Global warming is something of a misnomer. If you live in England, summer this year seems to be more about flooding, hailstones, thunderclaps and washed-out picnics. The Glastonbury quagmire somehow passed by without anyone drowning in mud.
Festie fans could get downhearted about the vagaries of the firmament that glowers and spits day after day. Or they could hop on a plane and head to Spain, where the rain is less of a pain. With temperatures forecast at a constant 28 degress, Summercase is the place to be.
This two-centre festival, with legs in Madrid and Barcelona, sits alongside Spain’s other big music festivals Benicassim and Primavera as something of a little brother. City-based, it does away with the need for camping, allowing the stylishly well-heeled inhabitants of Spain’s capital and second city to watch bands without resorting to farm wear.
Lasting just two nights, the festival swaps bills between its two centres – rather like Reading and Leeds back in windswept Blighty, but with sunshine. With headline acts taking to stages after 3am, there’s no fear of sunstroke while taking in a bill skewed towards established British and American indie pop and indietronic acts.
Barcelona on Friday (Madrid on Saturday) opens at 6:30pm with acoustic troubador Fionn Regan demonstrating his talent for wistful balladry. Other stages commence slightly later and offer up heavyweights like Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips and PJ Harvey. Polly Jean’s recent gig at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall suggests she’s ready to try out material from her new album White Chalk.
The poppier end of the market is catered for too, with Lily Allen and Scissor Sisters sharing stages with Editors and James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem.
Barcelona’s Saturday line-up (and Madrid’s on Friday) runs the gamut between long-established acts and newer outfits. The Jesus And Mary Chain, rumoured to be heading into a studio to reunite around a new album, arrive from Jarvis Cocker‘s Meltdown in London – and Jarvis himself plays just before them on another stage. Collaborative possibilities abound – Beth Ditto’s The Gossip follow the spindly former Pulpmeister.
For those inclined to something more electro, take your pick from !!!‘s funny-faced funk or the intriguing return of Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark (OMD), pictured. For those in need of sedatives, Air fly the flag for France between the distinctly more upbeat DJ Shadow and The Chemical Brothers.
If that’s all too many synthesisers for one evening, you can Sit Down with reformed James, riot in a beermonster manner with Kaiser Chiefs or wonder which decade The Twang are in.
As festival bills go, this is not about being groundbreaking or to brag about seeing bands before anyone else – there are plenty of opportunities for such indulgences elsewhere. Rather it’s about showing off some of the best live acts currently touring in a site far less overwhelming in scale than Benicassim.
But if it’s overwhelming you want, Benicassim follows Summercase by just days down the Valencia coast. And with wind and rain blighting life in England, maybe it’s a prospect that’s just too tempting to dismiss…