Big acts on day three, we saw Arctic Monkeys, Lykke Li, Beach House and more.
The third day of a festival is always a bit of an endurance test but the hotly anticipated acts on Primavera Sound’s Saturday bill meant people rallied and energy was at a high. Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, A$AP Rocky and Skepta turned out, and the bill was also bursting at the seams with indie newcomers and exciting electro acts.
One of the earlier acts was Rex Orange County, the South London newcomer. Chilled out, guitar-based hits such as ‘Loving is Easy’ and ‘Best Friend’ were well placed creating a mellow atmosphere on the Pitchfork stage. There’s a special skill in bringing your girlfriend on stage and it not to be hugely embarrassing for everyone, but Rex Orange County managed it having her sing for one song mid-way through his set. It was well rounded, with a varied set list, ending with slower songs from his newest album.
Rex Orange County @ Primavera (Photo Credit: Paco Amate)
The second South London musician of the day, Tom Misch, took to the Pitchfork stage after Rex Orange County. Misch’s vocals sounded so good, and so smoothly mixed, it was almost like he was lip-syncing at the beginning of his set. Misch gained notoriety from releasing mixtapes on SoundCloud. Extra special guests such as Misch’s sister on sax, and Mercury-nominated Loyle Carner towards the end of the set picked up the tempo.
After Misch, Lykke Li played her early evening set in an incongruous full PVC outfit, singing about love and heartbreak. She finished with new song ‘Utopia’, thanking the crowd for coming.
Kiwi superstar Lorde took to the stage after Lykke Li, starting off by saying: “It’s very special for me to be here, and for the next hour and a half you’re in my house, and in my house we dance,” also lamenting the fact she’s now too high profile to enjoy a festival like those in the crowd. Audience interaction was the name of the game for Lorde, whose musical theatre moment and monologue about loneliness before ‘Liability’, during which she sat on the edge of the stage, meant there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. A cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost’ was lost on some people, but ultimately landed well. At the end of the set, confetti cannons propelled thousands of tiny paper stars into the sky, fittingly, with ‘Melodrama Forever’ printed on them. Lorde ran into the space between the sage and the barrier at the front with diehard fans rushing forward.
Lorde @ Primavera 2018 (Photo Credit: Eric Pamies)
Saturday was also the day the Alex Turner show rolled into town, with the Arctic Monkeys’ lead singer’s confidence bordering on arrogance throughout the headline set. The Arctic Monkeys rattled through old hits, while mainly sticking to the new album. The new album is good background music, which isn’t a great endorsement at a festival where they should have been the main event. Having ditched the heady guitar riffs of their earlier work, the hour and a half long set felt flat, with guitars not quite loud enough for the large crowd. An hour in they performed a random disappearing act where they all unexpectedly left the stage, and followed with a lacklustre encore. A set only redeemed slightly by ‘Bianstorm’ early on and ‘R U Mine?’ at the very end.
Arctic Monkeys @ Primavera 2018 (Photo Credit: Sergio Albert)
The Beach House and A$AP Rocky clash at around 2am left many with choices to make about what kind of energy they wanted from their Saturday night, but packed out audiences for both artists showed it was a planning decision that paid off for the organisers. Beach House’s glowing electronic music and well-placed visuals provided a calming end to those not wanting to stick around to see Skepta.
Beach House @ Primavera (Photo Credit: Garbinel Irizar)
The last song of A$AP Rocky’s set involved fireworks, smoke cannons and a wild crowd. After he finished Skepta finally arrived, following various transport issues [link to Friday], just in time to be the last act on the main stage of the festival. Opening with banger ‘That’s Not Me’, and bringing on Boy Better Know (BBK) member Suspect on the stage, it was a fitting final day of the main festival in the Park del Forum, with an enviable lineup.
Main Photo Credit: Sergio Albert. Photos Courtesy of Primavera Sound.