Photos by João Gambino and Hugo Lima
Just back from NOS Primavera Sound 15, the Porto-based cousin of the Barcelona Primavera, one can report a stunning venue with liberal in-and-out policy, near bars and restaurants, which was not too packed, yet full of friendly faces. But what of the actual centrepiece, the music? NOS Primavera Sound lived up to its promise of diversity and presented a stellar line of top acts, arguably the best so far.
Thursday, 8.45pm: arriving just in time to catch the end of Canadian Mac DeMarco , watching "Chamber of Reflection" as the sun sank, beer in hand and full of expectation. Funny guy, DeMarco is, dirty-talking in between songs, but one should not be fooled by his bizarre rambles - the guy knows how to build his space.
Kicking off the more heavy beats of the weekend was Young Turk, FKA Twigs.
Bathed in purple and blue, the little girl with the big big voice was on fine form. Twigs delivered a dark, erotic performance, her signature twists and twerks smooth and provocative as always. Although the light show was good, there was none of the usual theatrics, just a body and a voice, yet her ethereal style and depth of emotion was superior nonetheless.
Next The Juan McLean, presented the surprise of the day. I knew the DFA label and of course Nancy Whang, the American singer and musician who makes out half of the duo, beforehand. Whang, who is known for her work with LCD Soundsystem,
Soulwax, Shit Robot and Classixx's, comes highly recommended. The energy with which the duo presented an awesome hybrid of sound and style really got the crowd moving and grooving. The closing (in a big way) act Thursday was Caribou, a man who needs
little introduction. Known for his experimental style on record, Dan Snaith delivered a live set, in which he produced a liquid, bass-dominated electronic style. It resonated within, the world fading into a top quality visual backdrop. For me, this hypnotising performance reached a new level and showed Snaith's determination to continue to lead, to pioneer his psychedelic odyssey.
For us the rest of the weekend started with Patti Smith, performing her iconic debut album "Horses" on the 40th anniversary of its release in a hard-hitting mix of rock, dedications and old-school-kool. Sitting on a grass slope in the sun listening to the punk poet laureate we felt the presence of true legend and I for one fully understood the importance of the album and it's foresight of and influence on a variety of modern genres. Patti was in the building.
Possibly the greatest anticipation of the weekend was the phenomena, which is Jungle. From releasing their single "The Heat" in 2013 to being shortlisted for the Barclays Mercury Prize in 2014, Jungle has risen so fast to fame it is almost unfathomable.
Yet, seeing the vibe-collective with the psychedelic, uninhibited style live on Friday night it was clear that the hype, by no means, is unfounded. The group put on a spectacular, organic show full of collective energy in a mix of tribal wilderness, 1970s-style funk and mischievous bass. And the pure and contagious joy with which those on stage performed, built an unmatched connection with the crowd - standing still just wasn't an option.
It was a real shame that Jungle clashed with another highly anticipated act, Run the Jewels. As the former finished we made it to the last few minutes of the Hip-Hop act. The bit we caught was a dense and unyielding representation of dark electronic hip-hop. Yes, such a thing does exist and I would have liked to see more of what this interesting American duo has to offer.
And then there was Movement ...The undoubtedly biggest surprise of the weekend. The Sydney trio gave a fierce performance in a fusion of their own stuff and wellknown covers. Despite the youth of the Movement project, which is part of the Modular label,
something truly unique flickered through. Furthermore, the humbleness and gratitude the group demonstrated to the crowd was inspiring and definitely added to the experience. Musically, R&B and dance blurred in a dark, thick tone. The bass slow, lazy. The atmosphere loaded, transcendent. The sparse beats and unrelenting depth were complimented by exquisite vocals and controlled instrumental interference. Movement performed in a way, which made me lose myself, swaying with the rest of the transfixed crowd in an experience of smooth yet demanding and faceted beats and undeniably salacious undertones. It was hot. It was heavy. It was Movement.