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Primavera Sound 2016: a guide to the 40 best bands & their stage-times

20 May, 2016 — by Christopher Ratcliff0

primavera sound 2016

This year’s Primavera Sound takes place on June 1-5, which means you only have a couple of weeks to get acquainted with *the* single best festival line-up of 2016.

Luckily I’ve done you a massive favour by going through the entire line-up and constructing a day-by-day guide to the very best bands and artists playing on each day, complete with the stages they’re appearing on, what time they start and finish, and a pick of their very best tunes.

I’ve compiled this list in chronological order, but there will be some minor clashes and heaven knows if you see all 40 of these bands you probably won’t have time to eat, drink, sleep or evacuate any bodily fluids in a semi-hygienic manner. Still, everyone likes a challenge.

Jump to a day:

Tuesday 31st May
Wednesday 1st June
Thursday 2nd June
Friday 3rd June
Saturday 4th June

Tuesday 31st May

For those of you who have arrived in Barcelona early and aren’t currently lost trying to find their AirBnB or getting up to no good in La Rambla, there are some brilliant artists playing in the Apolo Venue tonight…

Carla  [20:00 – 20:40] Apolo Venue

One of my favourite new discoveries since exploring the hundreds of artists playing Primavera 2016 is Carla, a Spanish synth-pop singer/keyboardist whose debut album Night Thoughts contains this moody, neon-soaked single…

SG Lewis [21:00 – 21:40] Apolo Venue

The Liverpool producer SG Lewis creates incredibly seductive R&B with a harder Disclosure-style edge. Like James Blake if he spent less time feeling sad and more time listening to Sade.

Deradoorian [22:00 – 23:00] Apolo Venue

The former Dirty Projectors bassist Angel Deradoorian balances groovy psychedelic pop with tight melodies and beautiful harmonies. Not quite as brain-frying as Goat, but a lot more exciting than an episode of Coronation Street. Perfect for a Tuesday night.

Wednesday 1st June

Goat [20:30 – 21:30] Parc del Fòrum

Time to lose your mind and most of your clothes! It’s Sweden’s number one pagan psychedelic export, Goat. The following fan-made video may look like a patronising summation of their sound, but… well… here we are anyway…

Suede [22:00 – 23:30] Parc del Fòrum

On Thursday night Suede will be playing their rather excellent new album Night Thoughts in full, but tonight you will be treated to a 90 minute greatest hits set containing all the better stuff from your old Shine compilations. Next year, Gene!

Empress Of [23:50] Barts

Brooklyn based Lorely Rodriguez frigging OWNS synthpop, and you’re probably not getting it back any time soon. Why would you want it back? It’s been perfected on her storming single ‘How Do You Do It’. Also why did you own synthpop in the first place? Wait! Are you… Gary Numan?

Thursday 2nd June

Todd Terje [16:00 – 17:00] Bowers & Wilkins Sound System

So I don’t know if you’ve been to Primavera (or in fact any trendy European festival) before but do REMEMBER they start a day earlier than UK festivals. ALSO they start late in the afternoon because they go on till frigging 5am. Anyway, I highly recommend starting your festival-proper with a set from Norwegian producer and space-disco-astronaut Todd Terje, whose latest work has been funky as hell and deliriously danceable. Even at 4pm on a Thursday. A time when you’d normally be thinking of the most plausible excuse for slipping out of the office two hours early.

Autumn Comets [17:00 – 17:35] Ray-Ban

The Madrid six-piece create a gorgeous and incredibly stirring blend of post-rock and shoegaze. This is some HIGH quality indie right here. Good for staring into the middle distance and contemplating making various positive adjustments to your life, before drinking the second of 68 pints of Heineken you’ll plough through this weekend.

Alberto Montero [17:30 – 18:10] Adidas Originals

Alberto Montero is a Spanish singer who makes sweetly captivating folk-pop, that sounds like he has the backing from some incredibly talented if upsettingly precocious primary school children.

The James Hunter Six [18:55 – 19:50] H&M

Oh yeah, this is the stuff! The Colchester born James Hunter is a Daptones labelmate of Charles Bradley and creates equally phenomenal and uproarious super-legit soul music. The band are also championed by Van Morrison, a notoriously irascible man who hates fucking everything.

Beak> [19:30 – 20:20] Primavera

Geoff Barrow’s other band. The one that manages to out-terrorise Portishead, with its abrasive melodies and wildly mutated idea of Krautrock. Brilliant stuff, but take a friend.

Daughter [20:00 – 21:00] Heinkeken

Go and watch Daughter, whose latest album Not to Disappear is an emotionally devastating triumph, feel a sense of deep catharsis and then you’ll properly feel like you deserve losing your shit to Peaches in half an hour.

Peaches [20:30 – 21:30] Heineken Hidden Stage


Kamasi Washington [21:00 – 22:00] Auditori Rockdelux

Jazz. With a capital “fuck yeah.” Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is not only responsible for some of the backing on Kendrick Lamar’s world-beating To Pimp a Butterfly, but his own work is some of the most exquisite, beautiful and humbling jazz made in the last decade. Brain expanding stuff. Drink something stiff.

Vince Staples [22:10 – 23:10] Pitchfork

Vince Staples’ 2015 album Summertime ’06 was a brooding, groovy, sexy, violent masterpiece of hip-hop, and the only album to come close to nudging Kendrick’s crown.

John Carpenter [23:50 – 00:50] Primavera

I don’t know about you, but there is NOTHING I would rather listen to at midnight on a balmy Spanish night surrounded by strung-out confused teenagers than the Halloween theme tune. I can’t wait to see John Carpenter, he’s going to be AMAZING.

Tame Impala [23:30 – 01:00] H&M

Although I may have controversially written them off in the past as psychedelic bum-fluff, Tame Impala’s last album Currents completely proved me wrong with its sexy grooviness and utter lack of psychedelic bum-fluff.

LCD Soundsystem [01:10 – 02:45] Heineken

Oh my God. The whole reason why I’m here. Thank you James Murphy for not staying retired. As for my behaviour during this set: I predict a mixture of standing stock-still unable to process my joy and openly scream weeping while my wife has long gone back to the apartment because it’s 2am in the morning WAIT!? Holy shit 2am!??? What’s with you crazy European festivals???

Friday 3rd June

Lubomyr Melnyk [16:00 – 15:00] Auditori Rockdelux

Ease yourself into day two (bearing in mind you will have only been up for an hour at the most) with the 67 year-old Ukranian pianist, Lubomyr Melnyk, the fastest pianist in the world who can play hour-long symphonies of between 12 to 14 notes per second. This is beautiful, transformative stuff and WAY better than Billy Joel.

Shura [16:25 – 16:55] Firestone Stage

Terrific UK pop with the sweetness of 80s Madonna and the smoothness of En Vogue. It’s around this point you’ll start regretting staying up till 5am making sand-angels on the beach and you’ll appreciate something that’s the polar opposite of Beak>.

Viva Belgrado [17:45 – 18:30] Adidas Originals

Part screamcore, part melodic-rock, all face-melting power and emotion that’s not a million miles away from the heights of Deftones. It’ll do you some good.

Lush [19:30 – 20:30] Heineken Hidden Stage

Holy shit, ‘Ladykillers’ still sounds fricking ace 20 years later. I was not expecting that! Lush are playing on the Heineken Hidden Stage, so called because it’s hidden underneath an entire Thursday’s worth of empty beer cans. The acoustics are terrible.

Savages [20:00 – 20:50] Heineken

The swirling menace and snarl has turned into a brooding swagger that wears them very well. Go and be stared at intently by Jehnny Beth. DON’T make eye contact back though.


Radiohead [22:15 – 00:15] Heineken

Radiohead returned this month with a phenomenal new single Burn the Witch and followed it up just a week later with their ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pool. An album that had every music critic using the word challenging to describe it and had Arcade Fire’s Will Butler creating interpretative drawings to illustrate it [eye-rolling emoji]. They’ll probably play one or two pre-King of Limbs tracks.

Holly Herndon [01:00 – 02:00] Pitchfork

Out of all of our favourite albums of 2015, Holly Herndon’s glitchpop masterpiece Platform has probably stayed on the turntable the longest. It’s a glorious work, that rewards its avant-garde experimentalism with exhilarating rhythms that betray their complexity. Or something. I don’t know, I don’t work for the fucking Wire.

Beach House [02:00 – 03:00] Heineken

Oh my god is that the time? You want to go see Beach House? But I’ve drunk myself sober and I don’t think I’ll make it throzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday 4th June

Wild Nothing [18:00 – 18:45] Heineken

Wild Nothing’s third album Life of Pause is easily his best work, full of arresting sumptuously arranged and evocative soft rock classics. Perfect for an early afternoon Sunday slot. Oh wait it’s 6pm. Oh wait it’s Saturday. I do NOT understand European festivals.

U.S. Girls [18:55 – 19:40] Adidas Originals

U.S. Girls’ Meghan Remy is flipping excellent. Mixing up snaking, slinky grooves with the sounds of a 60s girl group. Her music video directing styles are… uh… let’s just say Lynchian and pretend it’s a compliment.

DâM-FunK [19:00 – 20:00] Pitchfork

Funk for your face.

Autolux [19:30 – 20:20] Primavera

The Californian three-piece are definitely cooler than you. But don’t let that put you off. Just go along, stand at the back of the crowd looking all nonchalant in your leather jacket and smoke a bunch of cigarettes. They won’t see you, they won’t even care you got heat-stroke. But still, you looked pretty cool for three or four minutes.

Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds [20:00 – 21:15] Heineken


Drive Like Jehu [21:35 – 22:35] Primavera

If you were one of the very unlucky people who were routinely shafted last month by a certain festival promoter’s terrible organisation and financial planning, then please PLEASE do not miss this opportunity to see the post-hardcore legends and all-round awesome guys Drive Like Jehu. Seriously, fucking set an alarm or something.

PJ Harvey [22:35 – 23:50] Heineken

Although The Hope Six Demolition Project may have been a divisive album, it’s still a riveting and powerful listen. PJ Harvey is perhaps even more incendiary live than on record, and you should definitely take this rare chance to see her perform. Giant headdress is optional, just be prepared for it to be either set on fire or doused in beer, but upsettingly for you, not both.

Action Bronson [23:45 – 00:45] Primavera

The Queens born rapper and once-chef has a bold collection of witty, laid-back and surprisingly heartfelt hip-hop in his arsenal. Perfect midnight snack stuff, which will conversely also be the same point when you start getting hungry again and realise you have about 2 euros left.

Sigur Ros [00:00 – 01:30] H&M

Sigur Ros have moved away from the ethereal to the apocalyptic lately and 2013’s Kveikur was a doom-laden, ice-cold masterpiece. But they’ll probably still play that Planet Earth theme tune and fire a confetti cannon in your face so don’t you worry.

Julia Holter [00:50 – 01:45] Ray-Ban

If you haven’t been put through the emotional wringer enough tonight, then Julia Holter should finish the job once and for all. Here’s ‘Feel You’, which is essentially chamber-pop perfected. Feel free to repeat that sentence to whoever you’re stood next to, as it will be the last audible thing you say for about 14 hours.

Parquet Courts [01:00 – 02:00] Pitchfork


Roosevelt [02:35 – 03:45] Pitchfork

I must say, you have done exceptionally well to make it this far. I applaud you. I imagine you’ve probably drunk quite a lot of coffee to stay on your feet till this late, huh! It’ll stunt your growth if you’re not careful *ruffles hair*

Pantha du Prince [02:50 – 03:50] Ray-Ban

Oh my god just go home, you’re a mess.

And here for your own research purposes is our Spotify playlist featuring all of the above…

Now go have a brilliant time. And take some sun-tan lotion.

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