Upon arrival we thought that eating a ‘Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Burger’ (at the stand that also sold HOT SANDWICH PULP!) might help. Maybe it did. Either way, day three was almost as good as day one.
Wasn’t really feeling the Warpaint thing. Young ‘uns that didn’t realise that the eighties were basically crap until The Acid hit. One of the more interesting things that happened in the eighties were maybe Einsturzende Neubauten, who we watched for half a set then foolishly skipped off to see Money Mark, but he wasn’t up to much. We also went to see about five minutes of Gonjasufi, who weren’t so hot either, but made us laugh because mister damp T-shirt was playing bass. In a smelly T-shirt way.
Then the evening took an unexpected turn. I was dragged to see PJ Harvey. And whaddya know? Unbelievable. Some of it was definitely a sex appeal thing – she is almost unbearably cute, but the whole thing rocked, definitely helped by…Mick Harvey being in the band?!?! Really?! Ouch! Half expected to see Blixa do a guest spot, maybe a cover of People ain’t no Good. Either way it was pretty funny as well as being all rocking and that.
Then another strange turn. I lost my girl, wandered past some racket and found myself drawn into… Swans. I have always HATED Swans. YUK. But… wow! just… wow! Nasty white angry dirge turned into… nasty white angry dirge, but with such a funk I couldn’t believe it. There were moments when they were the nearest thing I’ve ever witnessed to how I imagine those Can shows must’ve been. Intense and wild and… groovy? Really? Jesus. Anyway, I found myself running forward and dancing my tits off.
This left me SO READY for Animal Collective like you wouldn’t believe. Seems everyone but me reckons that they’re crap live, but surely after this there can be no more debate. They were almost the best thing at the festival. Almost.
The best thing happened right after Grinderman, and cutesy fanboy Nick Cave knew it before it even happened…spent most of his set telling everyone to go see them (“they’re the greatest, just the greatest, they’re the reason any of us are playing rock and roll in the first place”). I too am about to gush my face off here, but for those of you that already love this band just the one word will do, and that word is Suicide. SUICIDE. SOOO-I-CIIIIIDE. I have seen this band over and over and over since I was sixteen, and every time it’s the same. I laugh, I cry, I shake, I dance, I scream with joyful abandon. I swear that this is the best gig I’ve ever seen them do. And tonight at Primavera they are ON FIRE and I’m shaking to the most delirious rock and roll since Jerry Lee. I’m laughing at that acid fried tramp – seventy fuckin’ two years old – being the most inspirational singer alive, I’m crying big gloopy tears all the way through the most HOLY HOLY version of Che, keyboard chops going all funky at the end and all, dancing like an animal to a super-sexy Girl, screaming uncontrollably when Marty’s high keyboard part burns its way into the call-to-arms that is Frankie Teardrop. As Suicide always point out to the deaf ears of the goths and the Rock’s Rich Tapestry box-tickers , they’re called Suicide because they wanted to recognise LIFE. Come on get up! COME ON GET UP!! We’re all Frankies! COME ON GET UP!!! I swear that this was the best gig I’ve ever seen them do, again.
So it’s the last night and we’re all just about still standing. Although the concrete has taken it’s toll on the legs, we all amble up to see the other Rev. They were my favourite band on earth for about five years until they got ‘goooood’, but tonight it’s easy to remember why they were my favourite band on earth. Deserter’s Songs – not even their second best album – is still beautiful. Jonathon Donahue is scary as all hell – I think he finally read the ‘how to be a rock star’ book that someone gave him as a leaving present, but something about him is kind of phoney, not quite real, and I can’t be sure if it’s the bottles of wine that he’s freely swigging from or the tablets he looks like he’s on (prescription), or that he’s discovered Jesus, or just that he’s quite, quite insane. Whatever it is, he’s fascinating to watch, and Mercury Rev… they SOAR. Sorry, but it’s what they do. And it’s not even their second best album.
Trying to squeeze the last nuggets of joy from what has basically been the best music festival I’ve ever been to, I manage to convince a few of the gang to head over to the big party, promising that Declan Allen will probably play a bunch of Motown. He doesn’t play any. He DOES, however, treat us to the best indie disco most of us have never been to, songs we never thought we’d get to rage to again – Teenage Riot, Boredom, Shot By Both Sides – we careen happily around the room, and I’m reminded why I ever bothered in the first place. Nothing else is as good as music is it?