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Primavera Sound 2017: Sharing the Love at Barcelona

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire has once again taken centre stage at Primavera Sound, a festival where they should feel right at home, considering they’ve played here on previous occasions: in 2005, when they presented Funeral; in 2014, just after completing Reflektor; and this year, where they played twice – one scheduled concert and another surprise performance, much to the delight of the audience.

Arcade Fire 04 Unexpected_Eric Pamies

Wake Up was the starting gun for this extended session, followed by Everything Now, the single from their new album of the same name, which they have co-produced with Steve Mackey (Pulp) and Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk), and which will be on sale on 28th July. They also played Creature Comfort, another of the songs from their new album.

Arcade Fire 06 Unexpected_Eric Pamies

The group from Montreal had already played on Thursday, when – with no prior warning – they appeared on a small stage at the festival, which hadn’t really been noticed until then. On this occasion, only a handful of lucky festival-goers heard about the performance, nothing like the mega-concert of this evening.

Arcade Fire 02 Unexpected_Eric Pamies

This incredible band has already assured us that Barcelona is one of their favourite cities and for this reason has chosen it to start their new European and US tour.

The xx

The first thing they said was Say Something Loving, a true declaration of intent. London band, The xx arrived in Barcelona eager to give us a good time. They said that Primavera Sound is one of their favourite festivals in the world and insisted on thanking each and every person there. Mission accomplished! They then rolled out gems like Crystalised —the second theme of the night, with Jamie xx setting the beat on the drums, which, of course, helps.

The XX 02 Heineken Primavera Sound 2017_Eric Pamies

Their songs have always been known to unleash the maximum amount of emotion with the minimum amount of instruments: a pluck on the guitar, a bass line, the voices of Romy Madly and Oliver Sim, a drum machine, a sampler… and silence! They revolutionised the scene with the release of their first album in 2009 (xx), extending the moment with Coexist, in 2012, and now, after five years of silence, they have consolidated their status with an album that hasn’t disappointed: I See You.

The XX 04 Heineken Primavera Sound 2017_Eric Pamies

The songs from their three albums were played one after the other to the delight of their fans: Infinity, VCR… But one of the most incredible moments of the night was when Romy did a solo of Performance, just voice and guitar. Moments before, she confessed to being a bit apprehensive, but despite this she showed incredible strength on stage.

The XX 05 Heineken Primavera Sound 2017_Eric Pamies

The last part of the concert, with the audience completely rapt, was the most danceable: Dangerous, Shelter, Fiction… and the climax came with On Hold. Sparks were flying between The xx and the Primavera Sound audience, but the last two songs of the evening, Intro and Angels, were like a promise of eternal love.

Grace Jones

Post-modern diva, Andy Warhol muse, icon of haute couture, dazzling actress, innate provocateur, icon of disco music… Grace Jones has been so many things and has left such a mark doing all of them, that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Grace Jones 01 Heineken Primavera Sound 2017_Eric Pamies

Grace Jones was an eccentric creature when she appeared on the scene in the 1970s and she still is, four decades later, even now we’ve seen it all. A combination of feline beast and enchantress, still with a powerful voice, she made eyebrows rise among the seasoned Primavera audience with her dark and sensual music, with a faraway mysticism, over deep basslines of her Jamaican ancestors.

Grace Jones 03 Heineken Primavera Sound 2017_Eric Pamies

A stealthy opening to the night ensued with Nightclubbing by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. “Mucho viento” she observed in a Spanish she picked up when she used to frequent Ibiza discotheques. This Is, from her latest album, Hurricane (2008) and Private Life, her version of The Pretenders’ number, which she sang whilst prowling across the floor like a tigress. Simply unmissable.