Best Festival Ever??? Sufjan Stevens, Of Montreal, Caribou, Das Racist, Suicide and Flaming Lips Kick-Off Primavera Sound Parc Del Forum

Primavera Sound isn’t just the most famous festival in Spain.  Since starting 10 years ago, the Barcelona music fiesta has become one of the top taste-maker fests in the world.  With today’s most buzzed bands playing back-to-back with cult heroes from yesteryear (i.e. Suicide, P.i.L., Nick Cave, Glenn Branca, Pere Ubu, Half Japanese and John Cale), this year’s line-up in particular is a dream come true for enthusiasts of underground music and avante-rock.  Primavera Sound is based on the model of All Tomorrow’s Parties, and like that series of concerts, features special “Don’t Look Back” performances where classic albums are played live in their entirety.  Unlike ATP however, Primavera has sponsorship (this year’s include Jägermeister, Ray-Ban, Pitchfork and ATP itself).  It has three locations in 2011 with Parc Del Forum being the main one – running from May 26th to May 28th. 

Sufjan Stevens, Of Montreal, Caribou, Das Racist, Suicide and headliners The Flaming Lips kicked off day one of Primavera Sound Parc Del Forum on May 26th.  Check out pictures from day one at Pitchfork’s facebook and highlights the schedule here:

Cults ATP stage
Of Montreal San Miguel Stage
Sufjan Stevens Rockdelux (Auditori) Stage
The Fresh & Onlys Pitchfork Stage
Ducktails Jägermeister Vice Stage
P.I.L. (Public Image Limited) Llevant stage
Big Boi Ray-Ban stage
Glasser Pitchfork Stage
Blank Dogs Ray-Ban Unplugged
Grinderman San Miguel Stage
The Walkmen Pitchfork Stage
Smoke Fairies Jägermeister Vice Stage
Glenn Branca Ensemble ATP stage
Das Racist Pitchfork Stage
Interpol Llevant stage
Suicide performing first LP Ray-Ban stage
Caribou ATP stage
Ty Segall Jägermeister Vice Stage
Suuns Ray-Ban stage
Girl Talk Llevant stage
The Flaming Lips San Miguel Stage

Impressed? It gets better…

Today’s schedule includes Sufjan Stevens, Avi Buffalo, The Fiery Furnaces, M. Ward, The National, Half Japanese, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Arto Lindsay, Belle & Sebastian, No Joy, Battles, LowTwin Shadow, Deerhunter, Explosions In the Sky, Shellac, Pulp and Pere Ubu playing The Annotated Modern Dance

And tomorrow’s leans even more towards artists breaking-out, though with a strong dose of veterans as well: James Blake, Mogwai, Swans, Odd Future, Animal Collective, DJ Shadow, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Tallest Man On Earth, John Cale & Band + BCN216 perform PARIS 1919, Yuck, Cloud Nothings, Warpaint, Phosphorescent, tUnE-yArDs, Fleet Foxes, Gang Gang Dance, Kurt Vile & The Violators, PJ Harvey, plus Dean Wareham playing both a set of Galaxie 500 and with his current group, Dean & Britta.  As if that wasn’t enough, Mercury Rev is closing their tour of Deserter’s Songs!

During the main-attraction Flaming Lips’ slot closing the (long) first day (and night – their set was scheduled for 2:15 AM), Wayne Coyne enthused, “This is one of our best festival days ever, just to be in the crowd. We’ve seen some amazing bands, John Lydon and his Public Image Ltd, Nick Cave and Grinderman, fucking Suicide. I hope this festival goes on for another 1,000 fucking years.”  They also dedicated a song (possibly Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung) to Suicide…  

So was it really one of the best festival ever?

Coyne says stuff like that all the time, for example at ATP NY 2009, Wayne began to say, “This has to be the greatest collection of underground music that’s ever been assembled…we’ve done a lot of cool things…”, when bandmate Steven Drozd interjected, “…but this is the coolest by far”.  In fact, that magical festival weekend – with the final day curated by the Lips- featured some of the same performers as Primavera 2011 (Sufjan Stevens, Suicide, Caribou, Deerhunter).  But that’s the nature of festivals, isn’t it?  It’s like – nobody gets their papa a mug for father’s day that says “#1063 Dad“.  Common reasoning suggests every pop can’t be the top – but that doesn’t negate what a parent can mean to their child…

Anyday at a festival with everybody from P.i.L. and Suicide to Caribou and The Flaming Lips can be the best ever if you’re there, experiencing it…

So, did the audience share The Flaming Lips’ enthusiasm?

Contrary to photographic suggestions tweeted by the band (above), claims, no they didn’t: “la cua per comprar bitllets per al bus llançadora per abandonar el recinte… era llarga” (translation: “the queue to buy tickets for the shuttle bus to leave the premises was long”) and that “el principal problema va ser el ritme. Coyne va dilatar l’espai entre cançó i cançó amb forçades interaccions amb el públic que omplia l’escenari San Miguel, a qui interpel·lava amb fórmules suades i a qui animava a animar-se, cosa que hauria hagut d’aconseguir amb les cançons…Després de 45 minuts de concert, The Flaming Lips només havien tocat quatre cançons” (in short: the pacing was a problem – forced interactions and Wayne talking too much bogged down the set and it took them 45 minutes to play the first four songs).

Spinner on the other hand reports a well-received, late-night set: “Returning to headline Primavera Sound 2011 five years after they last topped the bill in 2006, the Lips greeted an enormous main stage crowd at 2:30AM in full-on carnival mode… there’s no other band capable of whipping up the sort of giddy joy, innocent wonder and melancholic reflection that reduced at least one grown, Joy Division t-shirted man in Spinner’s vicinity to a flood of tears.”

How about Sasquatch! this weekend (it’s streaming online, info here).  It’s headliners include Modest Mouse, Wilco and The Flaming Lips performing The Soft Bulletin.

Now that sounds like the best festival ever…

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