Jun 19, 2015

NOS Primavera Sound

Recently I made the pilgrimage to Portugal for NOS Primavera Sound. This was my first time in Portugal and I loved the country. Great history, great food and warm and friendly people made for a great holiday. I visited Lisbon, Sintra and then Porto for this 3 day festival. It's a smaller version of the festival run a week earlier in Barcelona, with many acts playing both festivals. I had a wonderful time. The festival is set in a beautiful park in the western area of Porto. It was very easy to get to with buses servicing the site very well and the festival was run superbly. It had a very relaxed vibe with not many queues and good food and drink. Music started each day at about 5pm and often ran until the early hours of the morning.

There were four stages and only occasionally did a clash occur that I regretted. There were some big names that I didn't actually see. Mainly because I'm not really into them. Such as Caribou, Antony and the Johnsons or Belle and Sebastian. But I managed to see some amazing music. Here is a brief report.

I love Mikal Cronin so much. His three albums have been chock full of melody and great songs. I think his latest album is his best yet. His set was fairly early on the first day and despite some sound issues it would prove to the one of the best I saw.

Set List
Turn Around
Made My Mind Up
Am I Wrong
Get Along
Shout It Out
See It My Way
Green and Blue
I have seen Interpol many times over the years and even though their earliest music is clearly their best I was happy to see them once again. They put on a great show in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

Set List
Say Hello to the Angels
Hands Away
Leif Erikson
Rest My Chemistry
Everything Is Wrong
The New
Take You on a Cruise
Not Even Jail
Pioneer to the Falls
Slow Hands

Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
All the Rage Back Home

Viet Cong have courted some controversy of late because of their name. But their music shines above all of that. A standout on Day two, their set was bruising, hard and to the point.

Set List
Throw It Away
Bunker Buster
March of Progress
Continental Shelf
Never in my lifetime did I ever think I would see The Replacements. A seminal band from the 80s their songs are timeless. But like a lot of acts they have reformed and their set was shambolic, joyous and SO much fun. And apparently they announced it would be their last show!

Set List
Takin' a Ride
Favorite Thing
Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
Take Me Down to the Hospital
Little Mascara
I'm in Trouble
Waitress in the Sky
Kiss Me on the Bus
Nowhere Is My Home
I Will Dare
I'll Be You
The Ledge
Can't Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
My Boy Lollipop

20th Century Boy
If Only You Were Lonely
Left of the Dial
Alex Chilton

Day Three came and it was the best of the three days. Foxygen were the first highlight and they were so much fun. Brilliant and chaotic, with dancing girls and a front man in Sam France who never stopped talking, singing or moving. Apparently this is their last tour. If that is the case they will most definitely be missed!

After the beautiful chaos of Foxygen I moved onto the beautiful sounds of Kevin Morby. Like Mikal Cronin, Morby has great songs and a great sound. This man has my heart!

Set List
The Dead They Don't Come Back
Sucker in the Void (The Lone Mile)
Harlem River
All of My Life
Motors Runnin
Miles, Miles, Miles
I Hear You Calling/Parade
Much like Interpol, Death Cab For Cutie aren't probably what they used to be, but they still know how to put on a great show. And they did, before a much devoted audience.

Set List
I Will Possess Your Heart
Crooked Teeth
Doors Unlocked and Open
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
Grapevine Fires
Black Sun
Little Wanderer
You Are a Tourist
The New Year
Soul Meets Body

Dan Deacon was my last act to see of the festival and it was a good way to go out. I love Deacon's music but unlike previous shows I have seen he couldn't quite get the crowd participation going properly. He tried hard but I don't think the crowd fully understood. Still, it was a nice way to end a wonderful festival in a great city.

Set List
Sheathed Wings
Mind on Fire
Wham City
Learning to Relax
When I Was Done Dying
Feel the Lightning
USA I: Is a Monster
USA II: The Great American Desert
USA IV: Manifest

Jun 10, 2015

Kevin Morby @ Charlatan, Ghent

I recently had the good fortune to be Europe and visit Belgium. Or more specifically Ghent. Ghent is a beautiful, classy, historic city with so much to offer. When I planned my trip I found out that Kevin Morby would be playing a show there. Morby has become one of my favourite artists of recent years. An original member of Woods, he has now branched out on his own with two wonderful solo albums. So on a late May Sunday night I saw him at Charlatan, a small club in the centre of Ghent.

It was a great show. Not because of any drama or histrionics. But because of the strength of the songs. I think he is a special songwriter. He has a great ear for melody, a warm voice full of character and is a an excellent guitar player. His group consisted of Meg Duffy on guitar and Justin Sullivan and drums. Together they combined for a wonderful night. Highlights were the plaintive "All of My Life", the epic guitar jam of "Harlem River" and then the encore which consisted of the Bill Fay cover "I Hear You Calling" morphing into the genius song that is "Parade". A blissful night indeed.

Set List
The Dead They Don't Come Back
Sucker in the Void
Harlem River
All of My Life
Motors Runnin
Miles, Miles, Miles
My Name
If You Leave and If You Marry

I Hear You Calling (Bill Fay cover)/Parade