Grace Jones and Van Morrison - paradise at Primavera Sound
The festival is situated in the sun-drenched city of Barcelona, ten minutes from a silky sand beach. May I repeat: Barcelona, one of the greatest European cities. The destination is somewhat perfection for the metropolitan music marveller - the bad weather and desolate field of the British festival are banished here, as are the early nights. The music at Primavera starts in the afternoon and ends at around six or seven the next morning, but the silencing of the speakers does not signal the end of the night. You may instead extend your evening or enter your morning, (depending on your mental state) at a local bar colloquially known as Chinos, where you may comfortably drink outside at 9am or perhaps for the rest of the day, before sauntering to the beach to nestle in the soft sand and take in the vast enormity of the sea in front of you, ending your evening of musical wonders with natural ones.
My Sunday was spent on that beach gazing at the diamond sea, exhausted but exhilarated from watching incredible bands and artists for the previous 12 hours. As I lay, head quite literally in the sand (due to high levels of exhaustion and intoxication) I contemplated the night passed, particularly for reasons of this review on two particular acts, that the groovy readership of this enterprise with particularly appreciate...
Under the clear blue and seemingly endless Barcelona sky at around about…let’s say eight, (particulars in time will not be heeded to due to the impossibility of the task; it’s hard to check your watch when you’re having the best imaginable time) the first of the funky legends graced the Heineken stage. I’m not sure there is anything in this world more pleasant than standing in the golden sun, holding a golden beer and watching Van Morrison sing into a golden mic attached to a golden mic stand. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen; Van Morrison. A musician of such status and calibre deserves golden everything and that’s what he got.
You should also be pleased to know that he is still in possession of a golden voice. Clear and smooth, every lyric perfectly projected into the microphone and onto a joyful audience. Who wouldn’t be filled with joy and totally content in such an environment where a menagerie of classics fill the warm air delivered by a master of his craft? ‘Have I Told You Lately’, ‘Days Like This’, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ and of course ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ were just a few of the bangers played to get you gently swaying with your significant other, friend, relative or random person standing next to you. It’s the kind of soulful set that conjures infectious smiles in it’s audience.
A few hours later (again, no specification towards time) night had fallen and the party was in full throw. Once again we found ourselves back at the Heineken stage to see another legendary performance - it was none other than Grace Jones. Her ascent to stage was every bit the spectacle that suited and was expected of her in her prime. Dressed in incredible costume, black and white tribal rave body paint and a huge strap-on dildo and an only slightly bigger head dress. ‘Shenanigans’ was the most striking song of the performance. Seductive, primal and lusty as fuck a male pole dancer demonstrated incredible strength and skill which I’m sure produced a surge in the loins of much of the audience and at least a blush in the rest. As for Grace Jones herself, surely operating in a different kind of time space, as life’s trajectory of ageing does not apply to her. Her performance was flirtatious and injected with infectious energy. Most of all she was incredible fun, riding a member of security’s shoulders through the crowd, to ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ in yet another spectacular headdress, body paint and not much else.
A relentless number of other bangers ensued: ‘Libertango', ‘My Jamaican Guy’, ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ to close and some seriously funky covers of Roxy Music’s ‘Love is the Drug’, ‘Private life’ by The Pretenders and ‘Night Clubbing’ by Iggy Pop. The readership I can only assume are already slaves to the rhythm and Grace Jones in undoubtedly your main mistress, penetrating you with her… unending capacity for creating the funkiest show. As for the strap on, in its enormity and thing-ship feels like a metaphor to the audience of the incredible funk-f**k we were all submitting to.
Primavera is host to an eclectic range of music, focusing not on genre, nor trends, but quality. It plays simply the best and as the sound goes in this festival, it’s far better than all the rest.