By Mónica Franco
Beforehand, it seems crazy and unnecessary to plan a closing day for San Miguel Primavera Sound. It’s hard to believe the audience won’t have had enough – of concerts, long walks, dancing and queues - after three days. The battle with physical exhaustion is also at the fore: after three intense days, the soul may be asking for more music, but the body (which is the one in charge) is saying “enough”. But – were it not for the final few gigs at the Poble Espanyol – your crucial “end of festival” memory, would be an image of the Fórum on Sunday morning. Imagine: a sea of asphalt covered in plastic cups, paper and cigarette butts. Wading through - a small group of dirty humans, in search of transport. A trustworthy route home - as soon as possible and at the lowest possible price. I’ve seen more bucolic scenes in zombie filmss.
The brave ones - who have gone to the Plaza Mayor at the Poble Espanyol - will have a different end of festival image. A mauve stage, full of small candles and smoke, on which Mercury Rev were playing their “Deserter’s Song”. The audience looked on smiling - applauding with fists-in-the-air enthusiasm at the epic moments – at the American band’s space-rock. Clearly: a preferable image to the Fòrum zombie squad. That’s the picture that will remain in our hard drive - labelled “the end of Primavera” - which our memory will recall when the initial line-up for next year is revealed. With a little luck, we will also remember some moments from the concert - the intro of “Holes” perhaps, when the empty stage was populated only with instruments and candles. Or maybe Jonathan Donahue: with his body language and expressiveness, taken from a manual penned by Bowie. The Buffalo band played their landmark album bombastically – losing the fantasy of the recorded version, in favour of solemnity. It was only spoiled by some feedback and the sound being too high-pitched at times.
Prior to the concert –the anonymous heroes visiting the Montjuïc as audience members, had had to struggle. With themselves and their physical condition, alongside the temporary obstacles the city put up: turning the trip up the magical mountain into a tedious video-game like journey. The “bad guys”: over excited Shakira fans and the sons of Barça, on their way to celebrate the victory in the Champions League. Luckily, the temperature was as high as last Wednesday, making both the arrival and the retreat much more bearable. Of course, the vast majority of the audience didn’t exactly get up early. When My Teenage Stride left the stage, the venue was still half empty – its few inhabitants sitting or lying down, forming small groups. Our festival conversations helped us to not fall asleep - to stay awake until ten pm.
In that respect: the music of BMX Bandits didn’t help much. The friendly Douglas T. Stewart emerged on stage with his band, explaining that one of his group (whom he loved very much) couldn’t be there as she was giving birth. So we supposed it wasn’t a particularly typical concert for the Scots, who played original songs, alongside covers. The sixties pop - and Stewart’s storytelling - was little more than the soundtrack to the audiences arrival; who against all odds, filled up the venue by 9.30 pm. Figuratively speaking, they came to put the festival to rest: in actual fact they killed it..
PlayGround is a media partner of San Miguel Primavera Sound
The final part of a sold-out Primavera Sound - the last night at the Poble Espanyol in Barcelona – featured the BMX Bandits, Mercury Rev and an eager search for a beautiful closing memory. This is how we lived it - see you next year.
Photo by Dani Cantó.
Review Wednesday: Good vibrations at the Poble Espanyol (and an omen)
Review Thursday: An extensive overview of a fistful of memorable concerts
Review Friday: The day Pulp returned and other supernatural facts
Review Saturday: PJ Harvey’s control and football happiness
My Teenage Stride