no complaints for Optimus Primavera on a day of post-rock, post-punk & shoegaze

Optimus Primavera Sound 2013 review

published: Mon 17th Jun 2013

around the festival site

Thursday 30th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013
Parque Da Cidade, Porto, Portugal, Portugal
110 euros
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Fri 5th Apr 2013

Brooklyn band Degreaser brought some noise and distortion to open the final day in spirited style as we were now accustomed to. , The Drones followed suit, Gareth Liddiard cursing the crowd in his usual tongue-in-cheek way. New to me, Portuguese band Paus put on an impressive show on ATP Stage showcasing their experimental post-rock tunes; two drummers are always good value too. Another band I've not seen since ’92 and who appear to have lost none of their energy, Dinosaur Jr delivered their typical high-energy set, the trio finding time to cover The Cure’s Just Like Heaven in upbeat style.

The epic post-rock of Explosions In The Sky was the notable exclusive for Porto over Barcelona (though the latter had the majority of these). Their sound rivalled that of the later headliners and was another of the sets of the weekend. Post-punk 4-piece , Savages have one of the albums of the year to their credit already, shades of Siouxsie, Joy Division and Elastica prominent in the mix, never a bad thing. Their impressive live performance only enhanced their reputation, delivered for the most part through continuous chaotic strobe effects. Best viewed in monochrome perhaps.

My Bloody Valentine  released their first self-titled album in 22 years earlier this year; the promise of new material had already taken me to 2 London shows a few months ago. Swans and MBV in one weekend sounded like a recipe for tinnitus, though neither show turned out to be excruciating loud, compared to indoor shows anyway. Sound is always of the essence for MBV shows and they have very particular sound requirements; this wasn’t too bad here considering the outdoors nature of the event, though probably still left a few people dumbfounded. The set included 3 taken from their latest effort.

MBV Setlist: I Only Said, When You Sleep, New You, You Never Should, Honey Power, Cigarette in Your Bed, Only Tomorrow, Come in Alone, Thorn, Nothing Much to Lose, To Here Knows When, Soon, Feed Me With Your Kiss, You Made Me Realise, Wonder 2

Unfortunately I missed the likes of Grizzly Bear, Four Tet, Titus Andronicus, Fucked Up, Metz, Liars, and Dan Deacon over the course of the busy weekend schedule. This list would have only been a lot longer in Barcelona though.

No complaints from this festival experience to speak of really, the simple formula works very well in pleasant surroundings. Well-organised, compact, and easy to get to/from using the metro and dedicated buses that run. The large and enthusiastic turnout by local people was also good to see. Tickets go on sale shortly at €70 initially, that's a real bargain. What will definitely bring me back though is the relaxed, friendly and welcoming nature of both the festival and the city of Porto itself.

Attending either Primavera event also allows the opportunity for a city break; Porto is an historic and vibrant city in itself. A river cruise, beach visit, vineyard/cellar tour, and some exploration of the steep, narrow streets in the old city would be scratching the surface, though there’s an awful lot more. Most people either stay in self-catering units near the beach/festival or hostels in the centre/old town of Porto. Personally I stayed at Tattva Design Hostel which was a gem of a place, and seemed a perfect match for the ambience of the festival itself.


review by: Jason Wood

photos by: Jason Wood

Thursday 30th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013
Parque Da Cidade, Porto, Portugal, Portugal
110 euros
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Fri 5th Apr 2013


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