PREVIEW: Primavera Sound 2015, Barcelona


Dates: 28-30 May 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Let’s face it, insofar as whetting the appetite and arguing the case for attendance is concerned, no preview should be necessary for Primavera. With the obvious exception of Glastonbury, Primavera sells itself on reputation alone more than any other festival in Europe. In 15 years of existence, the Barcelona-based weekender has gone from strength to strength and expanded rapidly without losing its charm; 2015’s edition is no exception to this.

As always there is truly something for everyone, independent of your choice of genre and whether you prefer to see young bands making their first steps into the public consciousness or well-established artists playing to thousands of fans. A comprehensive preview listing all the possible delights that await you would take longer to read than attending the festival itself. However, there are some things you just shouldn’t miss.

One of these said things is a stop-off on an extremely rare jaunt for The Replacements (Thursday, 21:10. Primavera Stage.) Their first European shows since reformation in 2012 come nearly 30 years after the release of the classic full-length Pleased To Meet Me, tracks such as ‘Alex Chilton’ and ‘I Can’t Hardly Wait’ still sound as vital and irresistible as they (presumably) did back then. Their gunpowder mix of punk-rock and straight up rock ‘n’ roll is perfect festival fare, and their reputation for being a band ‘always on the brink of self-destruction’ makes them an even more enticing prospect.

Similarly rare and equally recommended is a live working of Arthur Russell‘s Instrumentals (Thursday, 16:00. Audiotori.) Although this enigmatic artist sadly lost his life to AIDS over 20 years ago, his reputation has grown, with a recent compilation of covers from his eclectic back catalogue featuring a diverse range of artists such as Hot Chip, Scissor Sisters and Phosphorescent. Whilst no-one will be able to truly recapture the magic of his voice and the way it created an otherworldly synergy with his prized cello, Peter Gordon‘s interpretation of Arthur Russell’s early scores promises to be magical in its own right.

There are plenty of more modern treats, too. Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods (Saturday, 21:00. Adidas Originals) barely need the press, such has been the blanket positive coverage they have received over the past 12 months.  Anyone yet to be convinced should definitely bear witness to their visceral, bare-bones hip-hop before passing judgement. doesn’t even begin to cover the breadth and depth of the line-up. Perhaps giving a nod to the success of the inaugural

This doesn’t even begin to cover the breadth and depth of the line-up. Perhaps giving a nod to the success of the inaugural Reverence Festival also situated on the Iberian Peninsula, this year’s line-up gives a significant weighting to shoegaze, drone, psychedelic and metal. The last two years have featured two of the ‘Big Four’ of shoegaze (My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive) but 2015 gives more coverage across the entirety of the festival’s billing to this loosely banded group of genres alongside the headline booking of the recently reformed Oxford heavyweights Ride (Friday, 23:45. Primavera Stage).

Chief among these are the English duo of Younghusband (Saturday, 17:45. ATP Stage) and Hookworms (Saturday, 02:50. Adidas Originals), Californian quartet Health (Saturday, 01:50. Pitchfork Stage) and, arguably the pick of the local offerings, Barcelona’s The Suicide Of Western Culture (Saturday, 03:15. Adidas Originals.) Their inclusion on the line-up amongst numerous compatriots is a signifier of the festival’s continued support of local music. Adopting a lo-fi aesthetic at odds with many of those operating in similar musical spheres, they take a cut ‘n’ paste approach to building slowly evolving soundscapes; one that evokes British pioneers Seefeel and more recently artists, such as Nathan Fake and M83.

On the heavier side of the coin are the triumvirate of Earth (Friday, 01:15. Adidas Originals), Earthless (Saturday, 00:15. Adidas Originals) and Sunn O))) (Thursday, 01:00. ATP Stage), whose jet-black doom-metal stylings stand in dramatic contrast to the festival’s surroundings.  They join Swans (Saturday, 19:25. Audiotori), who have become Primavera favourites, and favourites of many other events since their recent reformation. Their last album, 2014’s To Be Kind, may not have hit the heights of its predecessors, but Swans are never less than a staggering live act; besides which, Michael Gira’s band of merry men have a curious tendency to write a set comprised mostly of as-yet-unreleased material.

Also catered for are fans of the various strands of ’emo’, with American Football (Saturday, 19:35. Pitchfork Stage) and Mineral (Thursday, 22:05. Pitchfork Stage) delivering the twinkling intricate guitar lines and questionable song titles of the genre’s earliest form in mid-nineties America, whilst Brand New represent the more modern, more mainstream-friendly form, as do The Hotelier (Friday, 21:50. Adidas Originals), whose second LP Home Like No Place Is There was one of last year’s highlights.  They will also make a second appearance on the Saturday in the stunning Parc De La Ciutadella. Primavera organise free events (for ticket holders and non-ticket holders alike) on both Saturday and Sunday, and it is a perfect precursor and book-end to the weekend’s activities at the Parc Del Forum. Situated within walking distance of some of the city’s best bars, this sprawling park also contains statues and water fountains, a zoo and many unlicensed beer vendors should you need a break from the music.

This still doesn’t really do more than breach the surface of what makes Primavera one of the best festivals in the world, but should give enough of an indication as to why it is.

Buy Primavera Sound 2015 tickets here.

Read our European Festival Guide here.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.