Primavera Sound in Los Angeles Review: A European Festival Gem Breaks America with the Help of Arctic Monkeys

Primavera Sound in Los Angeles Review: A European Festival Gem Breaks America with the Help of Arctic Monkeys

Porto, Santiago, Buenos Aires and now Los Angeles. These are just some of the cities that Primavera Sound, born in Barcelona in 2001, now calls home.

Constantly and rapidly expanding, the festival is now a brand in itself and has carved out its own template of being a haven for big names and cultivating an immaculate and laid-back atmosphere. But not everything has been smooth sailing. The festival was originally scheduled for 2020, but Covid canceled its California debut for more than two years. Despite the extra prep time, there are typical freshman teething problems, mostly around the sale of alcohol. Planned as a 21+ event, Sunday’s headliners, Arctic Monkeys, reportedly wouldn’t play unless they were 18 or older.

Spring growing pains aside, it’s the indie quartet from Sheffield who run the festival. Now created for occasions like this, Arctic Monkeys easily draws the biggest crowd of the weekend. As soon as the first thumping chords of “Do I Wanna Know?” earth, there’s a burst of movement before a greatest hits offering from a band clearly at the peak of their powers. However, there is still room for some deep cuts, such as Fakerthe melancholy “Pretty Visitors” and favorite worst nightmare‘s “Do Me a Favor” make welcome appearances.

Arctic Monkeys @ Spring LA 2022

(Pooneh Ghana)

With a career spanning over 15 years in which they have been headlining festivals from minute one, first headlining Glastonbury in 2007, the band have barely taken a wrong step. Matt Helders’ impeccably precise percussion cuts through a slinky, slinky tone as Alex Turner prowls the stage like a horny house cat. The crowd enjoys it, and during the slow intensity of a sublime “505,” Turner gives the assembled masses his best bedtime eyes.

Despite Arctic Monkeys’ huge popularity, not all of their material is made for the festival circuit. Just two tracks from 2018 Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino they find their way into the setlist, but the title track’s jazzy hot tub allows the quintet to flex their musical muscles at least.

Still, it’s a reminder that despite their status, the Arctic Monkeys are not ones to avoid unexpected left turns. Whatever happens next, they’ve created such a bank of barn-raiding singles that it almost doesn’t matter: they’ll always be made for nights like this.

But every main event needs its supporting acts. Like the original Barcelona festival, the lineup here is varied, from Lorde’s whitewashed summer pop Solar energy-heavy set to Bicep’s accessible techno, which is completed with the best light show of the weekend.

BICEP @ Primavera Sound LA 2022

(Quin Tucker)

Elsewhere, there’s a big show of crowd support for the guitar bands, like Squid’s frenetic jam sounds. Los Angeles’ Warpaint himself stepped in at the last minute to replace Low, and the crisp night air feels perfect for the airy blend of desert rock the band has perfected over the past decade.

(Ishmael Quintanilla III)

For the first time, Primavera’s Los Angeles debut was nearly perfect. See you around the same time next year?

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About the Author: Pierre Cohen

A person who has expertise in politics and writes articles to fill his spare time as a hobby.