Primavera Sound: Day Three Report
If you subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics – and for the purpose of this exercise, let’s presume you do – then it stands to reason that there exists at least one parallel universe in which Michael Gira never decided to revive Swans five years ago. Well, either way, whatever – that theoretical universe is a sad and undernourished place.
Arriving at Parc Del Forum early, we’re shepherded into line and led into a cavernous, matt-black auditorium, where Gira and his gnarled cohorts proceed to deliver two hours of the most overwhelming, grotesque, symphonic noise we’ve ever heard. And in that instant they achieved the set of this – and probably any – festival.
The problem with opening your day with Swans is that the next 12 hours or so have a tendency to pass by in something of a haze. But nah – Primavera kept on delivering. Sleaford Mods raged, Interpol swooned, and The Strokes were triumphant. Julian Casablancas has clearly lost it, sporting a high-vis t-shirt and a mullet with red go-faster stripes, but while it’s easy to get caught up in the mate-hugging and the Last Night-ing, their immaculate guitar interplay and rousing choruses really did make for comfortably the best big-stage headline set of the festival. And also, remember how good The Strokes’ solos were? Remind yourself. There’s like, a solo in every song. It rules.
Underworld’s recreation of the two decade-old dubnobasswithmyheadman sounded almost unrealistically fresh, while Shellac – complete with that embittered old fuck Albini sneering from the lip of the stage – were a natural fit for Primavera. And what a beast Thee Oh Sees have become. This astoundingly kinetic high-billed set on the ATP stage confirmed them as the best garage rock band in the world bar none. Fact. Agreed? Cool.
Caribou’s live set has become a festival staple, but that doesn’t take the sheen off the endlessly engrossing 15-minute closing rendition of Sun. And it’s left to DJ Coco to deliver what we’re assured is an ongoing tradition, and presumably a self-awaredly mental one, which involves electro versions of indie classic and bare fireworks. When the sun came up we pleaded for another hour. Primavera finished too soon. But Jesus Christ, what a weekend.