On Wednesday May 28 2014, a cascade of torrential rain and thunder fell down on the Parc Del Forum site in Barcelona, drenching hundreds of music fanatics surrounding the ATP stage. In a panic, everyone flocked to shelter around the falafel and burrito stands, the only area of the site with a smidge of covering. These fans had been anticipating a prolonged weekend of glorious sunshine, copious beer and first-rate music, and it didn’t look like Primavera Sound 2014 was off to a good start.
But this wasn’t the case. Although the weather did cause us British attendees to consider that we might actually be at Glasto rather than at the acclaimed Spanish festival, with the endless flow of rain also came the endless flow of eclectic, brilliant musicians, showcasing 350 performances spread across 12 stages (plus a few smaller ones), alongside 190,000 invigorated fans (none of whom had been deterred from soaking in music from 5pm through to 6am for the days that followed). Here’s what we thought:
Wednesday 28th May
Temples – 2.5/5
The festival began with a very unfortunately timed Temples, who, before their fans were rapidly dispersed by the pouring rain, had gathered a pretty large crowd. With lead singer James Bagshaw’s face glamorously splattered in glitter, the spacey indie group managed to squeeze out their echoey single ‘Mesmerise’ before their set was devastatingly cut short. It was a massive shame, so hopefully the psychedelic band will grace a much less soggy Primavera 2015 with a full performance.
[divider]Source: Primavera/ Dani Canto
Stromae – 4/5
The rain stopped just in time for Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae, real name Paul Van Haver, to storm (or strom) onto the ATP stage for what would be straight-up theatre. The dynamic Stromae writhed and flopped around on stage like an animated ragdoll as his uniform band, dressed in matching bow ties and cardigans, danced in unison and sounded the brass like soldiers preparing for battle. Most famous for his 2010 chart-topper ‘Alors on Danse’, translating basically to “So we just dance”, it would be easy to second-guess the Belgian musician as another vacuous Euro-popper with little meaning behind his lyrics except for…well, the need to dance. Although this song was definitely a highlight, being effortlessly remixed with Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’ and Snap!’s ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’, Stromae proved himself able to tackle deeply expressive lyrics and a huge range of musical styles. ‘Papaoutai’, a samba modernised through the use of synthesisers, which seems to touch on the death of the singer’s father, and ‘Formidable’, a piano-heavy love lament of a self-deprecating man pining over a ‘wonderful’ woman are just two examples. The performance reached an emotional peak when Stromae lay physically exhausted on the stage following this lament, resulting in his bandmates having to pick the singer up and pop him back on his feet. A theatrical performance.