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) fronting Big Red Machine, combining Vernon’s stunning and unique vocal style with the musical landscapes all too familiar courtesy of Dessner.
They’ve drawn a sizeable crowd – helped out by the customary free entrance for Barcelona residents. Despite the relatively short set – sprinkled mind you with numerous guest vocalists and a twin-brother for support – the pace remains constant, in keeping with the evening draw from the warm summer air.
It would have been the perfect end to our first Primavera day right there, however, the lure of live music never stops beating. Dashing across town as quick as these legs would take us, we pile into Sala Apolo – the hub for everything fringe Primavera. This wonderfully dated theatre hall is a thriving venue, playing host to all manner of music every week of the year.
Well my mind was well and truly blown by two sets I saw tonight, one being the spacey psychedelic doom jazz Poles Lonker See and the other being an exciting young Taiwanese producer by the name of @meuko_meuko who ended the night with a mind bending culture clash of sounds.
— Jeffrey Johns (@BigJeffJohns) May 28, 2019
Stating their case we observe one of the most brutal sets of the festival from Fucked Up. Their blend of garage and punk opera is throttled by animated singer Damien Abraham. The crowd are wild and the energy pulsates, bearing witness to the first indoor mosh-pit we’ve seen in a long time – not to mention Abraham crowd surfing. This is where the festival’s ribbon-cutting ceremony gets shredded to tatters. It is left to Apparat to see us over the line with a storming DJ set until 5am as our apartment lures us home to rest.
Onto the first full day and the festival starts to show why Brits in particular flock every year – we’re talking sun and plenty of fine music.
Heading into the grand cavernous walled all-seated theatre, just outside of the site that is Auditori Rockdelux, it’s harsh metallic-styled exterior giving nothing away to what’s about to unfold. Sydney trio The Necks draw us into a piano and cello jazz-fuelled dreamscape.
Defying convention, it’s a rare outing for the group and the bar has been set. Falling into an almost sedated sleep, it’s surely the height of modern jazz- engaging and emotive.
Without a minute to even work out which way is the site entrance we’re galloping towards the main stage area to catch Big Thief. Their soft, San Francisco grooves are perfect for the setting and an ideal cushion-rest to propel us into the rest of the day after the softest of starts.
Overlapping slightly, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks bring guitars to the Primavera stage. Delivering a huge slice from his already seven albums in career post-Pavement. Plenty to enjoy here as harmonies echo through.
No time to hang around here as the urge to see Lonker See one more time (we caught these Polish shoe-gazers at the Apollo) was just too strong. With an unbelievable set in the bag, this time their saxophone-driven space-psychedelic rock is immense on a larger outdoor stage.
Early contender for set of @Primavera_Sound already – colossal saxophone assisted psychedelic grooves courtesy of Poland’s Jonker See at the Apolo – that drummer was unreal 😳 🥁 🎷 pic.twitter.com/b9E8rGn7lq
— Peter Guy (@Getintothis) May 29, 2019
Fifteen minute jams that crash, swirl and scream through droned walls of brass is the business of Joanna Kucharska, Bartosz Boro Borowski, Tomasz Gadecki and Michał Gos – they make a formidable force.
After a brief wander to the Ray-Ban stage, we caught the high-energy show put on by Danny Brown. The Warp Records-signed MC has been brushing shoulders with Kendrick Lamar and Eminem of late and it’s an astonishing set which is bold enough to sample Joy Division, Hawkwind and Nine Inch Nails. It’s a blur of beats, exuberance and killer hooks that the gathered crowd and the first mass singalong we’ve witnessed of the day.
Making it back to what is fast becoming our favourite stage of the festival, Christine & The Queens show up to make their point exactly clear. After an absolute world-class performance at the Manchester Apollo back in November, this was one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend.
Chris didn’t fail to impress as the more compact set list allowed her to thrust forward the visual element to her live show. The choreography is mesmerising, combined with theatrical light and effects, you never quite know where to look for the next injection of spark.
Making her stance on equality for all very clear, here is an artist that epitomises the core value Primavera successfully stands for and achieves.
Ping-ponging back to Ray-Ban for what we were hoping would be curious performance from NAS. However, the security on the gates must have confiscated the stepladders obviously needed to see a damn thing. Rammed is not the world, the steep-stepped bowl of a stage was backed up all the way to the top.
We’d love to comment on the performance, sadly if you’ve ever tried to listen to reverberating live sets from a distance, you may as well go see something else. So we did, soz NAS.
Post-hardcore fans were assuaged by Built To Spill knocking out their seminal album, Keep It Like A Secret, while the pop-punk forefathers, Jawbreaker, unleashed a snidey set, probably still pissed off all these years later that they inadvertently provided the seeds for acts like Green Day, Blink 182, Sum 41 et al to sow and bastardise the genre in the worst way possible fashion.
Then there was Guided By Voices, who put us in a state of shock. Not because of their stirring set which saw them plough through bits and pieces of their 108 releases (yes, your eyes do not deceive you), but the fact they actually showed up for their first European gig for fifteen years!
Due to GBV‘s past form, bets were made prior that Robert Pollard and his troops would pull the pin last minute, but thankfully we were proven wrong. Ripping through classics, Tractor Rape Chain, Gold Star For Robot Boy, I Am A Tree, My Kind of Solider and I Am Scientist to name a few.
With so many angles and textures, this lo-fi band have navigated their way through decades of music-fads and fleeting trends, continually creative relevant music. it was a performance delivered with utter aplomb. What’s not to like, when the mood is as buoyant as this, it’s not even 1am.
One of the biggest disappointments of the weekend arrives in the shape of Erykah Badu. Billed as one of the biggest artists, Badu is an intriguing proposition and having lapped up her New Amerykah series, in particular, we’re eagerly awaiting something equally cosmic. What we’re greeted to is a slow-burning, almost inconsequential set of frazzled slowburners which while pulling us in, equally allow our minds to wander.
We’re in need of stimulation at this hour of the morning and yet this is coma-inducing and somewhat easy listening. With five tracks left on the slow cooker, we depart in search of something hotter, meatier and providing more substance.
Such arrives in the shape of Liverpool’s Carcass. The thrash metallers are veterans of the global touring circuit yet they seem an odd fit for this year’s billing which is sadly lacking in the heavier end of the musical spectrum. Yet this is of little consequence as they treat the stage like their topping the bill at Download, mounting the monitors, lashing riff upon riff and fist-pumping the sky. It’s a tremendous listen.
Time to take a well-needed break here with a visit to the food hall, which in itself lived up to the testament of providing a lot more choice than the usual pop-up grub offerings we’re accustomed to back home.
At this time – it’s well gone 2am in the morning – surely the only way to avoid the impending food coma was to go ravin’ it up in the Ray-Ban Studios. Situated in an underground car park behind the Pitchfork stage, the Ray-Ban Studios was easily the weekend’s greatest find. Like a cave within a carpark, you descend into what feels like the bowels of the festival site.
Lasers greeted us and behind a thick black curtain akin to the Black Lodge, a murky array of red and white lighting filled all corners in front of monolithic sound systems for the likes of Demdike Stare, DJRUM, Roza Terenzi and Peach to unleash chemically induced tech-house bangers. The space bled with a unique energy, transporting people into their own worlds to dance, reminisce or completely lose their minds.
After joining the queue to get in, wading through the smoke on our first visit to DJRUM driving home some high-tempo beats. Primavera cannot be accused of not catering for all musical needs, regardless of the time of day. A few more weak beers and we’re working off that gourmet street food like a night down at Cream in the 90’s.
Quietly slipping into Friday, this is the day of the big pop hitters.
Snail Mail starts the day with a luke-warm set. Dogged by a guitar that just wouldn’t stay in tune singer Lindsey Jordan battled through a set of average 90’s inspired indie tunes. The flow severely disrupted and obviously irritated with the situation, the crowd naturally shared her frustrations and willed her through.
On the other hand we had much bigger fish to fry in Sons of Kemet XL – yes, they’ve beefed up for the live experience and what a set it was. In the blistering sunshine, the fusion of afro beats (from four drummers no less), saxophone (is this the instrument of the festival?) and tuba (yes, really) the Ray-Ban stage was rocking. Showering us with most of 2018’s Your Queen Is A Reptile the sound is glorious, physically moving and wholly one of acceptance.
Another performance which ensures the early part of Friday maintains a standard of excellence is Bristol’s Beak> as the trio power through jazz-fuelled beats and organ kosmiche grooves aplenty with Geoff Barrow on form with a raft of jokes clearly enjoying himself in the Barca heat.
Meanwhile, over on the already-packed Prima village green are Kurt Vile & The Violators. The large draw for many made perfect sense as they see him deliver his slacker-chilled vibes in the Barcelona heat. Dipping in and out of releases, the music flowed over you and left a sea of well satisfied, smiley-faced people. Pretty Pimpin’ proves the perfect tonic as the sun beats down as many take time out to rest achy limbs and that much-needed place to sit proves a fine addition to the usual wasteground of the main arena. Full marks, organisers.
Over on SEAT the pop sensibilities commenced with Carley Rae Jepsen bring a full-on show filled with fun, glitter and big ol’ chart tunes. The hits flowed and the whoops got louder – not to mention a wander through the crowd too.
To continue the days theme a 180-degree turn is all you need to be faced with Janelle Monáe and a full-on sensational arena sucker punch show. Full of lights, dancers, costume changes and a throne. It’s slick, perfectly executed and well versed in the arts of modern pop.
Back across the site, we trundled for the last time to catch sets from some long-standing favourites in Suede and Low. There’s not too much to say about these two that hasn’t been said. Both drew the crowds, both delivered thoroughly enjoyable sets, both left us wanting to go back and become re-acquainted with their respective back catalogues. Mind you, on tonight’s basis I’m pretty certain Brett Anderson is jerking and thrusting his way hastily towards that hip replacement.
Janelle Monae’s production was something else last night. 💯 pic.twitter.com/FYmaH3Uxst
— Peter Guy (@Getintothis) June 1, 2019
As the sleep deprivation starts to play a little with our sanity it’s the lure of the final day on site that keeps us going- oh yeah and some footy match in the Your Heineken Stage.
Once again we’re submerging ourselves in the unfamiliar, The Mystery of The Bulgarian Voices featuring Lisa Gerrard. A full choir of traditionally dressed mature women, familiar to Bulgarian state television and radio. With voices of angels that came to the attention of label 4AD, you can see why a re-release was sought. A truly, spine-tingling experience as harmonies woven with light musical accompaniment sat alongside beat-boxing. Trust us, you just had to be there.
Cultural exploration aside, it’s back to business with Shellac. Once again proving their harsh, garage-thrash noise remains a staple part in proceedings. Glossing over a few hrs with an inadequate-sized screen and a dodgy stream, the celebratory mood was in euphoric overload.
Rounding off the ’90s love-in were beacons of the underground, June Of 44, who took the stage shortly after Liverpool Football Club‘s latest triumph in Europe and what better way to celebrate.
Witnessing a combination of frontman, Jeff Mueller, and drummer extraordinaire, Doug Scharin, spearhead this brand of tender yet demented math-rock was something to behold, as June Of 44 delivered large cuts from era-defining long-players, Engine Takes to the Water and Tropics of Meridians.
One band we never thought we’d see but that, dear friends, is what Primavera does. They demand we expect the unexpected.
The closing end of the festival came with some quality sets from the likes of Primal Scream (huge crowd, back catalogue set, neon pink suit) Jarvis Cocker introducing JARV IS…(a few good tunes, some misses, a harp player) and Stereolab (biggest surprise of the day, in a good way).
We’d like to say we made it to Slowthai’s 4am set – after such a performance at the Mountford Hall a few weeks back – but we’d be lying.
Our final taste of all things Primavera didn’t end there though, the Sunday night closing party back at the Apolo would certainly send us on our way with the usual good vibes set from Barcelona head and festival resident, DJ Coco. Beforehand, a rapturous set from indie darlings The Beths was on point while the thunderous set from CupcakKe got the place bouncing behind a wall of expletives and some no-holds-barred dirty-wit.
We had been warned prior to her set about the sexual lyrical content but this was something else. Flashes of nipples and an exit song which declared ‘Immabout to suck some dick‘ was lapped up with rude intent by the enthusiastic crowd. Please applaud the potty-brat contender for Missy Elliot’s and Lil’ Kim’s throne.
Equally raucous yet cut from a completely different cloth are Australian punk outfit Amyl and the Sniffers. Wonderful by name, wicked by nature, their brand of a two-minute buzz cut, razor sharp ditties send the crowd into Sunday night delirium. It is exactly what is needed to keep people on their feet. Props for their tremendous Melbourne mullets too. Almost compelled me to get the shaver out there and then.
In the afterglow of another year completed, our faith is restored in Primavera’s ability to deliver the most engaging, welcoming and diverse music festival in Europe. Managing to appease all tastes and trends is no mean feat in this current sub-genre within sub-genre age. They do it with ease.
Whatever the plans are for next year, it’s going to be special – it’s the 20th anniversary no less. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead. We would never adhere to things being normal – however, this new form of normal we could certainly get used to.
The nine best artists and bands of Primavera 2019
Lonker See: Sala De Apolo, Wednesday
Melding freakbeat psychedelia and cosmic jazz, Poland’s Lonker See prove our best discovery of Primavera 2019. In the second room of the Apolo there’s a healthy crowd on Wednesday evening and clearly many have done their homework as frenetic beats rain down amid slowburning metallic riffs and strident percussion. Channelling the likes of Comets On Fire battling it out with John Coltrane they’re a apt mix of the current wave of rockist bands infusing improvisation jazz and spontaneous beat-driven sonics that contemporaries Sons of Kemet, Crack Cloud and Comet is Coming deploy but theirs is a style that leans harder on the whacked out scale with incendiary guitar licks trading with fearsome saxophone work. Yet, it is their drummer, Michal Gos, who holds the key with some of the finest work behind a kit we’ve witnessed in some time; a dexterous relentlessness which propels their music into the stratosphere. – Peter Guy
Christine and the Queens: Primavera Stage, Thursday
‘I am becoming who I am‘… If there’s one woman who embodies the festival’s mantra of New Normal it is Héloïse Adelaide Letissier aka Christine and the Queens. Effusive in her message of living life in a more honest, true and open way, Christine – or Chris – is positively dripping with pride at what she’s become. That is Chris – an agile, larger than life presence exuding confidence and comfort in her own skin and identity. She basks in the shared warmth from her mesmerising team of dancers and the enormous crowd which greets her in Barcelona. And boy, has she brought the bangers. Comme Si gets the entire audience gyrating as one while smiles abound as Girlfriend ramps up the sexually-infused funk. She’s one of few artists who teases with stage props combining fireworks, confetti, ladders, stage-risers and the ever-flowing choreography which spills forward drawing gasps from those watching. However, this is simply part and parcel of one of the best live acts in the world right now and the songs are so damn good it’s impossible not to move in time to her Michael Jackson inspired dancefloor fillers and angular hot-stepping. But amid the strutting there’s much subtly; iT is taut and beautiful, Saint Claude heart-stopping romanticism and Titled remains a minimalistic anthem which has the entire audience singing in unison. There’s time for a brief Bowie cameo of Heroes, pyros during a thrilling Goya Soya and the blistering pop of Doesn’t Matter before she’s lifted aloft on a 50 foot high boardwalk shirtless dangling her crimson blouse down itching for us to reach up and take it. We’re ultimately left wanting more – she’s that good. – Peter Guy
Sigrid: Pitchfork Stage, Thursday
Catching her for the first time, fast-rising wunderkind Sigrid proves an unexpected joy as the sun begins to set. We catch 30 minutes of wildly exuberant effervescent pop bangers – and it’s exactly what’s needed. While her on stage in between tracks character is that of shy, almost reluctant star when the music kicks in her vocal is an impressive instrument soaring deep into the packed Pitchfork arena backed by thumping live instrumentation and hooks to burn – she’s only just begun with her debut released earlier this year – but she’s certainly going to be *big* – Peter Guy
Just Mustard: Pitchfork Stage, Friday
Dundalk’s Just Mustard, fresh from supporting Fontaines DC, prove one of the new bands of the festival evoking the spirit of Mazzy Starr, Slowdive and in some of their more cinematic moments latter era Mogwai. Sinister goth tension blends seemlessly with Katie Ball‘s breathy delivery. They ooze nonchalance which beautifully contrasts their gnarly, rough edges which bristles with malevolence. They’re so good we stay far longer than intended as plans go out the window such is their magnificent musical gravity. We can’t wait to hear more of this lot. – Peter Guy
Janelle Monae: Pull&Bear Stage, Friday
There’s a t-shirt going round the festival site which reads: Miley, Janelle, Carly, Solange and Robyn – and you can’t help but feel that’s the mood of Primavera 2019. Sure they’re all wildly different – and let’s not suggest this is lazy pigeonholing of the female artists on show – but there’s a message of defiance and equality which bristles through each of their music. They demand a place at the table, and Primavera is firmly putting them all at the head of the musical banquet. And they all grab it. Janelle Monae is perhaps the most theatrical of them all. A text comes through saying if Christine is Jacko then Janelle is Prince. However, she’s way more than that as she mixes James Brown, Janet Jackson, the pageantry of a fashion show plus Madonna and Funkadelic and a constant thread of political discourse. She’s a kaleidoscope both visually and sonically. She may not have the vocal prowess of Miley or the moves of Christine however her versatility is incredible. If there’s a caveat to this effusive praise, we’d argue her armoury of songs isn’t quite worthy of the near 90-minute display and there’s a few bits which plateau or rely too heavily on the sea of costume changes and visual dynamics. However, when Make Me Feel, Django Jane, I Like That and most impressively Tightrope are dropped she’s as dynamic a performer and popstar you’ll see anywhere. – Peter Guy
Miley Cyrus: SEAT Stage, Friday
The pop game is the hardest game of all. Miley Cyrus makes it look and sound so easy. Standing in for the absent former headliner Cardi B, she delivers one hour of pop perfection. It’s wall-to-wall hits. No let up. No flab. Nothing but massive tunes which are belted out like titanium bullets. From the moment we see her giant tongue licking out the inside of a particularly juicy piece of fruit we’re left in no uncertain terms that this is going to be a full-on attack of the senses. Her confidence and complete assurance is quite staggering. Yes, she was a childhood star – but there’s no dead-behind-the-eyes Britney-isms here. She’s fully engaged and engaging. Her vocals are unequivocally the best of the weekend whether she’s alluding to her flaming pussy on Cattitude, the country-rave-up of Party In The USA or the choral-dreamboat of Can’t Stop she’s got a sea of people in the palms of her hands. Her rendition of Jolene sends people apoplectic while set closer Wrecking Ball is the biggest singalong of the week. Job done. Astonishing. – Peter Guy
Stereolab: Ray-Ban Stage, Saturday
As Suede produced one of the finest sets of the weekend at the Ray-Ban stage, many a bleary eye turned up to see what Stereolab could offer on the festival’s final night. In summary, they were not only the surprise of the weekend, but surpassed Brett Anderson and co., delivering for this writer the weekend’s finest performance. Perhaps no band in the last thirty years has carved out a finer nexus between avant-garde, krautrock and infectious pop and Stereolab lay it all on the finest of sonic platters for the Primavera faithful. While their aesthetic could sometimes be construed as candlelight dinner offerings for hipsters, live this is a downright fucking wig out. A rave, even, much to this writer’s astonishment. Brakhage, French Disko, Miss Modular and John Cage Bubblegum are enormous mesmerising jams, comfortably exceeding Stereolab‘s representation on record. The closing tour-de-force that is Lo Boob Oscillator is the weekend’s peak of music on offer, as collective artistic proficiency and hedonism collide and explode leaving those lucky enough to bear witness in a state of utter euphoria. What a triumph it is to have Stereolab back in the game. – Simon Kirk
Primal Scream: Primavera Stage, Saturday
It seems almost bizarre to come to a festival and yet see little rock & roll. Perhaps that is why Primavera 2019 felt so good. We were out of usual festival comfortzone and seeing artists who we wouldn’t usually. Or at least usually wouldn’t outside of an Arena date. Yet, when Bobby Gillespie and has band of survivors blister into Moving On Up and Jailbird it feels somewhat refreshing to be in that festival autopilot safemode allowing us to completely ‘switch off’ and just wig out to some old fashioned yet brilliantly honest rock and roll. And they stack the goods high. Accelerator is perhaps the most punishingly punk rock track of the week, Higher Than The Sun marvellously blissed out, Swastika Eyes a beat-driven psychopath of a song, Kowalski reminds us of the genius of the entirety of Vanishing Point making us want to hear the whole album in full while Loaded is just pure unadulterated fun. Gillespie has been -somewhat rightly – been getting some stick for his ill-advised appearances on the Late Show and most recently his sexist comments about Madonna but tonight he’s on transcendental form. Anyone who knocks this band as chancers and charlatans simply doesn’t get rock and roll – Primal Scream are the very definition of that, and their set is a thing of unbridled arms aloft joy. – Peter Guy
Little Simz: SEAT Village Stage, Saturday
Stumbling across this small stage tucked away upon the sea front proved an absolute winner – for not only did it provide light relief from the mania unfolding elsewhere but it also saw one of the sets of the weekend. Not that the mania wasn’t ever-present during one of the UK’s brightest new talents: Little Simz. Simbi Ajikawo is fully beaming when she takes to the stage at 2am – and there’s no let up in her 45 minute set which pummels and raises much good cheer throughout. Her energy is contagious and so is her powerful message which pushes humour, community and integration to the fore. There’s a raft of musicality on display too straddling garage, trap, hip hop and afrobeat together with enough hooks to fill a cloakroom while Pressure and Good For What have the packed crowd singing each word back at her. She leaves breathless and smile still beaming – and so do we. – Peter Guy
For the fourth year running Getintothis stayed in Lugaris Beach apartments. The ideally situated apartments are adjacent to the beach front in the relative calm of Poblenou. Spacious and open plan, the apartment offers a contemporary sitting room complete with TV, WiFi, superbly stocked kitchen and sleek bedrooms and modern bathroom. Perhaps the finest element of the apartment – as well as it’s location – is the rooftop pool and decking area which allows you to sunbathe, relax or socialise away from the more popular beaches. However, should you wish to leave the apartment you’re only minutes away from the thriving Poblenou rambla which offers extensive dining, cafes, supermarkets, traditional Catalan retail and a multitude of bars – plus of course those beautiful beaches. If you wish to venture further, you’re just 300m from the beaches of Bogatell and Mar Bella while there’s a scenic 20 minute walk (or a two stop Metro trip) to Primavera Sound‘s Parc del Forum which makes it an exquisite place to stay during the summer festival. For full details on Lugaris Beach apartments see their website .