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Primavera Sound 2009 review

This year’s Primavera Sound was one of my favourites yet. Although our friends from impoverished Hackney couldn’t make it, I know they were there in spirit. I also behaved myself and resolutely refused to kick any chaps in the balls, a major improvement on last year.

Partly as a result of better behaviour, and partly because Gemma and I found it easier to strike out on our own, we saw more bands this year and certainly enjoyed more of what we saw. The new system for drinks tickets, which involved buying them drink by drink at vending machines was disatrous at the beginning of the festival, but ended up being simpler and more efficient. In contrast with Summercase (which won’t happen this year), the Rock Delux stage faced the stepped amphitheatre it occupies, so while sat we didn’t have to crane our necks to see the bands.

Anyway, here’s my breakdown of the bands we saw – graded according to my patented binary review system.


Spectrum – 1

The Vaselines – 1

Joe Crepusculo y los Destructores – 1 (a surprisingly good Spanish band)

My Bloody Valentine – 1

Yo La Tengo – 1

The Bug – 1 (an early highlight)

Aphex Twin – 1


Tokyo Sex Destruction feat. Gregg Foreman – 1

Spiritualized – 1

Carsick Cars – 1

Art Brut – 1

Sun O))) – 1

Throwing Muses – 1

The Mae Shi – 0

Jarvis Cocker – 1

Saint Etienne – 0


Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – 1

Plants & Animals – 0

Herman Dune – 1

Neil Young – 0

Oneida – 0

Deerhunter – 0

Ghostface Killah – 1

Sonic Youth – 1

Black Lips – 1

You’ll notice very few 0s in this review. I can’t say why that is, but my hunch is that I had fewer must-sees on my list than in previous years, meaning I was free to enjoy plenty of bands I’d never heard much from. My main disagreement with how the festival was organised was the way Neil Young was billed. When he started, there was a block of over an hour when no one else played on any stage, meaning that we were effectively forced to watch his show. By all that’s sane, I should probably be a bigger fan of Neil Young than I am. But the truth is that he leaves me just a little cold, and this episode of dedicating the entire early part of Saturday night to him (I suspect it was a contractual obligation), pissed me off. Plus, there was a terrible artist on stage all through his set, ‘creating’ a two-dimensional representation of the concert as Young and his band played. Half the time, it looked like nothing more than a turd.

Despite that, Primavera Sound 2009 was, for me, a great festival. We caught up with loads of old friends, made some new ones, and enjoyed some excellent concerts. Roll on Primavera 2010!

UPDATED: Primavera Sound 2009 lineup

Here’s the (probably pretty much final) lineup for Primavera Sound 2009…

Dijous 28 de maig, Jueves 28 de mayo, Thursday 28th of may
My Bloody Valentine, Aphex Twin, Yo La Tengo, The Jesus Lizard, Phoenix, Squarepusher, The Vaselines, Spectrum, Andrew Bird, Jay Reatard, Lightning Bolt, The Bats, Marnie Stern, Dead Meadow, Ponytail, Ebony Bones, Wooden Shjips, The Bug, Bowerbirds, Joe Crepúsculo y Los Destructores, Wavves, The Tallest Man On Earth, Women, Magik Markers, Veracruz, Girls, Cuzo, Meneo

Divendres 29 de maig, Viernes 29 de mayo, Friday 30th of may
My Bloody Valentine (Auditori), Bloc Party, Jarvis Cocker, Spiritualized, Throwing Muses, Saint Etienne, Shellac, Joe Henry, Art Brut, A Certain Ratio, Sunn O))), Magnolia Electric Co., Jason Lytle, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Michael Mayer, Dan Deacon Ensemble, Rhythm & Sound (Mark Ernestus), The Mae Shi, The Drones, Bat For Lashes, Damien Jurado, Fucked Up, Tokyo Sex Destruction, Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls, Crystal Antlers, Uffie, Extra Life, Mahjongg, Carsick Cars, Sleepy Sun, Los Punsetes, Skatebård, Extraperlo, Rosvita

Dissabte 30 de maig, Sábado 30 de mayo, Saturday 30th of may
Neil Young, Sonic Youth, The Jayhawks, Michael Nyman, Ghostface Killah, The New Year, Liars, Herman Dune, Deerhunter, Black Lips, The Bad Plus, Gang Gang Dance, Oneida, Th’ Faith Healers, DJ /rupture, Ariel Pink, El-P, Simian Mobile Disco, Jeremy Jay, A-Trak, Jesu, Alela Diane, Shearwater, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, The Soft Pack, Chad VanGaalen, Plants & Animals, The Secret Society, Maika Makovski, Zombie Zombie, The Lions Constellation, Lemonade, Dj Mehdi

Bold denotes acts I’m looking forward to.

UPDATE: Recently announced additions include Neil Young and Jarvis Cocker. I do believe this could be the best festival ever.