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Present Perfect


Filed under: Music,Spain — Thomas @ 11:21 pm

11:21 pm

Last Thursday I went to the Daydream festival here in Barcelona. Basically, it was built around Radiohead performing here. Now, I rarely miss an opportunity to go see Radiohead play if they stop close by, so this wasn’t going to be an exception. Radiohead is one of the few artists to always lay down a solid live set, and usually enough surprises in it. Through the years I must have seen them a dozen times, starting with the triple-priced tickets I paid to see them play to 500 people when I was 18 (I paid a double-priced tscalper ticket and half of a friend’s who was going to not go in because of the price – imagine that) I stayed an extra day in Barcelona, and got a combi ticket to this festival and Summercase, and – as usual – looked for music by bands that were going to play that day and created a Rhythmbox playlist at work.

On the whole, though, the festival was a bit of a let down (no pun intended). I really liked Bat For Lashes on album, but live they weren’t very convincing. Again I tried to give Liars a chance – they seem the kind of band I should have every reason to like, from having weird album titles, the indie aesthetic, the direction changes, and the uncompromising approach, to having a band leader that “hit it off” with Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) – who strangely featured in a rather erotic dream I had, even though she’s not really my kind of girl – in the end all their uncompromisingness just ends up being really really boring to sit through. Drum’s not dead, as an example, just doesn’t grab me.

By far the biggest problem with Spanish festivals I’ve been to (most of which have been at the Forum) is the terrible sound. The speaker towers they set up just do not have the power to bring a festival to life. I was standing somewhere on the 15th row during Radiohead and it was as if I was watching YouTube. None of the dynamics that make their songs stand out made it through the sound mix. It was truly painful to watch.

It might be that this is because, as I’ve been told, electricity at the Forum comes from solar panels. So maybe they just don’t have enough juice. Or, maybe it’s because Radiohead makes a cool 1 million euro out of this concert (so I’ve been told, just as I’ve been told that Movistar really really wanted them there and paid the 1 million euro without being sure they would be recouping their investment – my money is on them losing money on it). And I guess it’s also no dumb luck that most big bands travel the world with a Belgian company handling their stage and sound. But either way, it’s depressing to pay 70 euros to see Radiohead then walk off in the middle of their set just because drinks seem more interesting than the band on stage.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen them play anything off Pablo Honey, and this time was no exception. But they did surprise me by playing The Bends and Planet Telex (possibly my least-liked song off The Bends, though I might have to reconsider, and in hindsight it’s the missing link to OK Computer, sharing much of its dynamics with Airbag). Though, again, with the sound setup they were barely limping along.

Rematch at Werchter, guys ? I have my 4 day ticket in my wallet, and my age forbids me from camping, so I hope to score a journalist’s parking card, but I am ready. I hope you are too. And now all I need is to find at least four friends and convince them to go one out of four days!

1 Comment »

  1. Werchter : http://www.rockwerchter.be/ (incorrect url in your post! ;))

    Comment by Kevin — 2008-6-16 @ 12:40 pm

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