September 22, 2022 Review by Alishia Stevens & Robert Hale
Founded in Barcelona, Spain, Primavera Sound is a musical and cultural event two decades in the making, and now it has descended on the City of Angels.
We got our first glimpse at this soon-to-be epic event in 2021 with a simple tweet!
Last weekend, the festival delivered a stellar lineup of genre-defining acts from around the world. With headliners Lorde, Nine Inch Nails, and Arctic Monkeys, it was amazing already. Throw in Clairo, Darkside, Giveon, Mitski, Bicep (Live), Drain Gang, Khruangbin, Fontaines D.C., Cigarettes After Sex, James Blake, King Krule, Amyl and the Sniffers, and several more, and it is a guaranteed incredible event.
The weekend was bright and sunny. Festivalgoers came ready, wearing a variety of outfits – from vintage tour tees of the early 2010s, to recent additions from the countless tours happening, to the usual attention-grabbing festival outfits. Everyone arrived with big smiles on their faces, ready to hit the park and dance. Despite the heavy influence of younger concertgoers, all age groups were well represented.
With four stages set around Los Angeles State Historic Park, the festival included more than 20 wonderful acts. Some of my favorites on day one included Mitski, Clairo, Giveon, and Lorde.
Mitski, while Japanese-born, is an American singer-songwriter whose first two albums were created as part of a senior project for school. The locals are very familiar with her, with recent performances at the Shrine, Mitski fans were present and ready to cheer her on.
Her latest album, “Laurel Hell” was just dropped earlier this year. She is intensely private and has said she will no longer perform live more than once, so I was thrilled she chose to appear at Primavera. Her 16-song set included “Love Me More,” “The Only Heartbreaker,” “Stay Soft,” “Francis Forever,” and “A Pearl.”
Clairo, the singer-songwriter from Atlanta, gave wonderful performances of her songs “Zinnias,” “Softly,” “Pretty Girl,” and “Sofia.” She has such an amazing voice and the crowd seemed to enjoy her immensely as she communed with them throughout her set.
Giveon brought his powerful and soulful vocals, serenading the crowd with his R&B hits “Let Me Go,” “Lie Again,” and “Another Heartbreak.” Commanding the stage with elegance, he asked the audience to turn on the flashlights on their phones so they could light up the grounds. Everyone obliged and it was a beautiful moment.
Finishing off day one was Lorde. The Kiwi showed off her new blonde look and brought her Solar Power Tour to LA. She played a 15-song set that including hits “Green Light,” “Solar Power,” “Mood Ring,” “Ribs,” “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” and her breakout hit “Royals.”
With a revolving sundial stage that featured the guitars and warm lighting, Lorde and her band made it the most intimate gathering of the day.
Combining performance art and music, Lorde integrated her band into every song performed, whether it be part of the choreography as an ensemble, or being partnered with the singer herself for the performance. Making each song stand out on its own, transforming it into a “Kumbaya” type of vibe.
What stood out most during Lorde’s set was her stage presence. After the opening song “The Path,” she didn’t introduce herself as Lorde, but as Ella. She talked to the crowd as if they were friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while, telling them about the influences of songs and their meanings. What made the performance even more magical was that she performed to everyone, not just the center stage. She made sure to give each side the same attention, crossing back and forth during every song. It made it a memorable performance.
Saturday started out with some gloomy skies, but as the gates opened, the clouds cleared, bringing in the sunshine for another glorious day of music. With Nine Inch Nails set to headline, there was a list of must-see performance to keep the crowd entertained until their performance.
Los Angeles, California
The Global Event of 2022
The opening slots of any festival can be a big undertaking since it’s so early in the day, especially on the second day of a festival, but Georgia was a force to be reckoned with. Despite fighting jetlag, the English artist brought the energy! Feeding off the crowd, she stated, “You guys are making it happen!” Performing new songs “All Night” and “Euphoric,” Georgia ended her set with an amazing cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” proving that this one-woman band was a must see.
Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C. had the 6 p.m. slot and brought the energy – and the biggest crowds I’d seen at the Tecate Alta stage all day. Their set was a fun and energetic 13-song blast that included “A Lucid Dream,” “Hurricane Laughter,” “Televised Mind,” “A Hero’s Death,” and their breakout hit “Boys in the Better Land.” Fontaines D.C. did not disappoint; they electrified the crowd and closed with “I Love You.”
Made in Ireland
For the locals, Surf Curse killed it! The Nevada natives have been making the rounds on local alternative radio stations, including locals KROQ and 91X, with their uber-hit, “Freaks.” This sonic moniker was more than appropriate for their fans, and they loved every moment of their set which also included “Doom Generation” “Heathers,” “Self Portrait,” and “Hour of the Wolf.” Before they exited the stage, the band serenaded the crowd with “Disco.” Surf Curse definitely wowed the crowd!
Another standout was Warpaint, and ironically, they were a last-minute addition to the festival, but they were ready to go, took the stage, and owned it! The Los Angeles indie band released their “Radiate Like This” album in May and started their set off with one of its hits, “Champion.” Their amazing set of rock also included “Keep It Healthy,” “Love Is to Die,” “Bees,” and “Beetles.”
By now, the sun had descended into the Pacific and the moon had a front row seat to the event. As 9 p.m. approached, the crowd began walking to the main stage for the headliner – Nine Inch Nails! Diehard fans had been waiting by the front barrier all day to save spots for the rock fest… and they were right to camp out all day for this show. The number of diehards was unreal; many had come from all parts of the state, country, and world for this one.
After a day of anticipation, Nine Inch Nails hit the stage and went right into their first song, “Somewhat Damaged.” The stage setting was right out of a Bauhaus show. Given Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy are friends, it made all the sense in the world. With an eerie-vibe, smoke, and visual elements that amplified the moment, the crowd erupted into a roar that was best measured on the Richter scale.
Reznor’s vocals were on point the ENTIRE show, not missing a beat or lyric in every song. Atticus Ross and the rest of the band were electrifying, giving everything they had to the audience. I couldn’t help noticing all members of the band weren’t playing the “cool guy” act. No. These are individuals who love to play music with passion and feeling and it was remarkable to see.
NIN played an array of classics such as “Wish,” “March of the Pigs,” “Closer,” “Head Like a Hole,” “The Perfect Drug,” “The Hand that Feeds,” and closing out the show by pulling on our emotions with “Hurt.”
L.A. STATE HISTORIC PARK
September 17, 2022
Of course, this being Nine Inch Nails, the show was also visually stunning, featuring a combination of heavy flashing lights, colorful strobes, and smoke machines. Fans in the back of the festival were treated to a live feed of the band in black and white. With the stage’s colorful presence, the side screens were laced with camera work that intensified throughout every song in intimate angles and compositions giving the viewer a visual experience those at the barrier missed out on.
The vibes from the weekend were beautiful. Nothing but smiles were seen from festivalgoers as they watched their favorites play the four stages. For its first time in Los Angeles, Primavera Sound has a hit on their hands!
Time for day three! It was another beautiful day, and the heat wave was no more, which may explain why Sunday brought out the highest attendance of the entire weekend.
Aussie punk band Amyl and the Sniffers brought their incredible sound and energy to L.A., the mosh pit was, as expected, insanely crazy! This band is already big in certain scenes and countries, it is only a matter of time before they become a worldwide phenomenon.
Appropriately the crowd was amped for “Freaks to the Front,” then lost it to the mega-hit, “Security.” Other set highlights had the crowd tied in knots over “I’m Not a Loser,” “Got You,” “Knifey,” and they went insane for “Hertz.” The band is currently on a North American Tour, make sure to catch them when they come back through SoCal in October!
There were a few other bands that had kick-ass performances; on the Tecate stage was Quid, and James Blake. On the Barcelona stage, Dry Cleaning, and ARCA did a very nice set. On the Smirnoff Ice stage Sherelle, Special Request, and Helena Hauff received a very nice reception form concertgoers.
Cigarettes After Sex was a band I was curious about and I am glad I checked them out. The Texas band has such a dreamy-chill vibe and played at the perfect time of the day. Some of the tunes the crowd enjoyed were “Crush,” “Sweet,” and “Apocalypse.”
As Girl in Red was finishing up her set, I headed over to catch English rock band, Arctic Monkeys.
The Grammy winners did not mess around; they are hit generators who put on an amazing show. They haven’t played in Los Angeles since 2018, so I knew I was not alone in this plan, and the size of the crowd solidified my anticipation of how epic this set would be.
The vibe was positive, laid back, and friendly. Just as Arctic Monkeys took the stage, the place went crazy. They wasted no time and jumped into “Do I Wanna Know?” One of my favorite songs by them, it has such a great beat.
Up next was “Brainstorm,” inspired by a real person who met the band in their dressing room after a gig in Japan. Apparently the guy was a real character and left a lasting impression on the band. As the band launched into “Snap Out of It,” there was that beat, 1-2, 1-2. These guys are really good and easy to relate to. They started “Do Me a Favour” and sailed into “One Point Perspective.” These guys are great live, they sound amazing, and their lighting was superb.
During “Arabella,” front-man Alex Turner was singing just out of time as to be noticeable saying, “Primavera, you can’t be sure of this shit.” Turner and guitarist Jamie Cook really got into it and when “I Ain’t Quite Where You Think I Am,” the crowd went wild. “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “R U Mine?” ended the set. I can’t wait till they come back – no matter when that is, it won’t be soon enough!
Thank you, Primavera Sound Los Angeles 2022, for the epic show and your hospitality. Based on the success of this weekend’s showing, it is safe to say we should make plans for Primavera Sound Los Angeles 2023!
EVENT PHOTO GALLERY
by Alishia Stevens Photography & Robert Hale Images