To The Beach, Boys! Primavera Sound 2016
Here are 16 reasons why music-lovers of all ages headed to a concrete ocean in Spain...
Every June, the seaside rails and bumps of a space age skateboarding space in Barcelona transform into Primavera Sound – a festival framed by Europe’s largest solar panel.
This epic symbol of sustainability gets to people-watch three days of sustained partying – and some excellently unsustainable behaviour – to the best live soundtrack on planet earth.
Now in its 16th year. and bigger than ever with 13 stages, 2016 isn’t merely Primavera’s top lineup ever. It’s considered the best music billing of any festival this year. No talks, comedy or film required.
LCD Soundsystem. PJ Harvey. Sigur Rós. Brian Wilson. Moderat. The Avalanches. Tame Impala. Action Bronson. Savages. Dinosaur Jr. Air. Suede. Battles. Floating Points. Beirut. Goat. Kiasmos. Animal Collective. And these lesser-known lads from Oxford...
Here are 16 reasons why music-lovers of all ages, from Reykjavik to San Fran, headed to a concrete ocean in Spain for a festival called ‘Spring’ (Primavera) – in summer 2016.
Sadly Grace peaked too soon, and was out of it in a papoose during Savages before Radiohead even came on.
1. An Avalanche Of Firsts
Radiohead played their first fest in half a decade; the Avalanches reunited for the first time in 15 years (hola 'Frontier Psychiatrist'); and Beach Boys’ founder Brian Wilson performed groundbreaking album, Pet Sounds, on its 50th anniversary. That’s triple-firsting.
2. The Time Has Come
We shed tears when LCD Soundsystem died. But we forgive them for coming back just for this James Murphy love-in. Giant disco ball, you completed me.
3. Radiohead Fans In Exercise Shocker
If you didn’t camp out (with catheter/ bottle) for hours to be stage front, or weren’t in the VIP ‘golden circle’, you probably didn’t actually SEE Radiohead, but you would have heard them play the beloved classics, repping every album.
Meet you down the front, yeh?
After an epic two-hour set, Thom Yorke conducted chants of “I lost myself” to 'Karma Police', until a double encore, when the band answered all our prayers by playing 'Creep'. It was “so f**king special”… said all of the press, in the clever way that press use lyrics to make their points. (Well, it was.) This is what you get with Radiohead.
4. Alex Turner Thought He Was In France…
“Merci beaucoup!” the Last Shadow Puppets’ finger-waggling, crotch-grinding frontman hollered, before doing Leonard Cohen and Beatles covers.
5. …Even Though People In France Were Going Nowhere Fast
Air played despite France’s air strikes causing lineup havoc all over the shop.
6. Nobody Lip-Synced To Sigur Rós
The Icelandic post-rockers debuted their new light show and new song 'Óveður' in their first festival set of 2016. Nobody sang along. Because they couldn’t. But they wanted to.
7. The “Greatest Live Band In The World” Were Savage(s)
Savages crowdsurfed and screamed, but it was a rare performance of PJ Harvey – and her sax – who really let Barcelona shake. One girl wept the whole way through 'Down by the Water'. It wasn’t me.
(OK, it was.)
8. Good Vibrations
Equally sad and joyous, a vulnerable Brian Wilson ran through the entirety of Pet Sounds, and classic Beach Boys melodies, including 'California Girl' and 'Surfin' USA', ending on the uplifting 'Fun Fun Fun'.
And he only went and played the 'Monster Mash'.
9. Nothing In Moderation
We’re still vibrating from the rib-shattering bass served up by Berlin-based electronic heavyweights Moderat.
10. Primavera’s Sound – and Vision
Apart from the decision to flash up words that included 'crippled' and 'suffering', Moderat's light show was just joyous. One girl simply shouted the colour of the lights. Again, it wasn’t me.
11. Hip-Hop Action
Pusha T and former Odd Future collaborator Vince Staples repped the hip-hop entrees, but there was 'Never A Dull Moment' when chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson freestyled in flip-flops and socks over eighties hits like Phil Collins' 'Sussudio'.
12. That Horny Sunset Moment
Gracias Beirut. That cityscape and those colours…
13. Everyone Needs A Turkish Psych Hero
Selda Bağcan is now 67, but she sings heart-rending protest pop LOUD. Backed by hipster band Boom Pam, including a guitarist who looked like a beardy Adrian Brody and a very happy-to-be-there drummer, the light-hearted grandma’s style belied her imprisonment by a Turkish regime in 70s.
14. Oasis (Not The Band) Over The Bridge
This year the new ‘Beach Club’ (the Bowers and Wilkins venue over a futuristic bridge) provided a mini-festival of electronica from Todd Terje and Floating Points to DJ Koze and Maceo Plex. With cocktails, grass, palms and top mark loos, give yourself post-FOMO if you didn’t go there. Just look at this lineup for starters.
15. I Should Coco
It’s an annual no-brainer to jump on stage as the sun comes up on Sunday morning while DJ Coco pops Blur, Taylor Swift and, this year, a Bowie’s 'Heroes' finale. But a 2016 clash caused a predicament.
You should Coco, but John Talabot was hosting an epic disco party at the Beach Club. The waved palm fronds were divided.
16. To The Beach, Boys
After three days, nights, and numerous ‘afters’, people spilled onto the beach and corner bars for one euro wine in the blazing sun. (Yeh, one euro.)
We were all heroes for three days. That poor solar panel can attest.
By Lisa Goldapple, Atlas of the Future.