I’m a sponsors dream. In late May it’s time to don the Ray-Bans, pull out my comfiest Adidas, try to develop a taste for Heineken and head to Barcelona to spend three exhausting days running from one end of Parc del Forum to the other in a futile attempt to cross off every band on a massive list. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare really but the reality is a magical weekend of fun, sun (usually – it was bloody freezing in 2013) and wonderful music. Old favourites, new discoveries and plenty opportunities for dancing if your legs will still carry you.
This year Primavera Sound celebrate their 15th edition and have just revealed their full line-up. Every year the anticipation is huge and I always feel slightly underwhelmed when the news appears. It’s like I expect the entire line-up to just be a list of all my favourite bands, my own fantasy festival. However, once I’ve settled down the excitement starts to build. There are always plenty of bands I already love and then there’s the best bit, discovering some of the other bands that I’m not so familiar with. What PS do excel at is quality across different genres. Some old, some new, big surprises and plenty of completely left-field additions.
Overblown has cast an eye over the 15th edition and here’s our initial list of who to check out.
10. American Football
PS is good at nostalgia. Recently there’s been Television, Pavement, Slowdive, Suicide, the Pop Group, Buzzcocks to name a few. This year is no different (Patti Smith playing Horses also on the bill). Despite barely existing this band’s only album became hugely popular and they’ll bring their sensitive math-rock back after the album’s re-issue in 2014. Expect tears and a lot of shouting from the crowd for them to play ‘Never Meant’.
9. The Julie Ruin
A very welcome return to the bill after unfortunately having to cancel last years appearance due to Kathleen Hanna’s poor health. They finally make it to Europe to play their debut album Run Fast. Expect a unique mix of dancing, rocking and plenty worship for one of punk’s most legendary performers.
8. Fucked Up
A blistering hardcore blast during their last appearance at PS, Damian Abraham and his fellow Canadian punks are essential viewing. Check out the video below. Yes, that is a string quartet, and yes they did write a dystopian hardcore rock opera. I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but “Queen of Hearts” is the most beautiful love song ever written. Ever. Expect a lot of fun dressed up as mayhem.
7. The Replacements
It’s 30 years since fans wondered if the band would be sober enough to make it through their set. These teenage hardcore sluggers turned alternative rock pioneers may not be “Bastards of Young” anymore, but expect many devotees losing it down the front for a listener friendly rock blast.
6. Run the Jewels
There’s always been plenty room for hip hop at PS including a headline slot for Kendrick Lamar last year. El-P and Killer Mike will supply the beats and the high-paced rapping. Expect the crowd to provide the bad dancing.
Brooklyn shoegaze five piece DIIV released one of the records of 2012 in their debut album Oshin. In the meantime singer Zachary Cole Smith has started dating Sky Ferreira, been arrested for heroin possession, and promised a second record that is, “about the current state of guitar bands. I feel like there really aren’t people in indie rock right now, there’s just all these faceless bands that live in clichés. They’re going through the motions.” Expect some new material at the show. Could be incendiary. (words by Jamie Coughlan)
4. Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods’ rather curmudgeon like vocalist Jason Williamson says, “Alex Turner has been cornered by money”, “Paul Weller is too drunk on his former glories to realise that he looks daft”, and claimed UKIP, “has been the last straw in our tolerance of anything to do with English identity and its supposed values.” Their post-punk rants are no less up front. Essential. (words by Jamie Coughlan)
3. Chet Faker
The Australian soultronica (did I just make up that term?) musician made a big splash last year with his debut album Built on Glass. Following in the footsteps of James Blake’s down-tempo R&B, Faker is an intriguing prospect. Live, he is half dj, and half soul legend. Definitely on the must see list. (words by Jamie Coughlan)
2. Sun Kil Moon
Ignore his silly, childish spat with War on Drugs, Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelek) is a true folk troubadour. His music is simple, straightforward and earnest, while his lyrics are what is truly remarkable about his work. Direct, and unadorned by embellishment, they are touchingly, and disturbingly, frank. Example, “Carissa burned to death last night in a freak accident fire, in her yard in Bruster her daughter came home from a party and found her.” Effective. (words by Jamie Coughlan)
Feels perfect on this bill. The legendary riot grrrl trio’s return album has been smothered in glowing reviews, none more so than our own. In February they’ll be back on the road for the first time in nearly a decade and, going by their recent TV appearances, it’s going to be well worth the wait. Expect passion, knees trembling at ‘That’ voice and a crowd that will sing every word back at them.
We could go on. And on and on. James Blake, Ride, Cheatahs, Mac DeMarco, Foxygen, Babes in Toyland, Ex Hex, Hookworms (Oh Yes!), Jose Gonzalez, Swans, Ariel Pink, Iceage, Interpol, Death From Above 1979, Shellac, Thee Oh Sees, Viet Cong. It gets exhausting and we’ve not even touched on the electro / dance side of the festival.
Final and most certain thing to expect? Me, a crying wreck when they announce the stage times and I realise all these bands are on at exactly the same time. Damn festivals.
So, we’ll see you down the front in May?
Primavera Sound 2015 takes place from 28-30 May. Buy tickets here.