Sunday, May 29, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011 in Barcelona (Spain)

One of the experiences I was most looking forward to in moving to Europe was going to music festivals. Barcelona hosts Primavera Sound, a four day event mostly at the massive beach-side venue of Parc Forum and some random places in the city, too. Shows started around 5 pm... and, this being Spain, finished around 6 or 7 am. I was absolutely crushed that I missed Girl Talk's show, but that's what happens when you have to teach 2 hours later.

The variety of acts made for some strange bedfellows. For example, Johnny Rotten's (of Sex Pistols fame) new band P.I.L. was rockin' out while Big Boi (of Outkast fame) was rapping at the stage next door. The Walkmen were impressively tight, for all their time changes, and I was really glad to have finally seen them after accidentally sleeping through their show in North Carolina. The National, Warpaint, P.J. Harvey, and Fleet Foxes commanded huge audiences. The Flaming Lips entertained with their onstage antics (blow up robots, dancing Asian milkmaids, etc.) and enough balloons and confetti to rival a Super Bowl half-time show. The return of Pulp heralded a rowdy send up of Disco 2000. We bobbed and weaved through some promising smaller acts (e.g. Glasser and M. Ward) and less promising ones (e.g. drama-heavy punk group Throwing Up trashing the stage and their sponsors in the Ray Ban tent).

Event organizers seemed to make some odd choices that hurt some bands: Why put on Tannhauser, aka Mogwai-lite, at the same time as the original? Belle & Sebastian's upbeat show suffered from poor sound mixing since heavy thumping bass is not exactly what most people expect to hear with twee. But the most distracting effect had to come from misguided Gang Gang Dance, who appeared with two "dancers" - a purple ninja who alternated between waving ribbons of toilet paper and doing yoga poses and some random dude waving a garbage bag on a stick with no semblance of rhythm.

Despite our enjoyment of the music, I am afraid we will have to admit that we are not cut out for the long hours of partying in the Barcelona scene. We expect a long recovery period.

Click on the album in the side bar for pictures from the festival and of Montserrat.
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