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Primavera Sound 2015 Barcelona

2015 June 1

When you say Barcelona, dance music and festival, Sonar is most likely what springs to mind. However, two weeks prior to one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Europe, the town hosts another event. That is Primavera Sound.

Primavera Sound is not an electronic music festival. But every year, we see more and more electronic and dance acts on the line-up. Amidst all the pop, rock and electronica, this year was not short of some great DJs and producers that we love.

First of all, the Bowers & Wilkins stage, which was hosted by Red Bull Music Academy, was completely dedicated to dance music. The sets started at 9 pm and went on until 6 am. It was exciting to see smaller names like bRUNA, Veronica Vasicka and Red Axes as well as seasoned names like John Talabot, Maceo Plex, Objekt, Tale of Us and Daphni (who probably attracted more people than any others). The sound was great if a bit too bassy at times and the visuals projected at the tent provided a feast for the eyes.

The set I enjoyed the most at this stage was Spanish super producer and Hivern Discs boss John Talabot’s. In his turf, he played a brilliant set of dynamic, groovy, tribal house that kept the crowd on their feet and exuded positive energy from the stage. His roster on Hivern Discs also had the task of wrapping up the festival on Saturday night at 5 am.

Another name that was a pleasure to catch was Veronica Vasicka. She looked great behind the decks and played a strong set of really cool techno that got a bit industrial at times. She definitely has a gift of capturing the crowd’s attention.

Another Spanish producer that we got to see was bRUNA. He is one of those names who surprises behind the decks since there is usually a fair gap between his original work and DJ sets. This time around he played a more experimental, edgy and noisy techno including names like Vessel and Zenker Brothers. It wasn’t easy to dance to but certainly interesting.

Dance acts were not confined to the B&W tent. Throughout the festival, the bigger stages like ATP hosted the performances of Richie Hawtin and Jon Hopkins. Jon Hopkins arguably provided one of the strongest performances of the event. He opened his set the way he does with a cinematic start before easing into Open Eye Signal. Most of the other tracks he played were new material though and the last two songs he ended his show with were real gems. It felt like the new album would not steer too far off from Immunity.

The Pitchfork stage also provided party heads with great entertainment with Roman Flügel, Simian Mobile Disco, Gui Boratto and Marc Pinol… By the time the English duo Simian Mobile Disco were playing past midnight on Thursday, there was nothing else going on in any of the big stages so basically the whole festival was there. Their set was pleasant but slightly flat and they are still best heard in a club where the subtle nuances in their tracks can be appreciated more than a festival site where the volume was quite low at that point.

Thankfully, Brazilian techno maestro Gui Boratto made the ground under our feet move with his explosive, melodic, upbeat techno interspersed with trance. Two tracks in, he played Joker much to the crowd’s delight and kept the momentum high all night.

As good as the highlights were, the biggest disappointment was missing Dixon playing to thousands of people at the Ray Ban stage. He was to start his set right after American duo Ratatat at 4 am on Friday but half an hour after the band was done, people were still trying to set up the stage at 4:30. For a DJ set! We made our way to the exit.

In the end, Primavera is a satisfying experience if you are a guitar or indie pop music fan but also want to get your electronic music fix on the side. From the way it is evolving though, it seems like dance enthusiast will find more and more to enjoy here each year.

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