This article was written by Cameron Poole (Vagabon, Hinds) and George King (Yonaka, Warpaint, Bjork)
The eighteenth Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona kicked off yesterday afternoon at the Parc Del Forum.
Here is our round-up of the day’s best acts.
Opening the Apple Music stage on the Thursday of Primavera Sound Festival 2018 would be a daunting task for any artist. But Laetita Tamko, better known as multi-intrumentalist Vagabon, took it all in her stride.
“Hey everyone, I’m Vagabon from New York City” the DIY artist proclaimed happily, after opening her set with the tranquil sound of new track ‘Full Moon’.
The set would go on to include an array of eclectic sounds, which all came together beautifully as Vagabon performed songs from her 2017 debut album Infinite worlds. These included tracks like ‘The Embers’, ‘Fear And Force’ and ‘Minneapolis’.
Overall, Vagabon’s enthralling multi-tempo set, which went from quiet and slow one minute, to loud and fast the next, was a fantastic start to the day’s proceedings.
Elsewhere, Yonaka were up first on the festival’s Adidas Stage and launched into a feral live performance with very little warning.
The Brighton four-piece – fronted by the ferocious Theresa Jarvis – tore through a relentless ten-song set that included both regular live staples and a new track that will likely appear on their forthcoming debut album.
The group’s biggest single ‘Bubblegum’ was unleashed as the opener, whilst the bass-drum thump of new song ‘Rockstar’ became an instant hit, thanks to it harsh echoing guitars and inescapable chorus.
”I’m gonna need your energy,” shouted Jarvis before launching into the pace-changing ‘Ignorance’, and that’s exactly what she got. Although hesitant at first, by the last chorus the reciprocating crowd had finally sang and danced away any ‘Day 1’ inhibitions and obliged.
The band’s closing number came in the form of their latest single ‘Fucking With The Boss’ – a brutal, Rage Against The Machine-esque rock-out – the end of which saw Jarvis playfully, yet defiantly flip her middle finger as a parting gift.
Untamed, raw, and unapologetic, Yonaka are stadium rockers in the making.
Hinds returned to their home country of Spain on Thursday evening to perform a light-hearted set which entertained the respectfully large crowd that had gathered at the Seat stage.
Known for making garage-pop tunes, the four friends are currently on a world tour of their new and second album I Don’t Run. And despite being jet-lagged as a result of being in LA less than 24 hours prior, Hinds still brought the fun to Primavera Festival.
The bass-driven and energetic opener, ‘The Club’, taken off of their new album, set the mood for the whole performance and showed any newcomers exactly what they’re all about.
Fan favourites from their debut album Leave Me Alone such as ‘Easy’, ‘Garden’ and ‘Bamboo’ were also performed throughout the fourty-minute gig.
Closing the set was ‘New For You’ – the lead single from their latest LP.
With the band’s fun songs, choreographed dance moves and charismatic personalities, Hinds certainly embodied the ethos of Primavera Sound Festival – and they showed that today.
The standout set of the day, however, came from LA-quartet, Warpaint, whose mix of dreamy psychedelia and indie rock made for the perfect soundtrack to a typically sunny day in the Spanish city.
A gloriously-indulgent instrumental kicked off the show, before reverb-laden guitars aided a seamless transition into the midnight-drive of ‘Keep It Healthy’.
The drowsy, psych-out riff of ‘Bees’ was met by a sea of slow-grooving audience members, whilst the track’s lyrical-refrain of ”all that time it took you to get yourself straight” was as recognisable as ever, with co-singer Theresa Wayman neglecting her guitar in order to really drive home the vocal and the message.
‘Billie Holiday’, which rarely gets an outing at a festival ”because it might send you to bed” according to vocalist/guitarist Emily Kokal, acted as a beautiful and serine change of pace. It’s welcome dose of minimalism broke-up the band’s otherwise glorious wall of sound and cleared the way for angelic, three-way harmonies that captivated and soared.
The band’s penultimate track ‘New Song’, taken from their latest album Head’s Up, saw the four-piece at perhaps their most commercial. A disco beat drove the track throughout and the repetitive chorus of ”you’re a new song baby” fully engaged the audience – lyrically at least – in a way that they hadn’t done up until this point.
Closing the SEAT stage in typically eccentric fashion was left-field veteran and day-one headliner Bjork.
The Icelandic singer-songwriter is currently embarking on a tour in support of her ninth studio album Utopia – a record from which her Primavera set heavily drew.
The innovative and avant-garde sounds of openers ‘Arisen My Senses’ and ‘The Gate’, were brought to life by a large ensemble of flute players and harpists.
In keeping with her forward-thinking mentality, Bjork chose to somewhat shun her past triumphs in favour of performing a further seven cuts from her latest LP.
Although this didn’t seem to deter any members of the audience, mid-way through the set fans were treated to a rare performance of ‘Human Behaviour’ from her debut album Debut – it was only the second time she had performed the song since 2007 and visibly lifted the crowd.
The singer’s unpredictable light show, stage set-up and symbolic, yet cryptic imagery, however, stole the show. Vibrant colours mesmerised, extravagant props made the stage look like a movie set and interpretive story-telling visuals entirely immersed the audience in what was as much a visual and audible piece of live art as it was a mere concert.
If nothing else, Bjork’s Utopia proved to be a wonderfully-weird, hallucinogenic-induced boggling of the mind, disguised as a theatrical masterclass. It was an experience that’s for sure.
Words: Cameron Poole (Vagabon, Hinds) and George King (Yonaka, Warpaint, Bjork)
Featured Images by Paco Amate (Vagabon), Cameron Poole (Yonaka), Eric Pamies (Hinds), Santiago Felipe (Bjork)