Nursing a sore head, our arrival on Saturday is delayed by a diversion to an actual bar and – shock horror – a little look round the waterfront of the Catalan capital. But we needn’t have worried because we turn up in time to see Dinosaur Jr hit the Estrella stage. Lou Barlow is certainly earning his money this summer, and the band seem very together, especially on Feel The Pain, which receives a rare outing tonight. Sadly we don’t witness a Mascis/Barlow punch up, though God knows we were praying for a fist fight on stage. Is that wrong?
The CD Drome Stage offers an array of beats-heavy thrills tonight and Clipse get the crowd dancing like extras in a Snoop Dogg video. 808 State meanwhile get the crowd dancing like they’re extras in a Shaun Rider acid trip freakout. Coming on stage announcing in a Liam Gallagher drawl: “We’re from a little village outside Manchester”, the old heroes of rave take us all on a journey into the sounds of the ’90s.
We begin to wonder where the hell everyone has gone until it becomes apparent that Shellac have drawn a massive audience down to the relatively small ATP stage. Offering up their usual Q&A session, along with tight, constricted math-rock thrills, they don’t fail to deliver. Unlike everyone else we don’t stay for Les Savy Fav – they are well known to bring immediate and long-lasting bad luck to people watching them – so we decide not to risk the integrity of our enjoyment.
Instead we catch Animal Collective – whose folky dolky ramblings are reasonable enough, but far from exciting. Then it’s the big ticket. Except it’s not. Simian Mobile Disco have developed a blindingly good live show, but due to their instruments somehow getting smashed up en route, sadly they can only DJ. This robs the festival of a euphoric, collective closing moment. But we pick ourselves up and get down to some crafty remixes and natty mixing, culminating in a bassy, brilliant version of Hustler – which, for a few moments at least, does bring us all together into a collective, messy, enjoyable whole.
And then the heavens open. This storm causes flash flooding across northern Spain tonight, and we’re caught in the eye of it. We take shelter under the CD Drome’s covered stage and finish off our Primavera experience with some disgustingly dirty techno courtesy of Tiefschwarz.
The verdict? An eclectic line up on a beautiful site in a fantastic city makes Primavera a peach of a festival. And as we stayed in a cheap apartment in Barcelona’s old town, we feel like we’ve had a little holiday too. Sod the carbon footprints – ditch British festivals next summer and come to Spanish ones instead. Hasta luego.