Optimus Primavera Sound has some niggles, but overall it's well worth the money

Optimus Primavera Sound 2012 review

published: Mon 18th Jun 2012

around the festival site

Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2012
Parque Da Cidade, Porto, Portugal, Portugal
75 euros
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Wed 9th May 2012

The final day is here, and we're moved away from the beautiful surrounds of the park to the mean streets of Porto. Casa Da Musica is an architectural icon of the city, and was designed to look as though an asteroid had just hit the Earth. It is very stylish, and has smooth curves around the main building to signify the crater. These are swarmed with skateboarders making the best of their potential for long, workable rides.

The main auditorium is equally well thought out, and the acoustics for Jeff Mangum are superb. Just before the set starts, his wife addresses the photographers. He won't come out if there are any cameras on him today. He hates them, apparently. Fair enough, I think, and stow my gear under my chair. Despite an announcement of a similar nature to the full house just before he arrives on stage, by the middle of the show lots of people have their cameras out at the front. Iphones, compacts and even a couple of DSLRs make their way out for a snap or two. So while I can't show you any pictures of Jeff Mangum playing this show, I can suggest you imagine a man sitting in a chair playing an acoustic guitar on a stage. If you actually want to see what he looked like, I'm sure there'll be a few pictures on Flickr. Regardless of this, he is terrific value and in great voice, holding impossibly long notes perfectly. All the best Aeroplane over the Sea material is played with heart, and it's a real privilege to get to to see him play it up close and personal. He gets a lot of reward for his efforts today, endless cheers and applause ringing approval around the room.

around the festival site
Later on in the evening, we go into the heart of town to Hard Club. The cool venue, part gallery part music hall, isn't easy to find to find. There is no assistance at all to be had from the literature or the too small, badly designed guide. That's a big minus for fans, and we miss a huge chunk of the second Veronica Falls set because of it. Sadly we catch the majority of Julie and The Carjackers performance. Imagine a well-drilled lounge act attempting to rock out with a Zooey Deschanel clone fronting them. Somewhere in Hell, there is a tiki bar with their name on it.

Kindness, the hype band of the year come on to a warm reception and play their cards right, their mix of soft Nineties house and indie coming together well. It helps that they are all extremely young and photogenic, of course, and a bar discussion with someone who remembers house the first time around makes us realise they are not the finished article yet. Their potential seems boundless though, and they're obviously going places. See them climbing festival bills elsewhere soon.

Little niggles aside, Optimus Primavera Sound 2012 has done well for a first outing. Perhaps they should look harder at the ticketing process, replace cancellations more often, and make sure that festival information is easier to find and digest on site. Food options could be improved, and on site entertainment in the park away from the bands is virtually nil, so that definitely needs to be looked at to meet their customers needs. But for the ticket price, it is still worth the money.

around the festival site
review by: Thomas Perry

photos by: Thomas Perry

Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2012
Parque Da Cidade, Porto, Portugal, Portugal
75 euros
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Wed 9th May 2012


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