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Parc del forum barcelona Primavera Sound 2012 preview

I’m part of a merry band of characters that are off to Primavera Sound 2012 in Barcelona next week, and I’m going to earn my shiny press pass by writing a review of the action for The Herald.

The line-up for the festival is amazing, with lots of obvious highlights such as SBTRKT, The Rapture, Jamie XX, Grimes and Laura Marling.  Even better, at the end of the night you get to jump in a taxi or the metro and sleep in a proper bed, and then wake up and spend a few hours in a beautiful city before heading back to the festival site.  Bliss!

Here’s a run down of some further acts which I don’t want to miss:

Franz Ferdinand

Pin Ups has been historically bonkers about the mighty Franz and it was a proud moment when we got Paul Thomson onto the decks at Pin Up Nights: Pirates in January 2010.

After a few years out of the limelight following their third album, one of the best bands of the noughties will be back paying all the old favourites plus some new material (the ropey YouTube clips of last week’s Irish warm-up gigs don’t really offer much clues as to what the new tunes are actually like.)

Big Star Third

Big Star’s third album is known as Third or also Sister Lovers, joining the proud tradition of albums with nicknames, such as the Beatles White Album, Led Zep’s Brown Bomber, and the X-Ray Album by Supergrass. (What’s that? Nobody really cared enough for that one to catch on? Suit yourself.)

Anyway I remember listening to Sister Lovers fairly obsessively in the warm evenings of the summer of 1997. I just couldn’t get enough of how weird and melodic and nocturnal it was.  So you can imagine my delight when I heard it was going to be performed at Primavera by a “supergroup” including Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Chris Stamey (the dB’s), Ken Stringfellow (Posies), R.E.M. producer Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), and Brett Harris. The performance will also include appearances by the singers Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), and more.

Rustie

Rustie plays a few hours after Franz Ferdinand in what could perhaps be interpreted as a passing of the Glaswegian torch to  brand new artist for the new decade.  Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, or misleading, but I think this guy is superb.  I fully expect Barcelona to be treated to rattling speakers, squeaky vocals, twinkling keyboards and some very bad dancing from lots of people getting entirely too carried away.

We voted for Glass Swords as Scottish Album of the Year and we’re delighted that it has made it to the final shortlist of ten.

Beirut

In the summer and autumn of 2008 I worked in Edinburgh, and on my daily commute from Glasgow and back, Beirut’s Flying Club Cup was my album of choice. Nantes (above) always makes me think of sitting on the Loser Cruiser between Waverley and Queen Street Stations, but I still love it. That’s how amazing a song it is.

Beirut’s rich and lively music never fails to be thoroughly enjoyable live and his appearance at Primavera should be no exception.

The Cure

My favourite 80s English bands are New Order and The Smiths, but I also have always loved The Cure, and a few years back felt that a full appreciation of their smashing back catalogue was just around the corner.

That’s why we booked Cure tribute The Cureheads to play live at Pin Ups in 2007. It proved to be a slight misjudgement but it hasn’t dampened my personal enthusiasm for The Cure and if you look at their recent concert setlists you will see that they don’t mess about – it’s big numbers all the way.

Richard Hawley

It’s astonishing to think this man was once involved with indie makeweights The Longpigs. His solo albums released from 2000 onwards have been packed with gems, and have maintained a remarkable level of quality, with my absolute favourite being the elegiac For Your Lover Give Some Time (above).

Mr Hawley is playing on the final evening of the festival at Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf, and it should be a pretty special experience.

El-P

In the late 90s/early noughties it seemed that pretty much anything on Rawkus Records was worth a listen and, along with guys like Talib Kewli and Mos Def, El Producto was one of the stars.  2002′s Fantastic Voyage was a particular highlight, with frantic songs steeped in sci-fi and very reminiscent of Public Enemy.

El-P hasn’t released much in the last 5 years or so, but Drones over BKLYN (above) shows that he can still create an amazing tune. I am really looking forward to finally seeing him live.

M83

I have never seen M83 live and can’t really imagine how the gigs build. They must just get more and more epic with every song.

I must admit to being fairly suspicious of the whole thing as everything sounds a bit too polished, in the way that some DFA songs sound like a Linn 9000 drum roll away from being a Stock, Aitken and Waterman number. However the admittedly brilliant Midnight City was the 2nd song we played after the bells at our Hogmanay Ball 4 in January, and I am very interested in giving the gig a listen and making my mind up.

Wild Beasts

Guest DJs of this year’s Pin Up Nights Ladies Night, we are looking forward to catching up with our old chums Wild Beasts.

Every album by these guys is better than the last, and when performed live their songs take on an extra special louche dimension.

Rufus Wainwright

Despite what his press people might insist, Rufus’new album Out of the Game unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the hook-laded bundle of fun which I hoped it might be when I heard it was to be produced by Mark Ronson.

Nevertheless it does seem a good deal chirpier than Songs for Lulu, and the fact that he is bringing his full band means that we should hear some of the old belters, and that things shouldn’t get too introspective.

Waaves

Personally I’m not too bothered about Waaves’ ramshackle “punk-surfer” shtick – but seeing as Primavera ’09 was the scene of his infamous on-stage meltdown thanks to a pre-performance cocktail of drugs – it would be rude not to check in on the show.

Dirty Beaches

Weird, lo-fi, rockabilly, noir, pastiche? This will either be really good, or really laughable. There is really no way of telling just now.

Friends

The terribly-named Friends aren’t so much “must see” as “first band on the whole bill on the opening nght”, and since we will be chomping at the bit to get in amongst it, there’s probably no harm in heading along to see how many “buzz band” cliches they fulfil.

Regardless of who you end up seeing, if you are heading along to Primavera Sound I hope you have a fabulous time. Here’s a link to a handy timings spreadsheet.

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