The local live-music scene is on hold as the mercury soars, but we will bring you all the action from Primavera Sound, one of Europe’s hottest summer festivals, with a live stream on our website. Rob Garratt rounds up his pick of the must-see acts
There are older festivals, bigger festivals, sunnier festivals, festivals in kookier locations, and festivals with more paparazzi – but when it comes down to the music, serious fans will tell you that few festivals can compete with the lovingly curated Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
In just 15 years, the indie-centric event has blossomed from a two-day, 8,000-capacity happening to a five-day annual extravaganza attracting 190,000 fans to eight stages, with a host of spin-off events across the city.
This year’s event begins on June 1, and the bill is packed with contemporary legends – Radiohead, a reformed LCD Soundystem, Suede and PJ Harvey are among the top draws.
With the guitar still hailed as king at this event, other headliners on this most-enviable alternative bill include Tame Impala, Sigur Ros, Air, Savages, The Last Shadow Puppets, Dinosaur Jr, Animal Collective, Parquet Court and Mudhoney.
The electronic-music world is represented by eclectic offerings including Hudson Mohawke, Maceo Plex and Floating Points, while there’s even a dose of jazz from scene-stealer Kamasi Washington.
Gutted that you can’t be there? Us too. But you do not need to miss out entirely – you can experience the best of the buzz, without even having to leave your sofa, as The National is hosting a live stream from the festival.
Here are a few of the performances you will not want to miss.
James Murphy might have overseen the perfect band break-up, artfully folding his trendsetting indie-dance troupe after three acclaimed albums in less than 10 years.
When LCD Soundsystem bowed out in 2011, they did it with the great fanfare of a four-hour, sell-out show at Madison Square Garden in New York, and an acclaimed farewell documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits.
With lesser acts, we might have felt cheated by the announcement in January that the band were reforming for a string of lucrative summer festivals. But this is LCD Soundsystem – we are just happy to be invited along for the ride.
Expect mass mania to greet indie anthems North American Scum and Daft Punk Is Playing at My House.
• Main stage, June 3, 3.10am UAE time (1.10am in Spain)
The music world broke out into some kind of mass paralysis last month with the sudden release of Radiohead’s ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool – an album the very existence of which was first broken by Primavera.
It is still not clear whether it was another carefully controlled media stunt (like the sudden deletion of Radiohead’s website and social media last month), or a case of international crossed-wires, with Primavera’s announcement that it would host “the presentation of the new album by the British band Radiohead” buried in a press release announcing the 2016 line-up.
In any case, the show is part of era-defining band’s first tour in four years, but initial signs are good – warm-up shows in Paris featured their first performance of breakout, angst-rock hit Creep in seven years.
• Main stage, June 4, 0.15am UAE time (June 3, 10.15pm in Spain)
To mark the 50th anniversary of his masterpiece, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is touring with Pet Sounds one last time.
There is no need to spell out the importance of this pop magnum opus, which rewrote the rule book with its lush layers, space-age orchestral arrangements and blind ambition.
Wilson’s aim at the time, it is said, was to create “the greatest rock album ever made”. Many would say he succeeded. It certainly brought about a sea-change in music, motivating The Beatles to make Sgt Pepper, and pre-empting everything wonderful and wicked about the “summer of love” that followed.
Wilson has taken Pet Sounds round the globe twice since emerging from his hibernation in 2000, but guarantees this will be the last hurrah.
• Main stage, June 4, 10pm UAE time (8pm in Spain)
Now in her 47th year, the once-outspoken feminist firebrand of early 1990s British alt-rock remains as potent as ever.
Displaying growing gravitas with every passing release, where once she spat sass and vitriol on spicy name-makers Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993), recent releases have established Polly Jean as something more akin to a generational spokesperson.
Her 2011 state-of-the-nation address, Let England Shake, was named album of the year by 16 magazines and picked up the Mercury Prize. For this year’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, she turned her gaze to rundown public housing in the USA, to bleak yet compelling effect.
An impassioned performer, with more than just something to say.
• Main stage, June 5, 0.35am UAE time (June 4, 10.35pm in Spain)
Iconic grunge survivors Mudhoney are among the hottest picks of the festival’s closing day, when the action moves away from the main stage to venues across the city. Approaching their 30th uninterrupted year, Mudhoney were spawned from the same Seattle scene that gave us Nirvana, Pearl Jam and co, and are credited as influences by these bands and many more, particularly for their early Sub Pop recordings. With no new records released since 2013, this is likely to be a strictly nostalgic affair. But that might be no band thing – they are a band who did not stand still, so much as get stuck in the mud.
• Primavera Ã la Ciutat, June 5, 11pm (9pm in Spain)
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Source: art & life