Primavera Sound 2013, Barcelona - Post Festival Report

27 May, 2013

By Nixxie 


This is one of those festivals which, at age 33, I have heard so much about yet somehow not managed to make my way to. Until now that is. Since 2001, big names from yesteryear like The Cure, Pulp, Sonic Youth and the Pet Shop Boys have performed alongside the likes of newer headliner-calibre acts like Florence & The Machine, LCD Soundsystem and The White Stripes. The festival has always positioned itself as eclectic and focused mainly on indie, alternative, dance and, occasionally, hip hop.


Thus I was excited earlier this year when I was given an official press accreditation to cover the festival on behalf of Fluffy. This year has been a busy one for me in terms of festivals and gigs, what with Ultra Miami, Coachella and Plissken Athens already under my belt (and about 30 or so gigs too in 2013), yet the excitement of seeing something new was there for me from the second I arrived in Spain.


Barcelona as a city is beautiful, steeped in history, tradition and is well worth checking out if only for Gaudi's masterful creations. The weather, though normally clement this time of year, wasn't ideal (12-14C after sundown) and this was compounded by the festival venue's proximity to the sea (it's so close, you could go for a swim if you wanted. And if you were insanely immune to cold).


Parc del Forum is situated to the north east of the city centre and is very easy to get to . The 6 stages however are very spread out as I found out the hard way. You need to be in good shape if you want to make it to all the stages at some point each day.  


And so onto the performances. 


Here's what I was lucky enough to see:

Thursday: Dinosaur Jr, Jessie Ware, Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Death Grips, Phoenix and Four Tet

Friday: The Jesus & Mary Chain, James Blake, Blur, Goat and The Knife

Saturday: Crystal Castles, Hot Chip, DJ Koze, DJ Coco


Out of all of the above, a handful of performances really stood out. Here they are, in not particular (certainly not chronological) order.


  1. James Blake The first honorable mention goes to James Blake. I very much liked Willhem Scream ever since I first heard it and Limit To Your Love is certainly one of my favorite tracks from the past 5 years. But a lot of the other material that I've heard had left me somewhat underwhelmed, which is why I was very curious to see what he would be like in a live setting. I wasn't disappointed. At least not by his performance, which was top notch. The sound kept cutting out though for micro-seconds at a time, which was annoying. 


  2. Death Grips. I had seen Death Grips only a week before at Athens' Plissken Festival, where, it must be said, they didn't quite do it for me. On a bigger stage however and with a bigger crowd getting into them, they were a very different proposition. OK, so I'm not going to lie and say that I can easily sit back and enjoy an hour of the shouty, mumbly "rap" that spews from MC Ride's lips. But for half an hour, the power of the bassier sounds coupled with the whole "newness" of it all had me dancing (very strangely it must be said)

    Death Grips

  3. Crystal Castles. I've liked them ever since they dropped their brand of low-res electronica back in 2007. Sure, singer Alice Glass uses a TON of effects on her vocals. And yes, you sometimes feel like it gets slightly repetitive. But when they played Vanished, Not In Love and Plague I quickly remembered all the reasons I was there at 2:30am jumping up and down.
  4. Goat. The surprise of the festival for me. I had never even heard of them before a colleague grabbed me off the Blur stage and took me to the neighboring stage where they were about to start playing. And boy am I glad for that! What a performance! I was reeled in right from their opening track and all the way to their last. The music, the instrumentation, the outfits - it all worked perfectly (even if you could hear Damon Albarn in between every Goat song).
  5. Deerhunter. Well I was always going to be intrigued to hear Deerhunter because I've been closely following their trajectory ever since I feel in love with their track Nothing Ever Changes. Sadly, this is one track they never played at Primavera. Thankfully, the ones they did perform were nothing short of outstanding.


  6. The Knife. Another top performance by a collective that I only came across years ago when Heartbeats broke. Really gripping from beginning to end. And it wasn't all about 


All in all it was a very nice experience, though I really do wish they would hire someone to clean up the sea of plastic cups that littered the entire festival ground. The Ferris wheel was cool though, if not a little Coachella-y...


Prima Wheel


See you next year hopefully!




Primary Genre: Indie Rock, Garage Rock, Experimental


Secondary Genre: EDM


Date: 22-26 May 2013


Location: Barceloma, Spain


Size: Large


Organizer: Primavera


TOP PERFORMANCES: The Knife, James Blake




Other Highlights:  





Primavera Sound







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"Made Glorious Summer By This Son Of York"
Mini bio
Raised in England, educated by France, originally from Greece. 
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The Clash
Smashing Pumpkins
The Prodigy
Type O Negative