Festival Recap: Day 1 of Primavera Sound 2016
While each day’s slated program of Primavera Sound 2016 was filled with great bands from all over the world, Thursday, the first day of the festival at Parc del Forum, was for me, the busiest of them all. Thursday had me bouncing around from stage to stage, and hustling to make the most of my time while keeping the headliners in the back of my mind. Read on after the jump to hear what were the best parts of day one and see some pictures.
I got to Parc del Forum early so that I could check out the new addition to the festival this year called “Beach Club,” which was yet another stage added on to the already sprawling setting. Here, you could double down on the paradise setting on the Mediterranean Sea and actually go to the beach while you’re at an incredible music festival, and further convince yourself that you aren’t in real life, but actually a dream. The stage over at the Beach Club had essentially all DJ sets, and while it’s always fun to party on the beach, I was there to see some great bands, and so I didn’t linger much in this new setting, but it was a cool addition nonetheless.
First highlight of the day was White Reaper’s set on the Ray Ban Unplugged Stage, which
was an excellent way to really kick off the festival. The band, while performing on perhaps the smallest stage of the venue at a very early time, ripped through their set with a ridiculous amount of energy. The three piece, barely visible on the small stage, were loud and feisty, simply having a good time and the crowd clung on to this energy.
This took me into the evening, where I caught Cass McCombs, Julien Baker, and a bit of Car Seat Headrest in quick succession. Cass McCombs’ set was bluesy and chilled out, and he worked his way through some new tunes. Julien Baker, just a woman and her guitar, wowed me with her vocal delivery and power. Car Seat Headrest brought the hype, with tons of people crowding in front of the Pitchfork Stage to see them.
Destroyer won the early evening for me. Dan Bejar and company brought their magic to the Ray Ban Stage and really showed their experience as a band who have been around for some time. Bejar’s voice rang out through the cooling night air as the sun set and he and his band rolled through hits from Kaputt and most recent Poison Season. Donning no instrument other than his voice, Bejar sauntered around the stage and captivated the crowd with his particular style of subtle performance. It was an excellent set from the band, and it made me happy to have caught them admit so many other great bands.
Next up I caught a little bit of Suuns’ set, which was pretty good, but I had to catch Austin
band Explosions in the Sky on the main Heineken stage. This was the perfect setting for this instrumental group, and their big sound was a real treat as nightfall fully fell. It was exciting to see a band from your city make their graceful appearance on a main stage of a huge international city, and the band rocked it hard, throwing their whole bodies into the songs with large builds.
The rest of the night had me bouncing back from big stage to big stage. I caught most of Tame Impala’s set at the H&M stage, and while I wouldn’t consider myself a super fan of the group, they
certainly stepped up their game from the late afternoon set at ACL to this headlining spot. Their opening song ended with bursts of confetti into the crowd, who were singing along to all the words, and also the instrumentals. This amped everyone up and the band kept playing hit after hit, but alas, LCD Soundsystem were up next on the Heineken Stage, and so I left a bit early to stake out a spot near the front. I was a little glad I did, because while waiting, Tame Impala’s set went a little awry as some technical difficulties cut their sound mid song. The band handled it gracefully, but still it was an unfortunate break in their otherwise high-energy set.
But the highlight of the day, as much as it sort of pains me to say this, was LCD Soundsystem. The band played for two hours to end night one of the main festival and were far from disappointing. They blasted through hit after hit, and the European crowd’s infectious energy and nonstop party dancing made the night special, as phones were put
away and everyone got to shaking it. James Murphy was stoic, yet loose, his snarky lyrics coming alive in his public personae, and the rest of the band put up with his shenanigans with grace as he wandered around the stage and played with their instruments. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this set from the band, and glad to have made it close to the stage so that I could be immersed in the intensity of their set. Go see them at ACL and get close.