Primavera Sound 2016 returned for the second day at Barcelona’s Parc de Forum. Thursday night left a tough act to follow, with marvelous sets from LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala, Vince Staples and others. However, any bill with Radiohead on it will hardly slouch. Check out our photos and recap of the Oxford band, Beach House, Animal Collective and more.
Cavern of Anti-Matter
There was an odd scheduling lull before Radiohead as Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs’ set was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances beyond the festival’s control”. However, Stereolab offshoot Cavern of Anti-Matter held things down at the Adidas stage. The Berlin-based band features Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth of Stereoland plus Holger Zapf. On first listen, their intricate instrumental groove cued a flashback to Battles’ 3am show the night prior at the Rayban.
They had synths alternating between low-end bass and an organ-tone lead on top. Minimal, effected, single guitar notes built the jam before picking up into a funk rhythm. The trio brought some 80’s, post-Robocop, sci-fi vibes. Cavern of Anti-Matter shifted into a warped beat with major guitar chords, creating somewhat of an upbeat neo-surf track with dueling leads between the guitar and synth. The Adidas stage seemed like the designated area to sit by the Port Forum waterfront and chief some BCN club bud.
Heading towards the Heineken stage for Radiohead, a lively set echoed up from the NightPro stage. What originally sounded like a string ensemble turned out to be a trombone and sax pair churning up some velvet brass harmonies. The brass pair was part of Santiago, Chile’s eight piece Tunacola. Given Radiohead’s stage was a short walk away, the NightPro show was sparsely attended. That being said, 95% of the people at Tunacola’s set were dancing. Their sound reminded of a Latin inspired, funk version of Escort with three vocalists. If That Other Band’s set wasn’t in ten minutes, this would’ve been an excellent show to see through.
Nina Simone’s “freedom/no fear” clip played across the Heineken stage crowd as Radiohead entered for their highly anticipated show. Interestingly, their headlining set came a full three hours earlier in the evening than LCD Soundsystem’s on the same stage a night prior. Primavera averages ~190,00 attendees (roughly 60k per day) and it appeared a good 40,000 were at the Heineken stage for this one.
Radiohead began with “Burn The Witch” and the more accessible vibes of Moon Shaped Pool travelled across the masses. As they played “Dayreaming”, the twinkling touches of the album sounded gorgeous. Initially, it seemed wild that such intimate tracks could carry to a crowd this size. But a ridiculous amount of chatter kicked up during the quieter MSP tracks. These tracks seem best suited for a club, but the album’s dynamics might fall victim to festival chatter if that proves to be Radiohead’s tour route. “Decks Dark” and “Desert Island Disk” came across beautifully despite the chatter before Radiohead hit “Ful Stop”, which sounded like a Moog master class. The Krautrock crescendo track exploded at the bass drop and “truth will mess you up” lyrical refrain. MSP is a headphones album but sounded incredible on the festival speakers. None of Nigel Godrich’s touches were lost.
(Photo by Eric Pamies)
Departing from the MSP songs, Radiohead launched into “National Anthem” as the crowd leapt into cheer. “Talk Show Host” proceeded TKOL’s “Lotus Flower” before the band went into some deeper cuts. “No Surprises” elicited a collective ‘gasm from the crowd and some attendees even start shushing others. Given the dramatic chatter during the MSP material, this was a quick change. The crowd sang along gleefully. This trend continued for “Pyramid Song” before Radiohead returned to “The Numbers” and the chatter returned. It was an odd dichotomy, but perhaps people just haven’t spent enough time with MSP.
Radiohead followed with “Karma Police” and their was an instant eruption. People were straight up screaming every word and even sang an extra chorus after the song ended. “Weird Fishes” was next and then “Everything In Its Right Place”. The high synths of the latter soared above us and the acoustics were simply unparalleled from the festival’s other sets. These small touches still set the band apart. “Idioteque” brought out Thom Yorke’s martian dance moves, then they played “Bodysnatchers”, “Street Spirit”, “Bloom”, “Paranoid Android”, “Nude” and “2+2=5”. They’re ability to so nimbly maneuver between such eclectic albums is still amazing. “There There” closed out the set before a quick encore pause. They returned to (yes, indeed) play “Creep” as arguably the most cell phones in the history of a concert quickly appeared.
You can view the full setlist here.
(Photo by Eric Pamies)
After the Radiohead exodus, I stepped into a packed Rayban Bowl. It was quite the site as people were packed in, circling 270 degrees around Animal Collective. Amidst the domed orb tent of the stage and the Aquí hay tomate installation art within view, AnCo’s abstract maximalist jams felt at home. Noah Lennox, Avey Tare and Geologist’s polyrhythms were amplified by a live drummer. Some of their tendencies for musical tangents were overcome by the sheer rhythmic force. A metallic face statue on stage and a Picasso-esque backdrop seemed fitting. They covered a lot of material, including excellent versions of Merriweather Post Pavilion’s “Daily Routine”, Feels’ “Loch Raven” and Painting With’s “Floridada“. AnCo delivered a mesmerizing nocturnal set here.
(Photo by Xarlene)
Beach House showed up 15 minutes late for their 02:00 show, but it made no difference once they delivered the majestic dream atmosphere to Heineken stage patrons. I didn’t catch any of their intimate, installation shows and a comparison between those and this headlining set would be fascinating. But Beach House had no issues captivating the festival crowd. They opened with Depression Cherry’s “PPP”, played a striking version of Teen Dream‘s “Silver Soul” followed by “Space Song”. Keeping the DP and TD album alternations going, they returned to “10 Mile Stereo”. They covered a number of DP tracks, a few from Bloom and a single Thank Your Lucky Stars track (“Elegy to the Void”) before closing with “Sparks”. Maybe all music just sounds better at 2:45am on the beach, but Beach House’s songs felt especially fitting as the mist rolled in from the sea.
(Photos by Eric Pamies)