As summer approaches, so do the music festivals. Most of these offer a couple of standout acts buried amongst chart nonsense and indie buzz-bands, topped off with some unremarkable reunion show by artists who really should know better. However, each year Primavera Sound delivers fantastic line ups that seem to be picked by actual discerning music fans (not counting last year’s Alt-J/Black Keys debacle…).
Primavera Sound 2016 offers what could be the festival’s strongest line-up yet, shot through with greatness in every form, and from every decade. So much so that it can be a bit intimidating to the uninitiated. In order to help you navigate the no-doubt crowded stages and pick some absolute gems, The Reprise has done the research and picked our top 10 most anticipated bands. Find below our top five, which we will add to each day until we head off to the Barcelona sun – but keep an eye on our twitter as we’ll be tweeting from the festival site all weekend long.
1. Thee Oh Sees
No-one delivers as reliably as John Dwyer, whose maniac guitar-slinging antics seem to convey so much energy that it flows into the bloodstream of the entire crowd, who steadfastly follow suit with equal parts crowdsurfing, stage diving and general immature behaviour. They have it tough this year, with their entire set clashing up against comeback-kings LCD Soundsystem. However, after last year’s breakneck career-spanning set, which caught the attention of one Mac DeMarco (who was seen crowdsurfing during the closing numbers), we know there is nowhere we would rather be than at the front of Thee Oh Sees audience, fighting for survival and having the time of our life doing it. Thursday 01.50
2. Floating Points
Sam Shepherd aka Manchester producer Floating Points is an intelligent man, trained in neuroscience and epigenetics, and this can be heard in his music. Eschewing the desire for ‘big’ moments, he knows how to manipulate rhythm over time, allowing instruments to delicately play off one another and build layer upon layer of sonic textures that feel tangible enough to touch. Performing on the amphitheatre-like Ray-Ban stage, he and his band (which can include up to sixteen members) promise to fill the air with their jazz and classical tinged electronica. Thursday 22.40
3. Ty Segall & The Muggers
It seems impossible to write anything about Ty Segall without prefacing it with the words ‘the prolific…’ but of the many, many iterations that this San Francisco garage-rock wunderkind (discovered by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer) has gone through, his ‘Emotional Mugger’ brand of crazy seems to be his most far-out yet. Currently taking to the stage as the overgrown baby ‘Sloppo’ (complete with terrifying mask) Ty has assembled a fine band of freaks to perform his Emotional Mugger album, including members of Wand, King Tuff and Segall’s long-term buddy Mikal Cronin. As for the music, it is best described as a combination of Devo-like theatrics, the raw energy of The Stooges and the most psychedelic fringes of progg that Robert Fripp ever explored. Saturday 01.50
4. John Carpenter
With this show, we are into the unknown, as the legendary director of your favourite cult films takes to the stage for his first large festival show (following a series of smaller shows around Europe starting this week). Bringing with him a five piece band that includes his son Cody Carpenter and god-son Daniel Davies (son of the Kinks’ Dave Davies) and what is tipped to be a ‘spectacular stage set up’, Carpenter will perform hits from his classic films such as Halloween and Escape from New York along with tracks from his recent Lost Themes albums. Whilst his two latest albums have been a case of diminishing returns, the thought of seeing this genuine icon blast out Snake Plissken and Michael Myers’ themes as the clock strikes midnight is one of those opportunities that just cannot be missed. Thursday 23.50
5. The Avalanches
Get a drink, have a good time now, welcome to paradise… Back when the poster for Primavera was first released, there was an anomalous inclusion on the Friday line-up, nestled between Beirut and Animal Collective was a band called Society Fun Lie. When search engines came up blank the internet did its thing and quickly deduced that this was an anagram for ‘Since I Left You’ – the one and only album from seemingly defunct Australian sample-kings The Avalanches. However, this was quickly removed and everyone just figured this was a strange hoax (to be fair, I have seen weirder things on the internet), then just over a month ago, the organisers announced that The Avalanches were indeed playing. Not much information has been released since then (is it just going to be a couple of guys on laptops? Are they playing new material?) but hell, we are very excited to find out! Friday 02.50
6. Car Seat Headrest
A late entry to this list, but one that just goes to show the foresight that the Primavera bookers have. Will Toledo (the man behind the admittedly ridiculous moniker) has been releasing bedroom recordings to his bandcamp page for several years now, putting Ty Segall to shame with a frankly worrying eleven full length releases in the last five years, but he released his first album for a label in just under two weeks before the festival is due to begin. Teens of Denial is an astonishingly assured collection of songs, all of which deal with early twenty-something anxieties (depression, drugs, girls) like the best guitar-driven indie – full of nervous hooks and rousing choruses that will no doubt be a spectacular way to start the proceedings at Parc Del Forum on Thursday. Thursday 19.00