Festival Recap: Day 2 of Primavera Sound 2016
First highlight of the day came unexpectedly from White Fence, a west coast
band fronted by Tim Presley, that packed a punch early on the Primavera Stage. I was impressed by the way this jangly rock band made the very most of their set, giving their all to an ever growing crowd as waves of crowds arrived to Parc del Forum. I hadn’t done my homework on this band, but as their set continued, I found myself jamming along with their every move and made a note to look them up later. White Fence has a brand new fan, and you should check them out as well.
Next up was something different entirely with that of Zach Condon’s Beirut. The folksy outfitdelighted the crowd as the sun set with their eclectic tunes. The band sounded excellent, newly joined by backing members of The National in Ben Lanz and Kyle Resnick, the sound was fully fleshed out, fully representingorchestral folk rock at its finest. Multiple horns were an excellent contrast to the dark set that came before this one, and the crowd danced along to the waltz beats and sang along to the old timey sound that has become synonymous with Beirut. They also played their newer songs, which were more electronically based, but not lacking any soul. It was a wonderful set from a wonderful band. Then it was on to waiting it out for the infamous Radiohead. As I made friends with some British folks who happened to be standing next to me, I realized that I may have been the least of the super fans in such a close proximity to the stage… and by close proximity, I mean I was probably 50 meters away from the base of the stage; even 40 minutes before the set started, there was hardly room to get any closer. The band took the stage to thunderous applause, as they launched into the lead single, “Burn The Witch”off their new albumA Moon Shaped Pool. During this song, Yorke’s vocals soared above the grumbling mix of indie rock and the crowd began to eat it up. The early part of their set comprised of all new songs, all of which were very quiet and tranquil. I had been nervous going into this set that the large festival setting would destroy these songs, as show talkers are a problem at any set. But the crowd was silent, and I mean, hear a pin drop silent, as everyone hung on Thom Yorke’s high pitched and beautiful vocals and craned their necks to try and see the band. The large screens did not display the faces of the band, but were left blank or had graphics on them. For a good part of the set, I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed; this was not the high energy festival display that I had been hoping for from the band. That being said, they did pick up the pace later on in the set, enhanced by the loud vocal contributionfrom the crowd as they sang along. Yorke flew around the stage, did his infamous wiggle, and brought it all home for a rendition of “Creep,” which pleased the crowd and me as well. It was a good set from a seasoned band, albeit a bit dialed in for my taste.
I ended the night with The Last Shadow Puppets and Beach House. The Last ShadowPuppets, the combination of Alex Turner from The Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane, were highly entertaining to watch. Turner paraded around the stage in skin tight bell bottoms, an ascot, greased back hair and a tan jacket. He flirted with Miles Kane for the large part of the set, laying down in front of him, making eyes at him from across the stage, etc. But these antics only enhanced the set as the band made their way through their catalogue of swirling and angled indie rock. The band had a three piece string section that put a lovely layer on the band’s post Radiohead set. And while I expected to be rolling my eyes through most of this set, I found myself chuckling with the band, but also highly impressed with the solid performance. Beach House were my last band on Friday, and I had high expectations, having seen the band multiple times before, and very recently at The Moody Theater. As I stood before the same stage that Radiohead had just played on, but far closer, I watched as closed to 50 crew members in hard hats were literally running to tear down the myriad of lights and screens that had made up Radiohead’s stage in order to put up three small boxes of white fabric and the seemingly minuscule amount of instruments. I began to worry as the clock passed the 2:00 am mark and the stage looked nowhere near ready for the band to start. 20 minutes later smoke flooded over the instruments and it was finally time. Victoria Legrand, cloaked in a black cape with sparkles on it, and company strode onto the stage and began their brief set. They did play a full 50 minute set, but it didn’t seem like nearly enough time. The band fled from full lighting, and brought their individual spirit to the largest stage of the festival. As for the set list, they stuck mostly to Bloom and their two most recent releases, but played their biggest songs, those with huge builds and giant, bombastic drums. They had me, and the rest of the crowd swaying to the wee hours of the morning. Beach House has fully sealed their place as a staple of the dream pop world, not only in recordings, but in their live presence as well.
Thanks again to Eric Pmies for photos.