Highlights From The 2014 Primavera Sound Music Festival Day 2: The National, Pixies, And More
Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona continued yesterday with Haim, Speedy Ortiz, Slowdive, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Slint, Pixies, Deafheaven, The National, SBTRKT, special guests, and more.
Check out our highlights from the day, and tune in tomorrow to hear about our favorite parts of Day 3. You can also stream the sets live. Check here for the schedule!
Best Set of The Day: THE NATIONAL
Rain had fallen for most of the day in Barcelona. It was wet and brisk, but no one cared. People began to crowd around the Sony stage in anticipation for The National.
The screen lit up with footage of the band backstage, seconds before they walked on. Once onstage, they moved right into "Don't Swallow the Cap" off of their latest album Trouble Will Find Me.
The band immediately dipped into their 2007 album Boxer with "Mistaken for Strangers," after which frontman Matt Berninger tossed his glass of wine into the crowd.
Filled with raw emotion and constantly toeing the line between control and madness, Berninger would launch wine bottles into the air, break microphone stands, and beat microphones on his head in a drunken passion.
The band lived up to their billing and then some, delivering a flawless performance that brought out songs from their immense catalogue, including the track "Abel" from their 2005 album Alligator.
Then they launched into a bone-chilling rendition of "Slow Show" with the guitar being strummed with a violin bow (a la Jimmy Page) and a guest appearance from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon who would repeat the lines, "You know I dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you."
At one point Berninger introduced their trumpet and trombone players claiming, "Before they were with us we sounded like sh*t."
For their second guest appearance, The National invited members of The Walkmen on stage for "Mr. November" and "Terrible Love," which stood as defining moments of the show.
Berninger leapt into the crowd for each song and sang while walking through the masses. It was the most passionate live set I've ever seen.
Best Place to Pregame: OUTSIDE THE FESTIVAL
Walking into the Parc del Fórum on Friday evening, you are able to see a multitude of people participating in the Spanish botellón in the areas before security. They are all getting a couple last minute cheap drinks before they go in for the night's shows. There are random people selling beer by the can for cheap as well, BUT if you get close enough you get a "Qué quieres? ¿Cocaína, MDMA, heroína?" (Roughly translated: What do you want? Cocaine, MDMA, Heroin), so be careful when making transactions with these guys.
Most Relaxing Set: SLOWDIVE
They enter the stage as the sun is setting with a simple, "Hola" to the crowd. Slowdive, the early '90s English shoegaze band, recently reunited and are on their first tour since 1994. True to their nature of their genre, they stood relatively still, detached, and calm. The music was heavy with reverb and distortion, blending the undetectable vocals into the music as one cohesive sound.
The crowd responded to the set in two ways: those who were familiar this genre were swaying, relaxing and enjoying a slower-paced set; those who were unfamiliar stood in the background talking to their friends or checking their cell phones.
They music rang on through the sunset into the night while green and white lights flooded the crowd. At the end of the set, the band remarked, "So this has been pretty amazing for us, this is our last song of the evening." You could hear sighs from the crowd, as they wanted more from a band they hadn't heard live in 20 years.
Most Straightforward Set: PIXIES
One spotlight shone on the Heineken stage as Pixies came out and greeted the crowd together before donning their instruments and opening with "Bone Machine" off Surfer Rosa. Immediately the band proved that they were still in top form even though the departure of bassist Kim Deal surely dealt them a tough blow. The grungy alt-rock sound pushed on relentlessly with very little stopping between tracks. They end with the hit track "Where is My Mind" to round off a solid set.
Tip of the Day: GETTING HOME
Catching a cab is freaking IMPOSSIBLE, so I chatted with a cab driver on the way in, and he said go to La Ronda if you want to get one, there are less stoplights, and it's easier for the cabs to get in and out.
Best Drunk Food: KEBABS
The Turkish staple, Kebabs, is always the sure-fire winner for curing drunken hunger pangs. However, there is also a huge area of seating and restaurants with a variety of food. A Casa Portuguesa's Pork sandwich with spicy hot sauce is pretty bomb, if you like spicy food.