I’ve been in my hotel room with a shotgun…

June 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm (The Show)

Les Savy Fav at Primavera Sound by nialler9

Five Things I learned at Primavera

1. Even if you have a bit of (perhaps holiday diet induced) extra flab, it’s still possible to demand respect while being a bulging bear of a man wearing an early 90s leotard. See photo above.

2. Devo are amazing. How did I not know this before Primavera? For me, they have raised the bar of what an entertaining gig should be. I can imagine myself thinking at future gigs ‘Hmmm…they’re not quite Devo, are they?’ I just hope that when I am in my fifties I too will be able to jump around in a choreographed aerobics instructor manner and perhaps even learn to play a synth.

Coincidentally, my holiday book was the rather excellent Rip It Up And Start Again; Post Punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds, which I had a chance to delve into on our retreat to Sevilla and Portugal after Primavera to lick our festival wounds. I’m only half way through, but it’s a thoroughly in depth take on a genre of music that the author felt has not been properly chronicled. Until his book. Apart from the aforementioned Devo, Reynolds gives a history (among many, many others) into The Slits, The Pop Group, Joy Division, The Human League, Talking Heads, The Raincoats, independent record labels (like Rough Trade) of the late 70s and early 80s and a general DIY approach. Check it out. A whole (for me) untapped genre of music to start sifting through.

3. Sometimes it’s best to just stick it out until the end of the set. This was the case with Holy Fuck. Regular readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of their LP album, but was underwhelmed by their performance at Whelan’s a few months back. About four or five songs into the set at Primavera, myself and nialler left, with the same feeling that the band were playing a little bit more to themselves than to the audience. We were told the next morning about the subsequent stage invasion at the end of Holy Fuck’s set. Dammit, I love stage invasions! Serves us right for going home to bed to gain some energy for the next and last day of the festival.

4. When one has indulged in too many Spanish measures of whiskey and red bull over a period of days, one should not listen to The Silver Jews first thing on the last morning of a three day festival. I had a minor panic attack, and for about half an hour, was convinced that I was actually going to have a heart attack and die. The Silver Jews’ frontman David Berman’s somewhat sardonic lyrics provoked a thankfully short lived bout of music festival paranoia, which in fairness was probably more to do with the alcohol in my bloodstream than the good man’s tunes. Still, I really could have used a bit of El Guincho at that point in time.

5. When you go to Barcelona for Primavera, be sure to leave yourself at least two or three days to recover so you can actually see more of the city than the delightfully futuristic grounds of The Forum. I saw the Sagrada Familia and ate a kebab near Las Ramblas but that was the extent of my insight into Barcelona. I’ll just have to make sure I book a longer time in the city when I return to Primavera next year.

Quotes of the festival:

Rufus Wainwright, talking about the gigantic solar panel that looms over the festival sight: ‘I just wanna know when that thing’s going to take off into space!’ Actually, everything Rufus said between his heart-wrenchingly beautiful performance was pretty hilarious.

Dr Octagon, after a bit of a crap performance, bizarelly stayed on the stage ranting about how this was a charity gig and he was playing for free, as the stage crew were trying to set up for the next act.

The drummer of the ear drum awakening Times New Viking : ‘This song goes out to Frodo Baggins’ and ‘Has anyone seen my passport?’

The absolute top quote of the festival though was from Bill Callahan:

Bill (after playing two songs without even so much as a hello): So…how’s the festival so far?

Crowd: Wooohooo…yayy! Whoop! etc

Bill: I’ve been in my hotel with a shotgun.

Crowd: *pause*

*uncomfortable silence*

whoop? Yaay? Clap? Wtf?

I know this is a whole week late as reviews go, but I just arrived back to Dublin last night and felt like reliving my holiday glories and sharing them with your good selves. For loads more info on the festival, you can check out nialler’s updates on his blog and State, if you haven’t done so already.

While I was away, two indie hour shows were aired, the mp3s of which I will upload on the blog as soon as I get over my post-holiday blues. Lol.


Devo by nialler9


  1. Andy said,

    Curse you! Looks like it was awesome, ended up not being able to make it 😦

  2. aoifemc said,

    I’m not gonna lie to ya – twas a lot of fun. Try make it next year, if the line-up works for ya.

    Hope all’s well up your way!

  3. Leigh O'Gorman said,

    get simon reynolds follow-up “energy flash”, it’s a history of electronic and dance music through the 80’s and 90’s – excellent stuff

  4. Leigh O'Gorman said,

    my apologies – “rip it up…” is actually the follow up to “energy flash”

  5. gabbagabbahey said,

    that Simon Reynolds book is very good. I got it for the chapter on SST Records (towards the end) and ended up reading every section. Had forgotten about his other one, I might be interested in that. Does it cover all the inspirations for the Vinny Club?

    Barcelona is a great city. Las Ramblas is like a ginormous European version of Grafton St… and the Sagrada Familia is just wow. I was actually uploading to another blog of mine some artworks based one of the facades there (I won’t spam you, but there’s a link on my sidebar) and at the exact same moment I got all the RSS updates from you and Nialler9 from Primavera… Synchronicity – and some jealousy on my part!

  6. aoifemc said,

    Hey Leigh – will do most definitely. I need a dictionary to read Rip It Up. I meant to underline the words I didn’t know and look them up when I got home! Finally, I know what ‘didactic’ means. It’s great though, that’s not a criticism. Still reading, and when I finish I may have to get my hands on Energy Flash.

    Gabba – I will have a look at the art as soon as I type this comment! The facade of sagrada familia is inspiring all right. It looked to me like lots of people’s nightmares. Very surreal to emerge from the metro in the beautiful blistering sun and turn around and see something that’s like the biggest patchwork quilt I’ve ever seen. But a patchwork quilt inspired by ant mounds and insect nests. Takes a long time to take it all in. Absolutely amazing.

  7. Loreana said,

    Ahhhh PrimaV, I miss it so 😦 Next year hopefully!!! Glad to see you had loads of fun and that Bill Callahan quote is absolutely classic!!!!!

  8. Nay said,

    Aoiiiife!! Good things come to we who wait and that was a thoroughly entertaining write-up, best of the season so far! Le Savy Fav’s photo up there….whaaaa! Zany nightmare fodder, the less said about what appears to be Bluebeard’s face staring up, the better…

    Silver Jews moment sounds freaky all right. Like when I chose to listen to Animal Collective on my own in the middle of a powercut and ended up seance-like…whiskey and Red Bull’s rocket fuel though, anyone’d be in orbit after a weekend like this!

    😮 poor Bill!?

  9. aoifemc said,

    Hey Loreana – yup we had lots of fun all right! Definitely going back next year as well!

    Nay – thanks a mill lovey! Les Savy Fav were brilliant. Not just because the frontman is mental and runs around and all that, but the songs are really great too, it’s deadly. It’s not just a gimmicky ‘mad frontman’ thing.

    The Silver Jews moment wasn’t pleasant, but it passed! Actually it was Rufus Wainwright who fully cured me – he was really hilarious between his songs, and the songs were so beautiful so I relaxed a bit then!! Whiskey and Red Bull – at first I thought it was the greatest new discovery of the year. After a few… I reassessed the merits of the joo joo juice.

  10. aidan said,

    ‘Rip It Up And Start Again’ is such a great book – I also discovered loads of brilliant music from it. In particular, an album called ‘Colossal Youth’ by Young Marble Giants: gorgeous lo-fi indie-pop.

  11. aoifemc said,

    Nice one Aidan – I don’ think I’ve reached the YMG chapter but I’ll definitely check out that album!

  12. Nay said,

    Might still have to try the joo joo 🙂

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