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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Primavera Sound 2019 in brief, day 1

We are quickly approaching the final stretch of Primavera Sound Festival (PS) 2019! So, while we try to recharge some batteries before the long Saturday (we never learn, don't mix work and Festival, folks), we are to ready to begin with the first post of our traditional quick chronicles of what are we experiencing there. What follows is our take of Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th. Let's go!
Long-haired and hyper-addictive indiepop from the North.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Good
Melenas: In a year where indiepop has been clearly neglected, to begin the Festival with such a wonderful band became kind of a statement... aside from 45 minutes of fun. The band from Pamplona has everything: guitars, melodies, knockout choruses, and that ease at stage that can be disguised no matter how many hats, jewelry or poses you can't ... if you haven't got tunes. Instant love.

Malkmus and Co., sparkling hard. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Mr. Malkmus: Didn't have very good memories of our previous experience with Stephen Malkmus (a Primavera Club show, quite a looong ago). But at Primavera stage on Thursday we were able to remove that thorn in our side. Defending their fantastic latest album 'Sparkle Hard' (love 'Solid Silk' and 'Middle America'), Mr Malkmus (celebrating his birthday) and the Jicks were rockier, groovier and goofy all the way. A pleasant, enjoyable gig from start to finish. Monkey off our backs...

The Bad
New normalities: It's the DEBATE, in capital letters, around PS: has the Festival sold its soul? Or it's just embracing the sign of the times in music? If you somewhat follow this Blog you should easily guess we clearly incline ourselves for the first question. We could discuss it for hours, but to summarise it: PS is now following the trend of "catch-all" festivals, meaning mainstream music has to be a very meaningful part of it. The difference is PS still tries to hide that turn in the discourse, pretty elaborated, of the "New Normal". But when you just get into the Parc of Fòrum and realise the record fair and flatstock (posters fair) have been replaced by a Pull & Bear store (and Idealista and Ikea are also Festival brands, note the irony when housing it's by far the biggest, poignant and shameful, problem of the city) is easy to see for yourself what the new reality is...
Welcome to the "new & normal" Primavera Sound mall. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Queen
The female assault: Not everything in the "PS move" is negative or dubious. As a matter of fact, there's one conscious decision, no matter if it has arrived a bit too late, that has to be praised. Of the eight first acts watched in the two days of PS, six were completely female or female fronted/leaded, a trend that has followed (you'll see) during the whole event. In that initial batch of gigs Julien Baker and Soccer Mommy gave solid, almost flawless performances... but we have to highlight Bridget St John and Courtney Barnett shows. The veteran folksinger achieved moments of pure magic (that rendition of Dylan's classic "Just Like a Woman", these meaningful lyrics still so valid today), while our beloved young Australian took the clothing stage by a storm with a heavyweight performance, offering so much electricity and grit that was capable to overcame the chatters and posers (a.k.a the usual suspects) gathered in Mordor.

Sometimes Courtney charms you and kills it, and sometimes she just kills it.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Stay tuned, the second chronicle of the PS19, covering Friday 31st, is just around the corner!

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