Primavera Sound 2016, as Rated and Stereotyped with our Berlin-Addled Brains

By Allison Krupp . June 17, 2016

Peaches, Photo Credit: Dani Canto

If you’ve been paying attention (you haven’t), you probably caught that your bright-eyed Berlin Loves You writers/editors waddled all the way to Spain for Primavera Sound 2016. Long sun-drenched days and even longer, addled nights helped us create this, the first of our reviews about Primavera Sound.

Let’s say, dear readers, that the great Primavera Sound arena is just a bite-sized Berlin (who hasn’t sat you down and told you Barcelona is just a seaside Berlin, anyway?). So: where would you hang out? What is the timeline of your Berlin-addled—but Barcelona-bound—night? And in the end, six a.m. and curiously kebab-less, what sticks with you in that gooey, memory-place?

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PJ Harvey, Photo Credit: Eric Pamies

Our weeklong playground is Parc del Forum, with its Heineken, Ray-Ban, Pitchfork, Nightpro, H&M stages—and so many more. They form our working Berlin neighborhoods, with the established Mitte-Heineken—the large, packed stage everyone knows about that, once you get there, reveals overpriced drinks and no big surprises but always a good time (and mainstays, like LCD Soundsystem, you just wouldn’t miss).

Then, you try out the Primavera stage, which is just our bright-eyed Kreuzberg—glorified, hyped, and, at least on the weekends, just generally too damn loud (what was up with the sound??). Or you opt for comfortable, no-nonsense Ray-Ban (conveniently located by the press bar), which asks “Why would you ever leave?” And so, you have your Friedrichshain.

All acts on the Nightpro stage are “going to be big someday,” they’re sure—and so we’ve found our Wedding, and we’re ready to leap into the hype; whilst the Pitchfork—that’s Neukölln. A place where Parquet Courts and Car Seat Headrest make you feel at-hipster-home. H&M stage is, naturally, Prenzlauer Berg, because you find yourself there just more than you expected and always come back saying: “Sure. That wasn’t so bad.” Maybe you even find yourself weeping there listening to Beirut. Maybe you do. (Beirut does have a song called “Prenzlauer Berg”, after all.)

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Shellac, Photo Credit: Dani Canto

So there’s our map. And as I’m mapping, I note I’ve lost Andy, co-writer, once more—scouting the Primavera streets for signs of Berlin, for cheaper-than-five-euro beers, for conversations with strangers. He can point out the German women in an instant, a kind of sixth sense. If Berlin is his normal playground, Parc del Forum will do, for now.

And so the acts begin to flood the neighborhoods, and our Primavera and Berlin comparison becomes all the more convoluted as the sun sets over that glowing Mediterranean Sea.

LCD Soundsystem—that middle-aged hipster who lives in the once-cool but still gorgeous Mitte, who refutes ideas of growing up and still pays ‘90s rent. Eternally, we who come and go from the city revere him. The epitome, the historical Berlin-cool.

Air, Photo Credit: Eric Pamies

Air—the chic, blasé Frenchman, well-dressed, with palpable disdain. But god, just basking in his presence is enough.

Animal Collective—that Californian “musician” who never really got over San Francisco and should have gone home two years ago.

Suede—the 40-something artist who’s still trying to “make Berlin work,” who lives in a WG but still keeps up with the 20-something top-bunned girls at Berghain. Sure, though, you can’t refute it. He’s still got it.

DTSQ—the Moabit hipster with just enough artistry and talent and bright-eyed passion to make you believe it’s all about to happen. Why not?

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Savages, Photo Credit: Eric Pamies

Savages—the Berlin riotgrrl who still hasn’t realized the riotgrrl movement happened 20 years ago, on a different continent. But with a shaved head and a loud opinion, you just can’t ignore her.

Action Bronson—he’s the startup guy, in-your-face about the next techathon; the guy you (perhaps because of substances) just really can’t stand after 20 minutes, if that’s not your scene.

Quarto Negro—they’re the foreign-boys-from-far-away with these earnest eyes and such allure. They keep to themselves until they whisk their busking guitars to their chests and bring magic to your Berlin afternoon.

Moderat—the most Berlin Berliner. Techno-crazed, a wardrobe seeped in black, who still waits for the green man on the walk home from the sex party.

Beirut—the Hasenheide hippie walking the slackline. Jobless, dirty-feet with this unending good nature that keeps you out with them till morning.

Car Seat Headrest—that geeky student on the year abroad whose German is just annoyingly better than yours. He still hasn’t realized his favorite bar, in Kreuzberg, is a tourist trap. Somehow, we like his energy. It reminds us of childhood.

Deerhunter—those sad poets who thought Berlin was the artistic promised land and have subsequently turned to whisky. When they dart back to whichever dark hiding place they came from, you’ll miss their alcohol-tinged insights.

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Radiohead, Photo Credit: Eric Pamies

Radiohead—who can get enough of him: the wise, old man who drinks 1 euro beers quietly in Kneipes and mourns a hidden past and lost Berlin glory days.

Goat—the stunning Swede with bright, empty eyes, who doesn’t quite “get” anything, but man, don’t you like to sleep with them anyway.

And this, great friends, has been our Berlin and Primavera comparison. You might like some acts more than others; some stages might better suit your mood. But, love ’em or hate ’em, each act has a place at Primavera—an intricate piece of a greater puzzle, much like each Berlin stereotype. And man, was it a blast.

Stay tuned for more Primavera coverage!


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