Phoenix resist the challenge of Stella Maris at Primavera Sound

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Phoenix resist the challenge of Stella Maris at Primavera Sound

At this year's Primavera Pro conferences there is a lot of talk about AI and metadata. Also copyright and mental health. Javier Calvo, Javier Ambrossi and Hidrogenesse came instead to talk about Stella Maris. Not from 'The Messiah'. From the fictional band 'La Mesías'. Ambrossi announced that his free performance at the festival would be the end of the project, and Calvo ended up joking about his place at an event like Primavera Sound. «I wonder what Phoenix fans think of Stella Maris. But there are those who have told me what Stella Maris fans will think of Phoenix.

If this were the defunct Primavera Sound Madrid, I'd say Stella Maris would have stolen the night from Phoenix. The city that immediately elevated Rigoberta Bandini, Chico y Chica, Ojete Calor and Las Bistecs – each in its own style – knows a lot about bullshit. But in Barcelona there are many tourists – there is no limit, more and more and more and more and more and more -, many French, and it was Phoenix who enjoyed the largest audience. Much more than in Tomavistas.

The Stella Maris concert begins with some announcements that announce the arrival of the savior of the world… to “Primavera Sound.” The humor is palpable but so is the gloom. The projections are naive and sinister. As Hidrogenesse has explained about the music they have written for this project, it is important that the viewer forgets whether they are watching something jokingly or seriously. There's a fun component, and there's a cringe component.

The song itself called 'Stella Maris' serves to introduce the girls. The production tries not to project too many shots of Amaia, making her one of the sisters. It works halfway. Each one has more or less its own role, but the fun here is seeing Romero in this context, following the choreographies with a mixture of devotion and suffering. There is a reason why it remained one of the most emotional scenes that The Javis have ever filmed.

But the main protagonist is the music, and the stage development that is made of the songs from his album 'La casa smells a gloria'. Something happens in all of them. Two groups of human towers enter 'La Alcantarilla'. Where are you?' They do take Hidrogenesse on stage, half incognito, with Sparks as a probable reference. 'Because of you I exist' becomes a rave party with mime and projections of that viral nuns on fire. Just when you think nothing could get better, Albert Plá appears, without blinking, impressive in his gaze at the camera, performing 'The Flowers of My Garden' while the girls dance around. The version of 'Religious Experience' now performed by the sisters serves to flesh out the show up to 40 minutes.

Christian Bertrand

And especially about Montserrat Baró. Joan Pons from Primavera Sound had told us in a podcast that Carmen Machi could fly away. She didn't fly away, it was better. Like Christ during Holy Week, her body emerged inert, lifted up and carried to the stage by the castellers, from the center of the audience. And at the doors of the stage she rose from the dead. Carmen Machi grabbed the microphone that Ambrossi had handed her like a discreet “roadie”, she danced in her nightgown and stole the show, joking about the acronym EDM. The public, in ecstasy. The series team jumped on stage at the end of the party in what we can consider the truly unique show in Spain this 29-M. Taylor performs again tonight (and we'll tell you about it tomorrow).

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Christian Bertrand

The Phoenix show hasn't changed much since the last time I saw them, exactly 5 days ago. Yes, it is true that it worked much better in Barcelona, ​​and the “vibe” of the people was especially supportive. The group is not afraid to open the set with one of their most powerful songs, 'Lisztomania', even thinking that the show was free, because they have more assets with which to entertain the audience.

There are also singles accumulated over these 25 years such as 'Entertainment', 'Lasso', 'Alpha Zulu' or 'Ti amo', each from his father and mother and all 100% Phoenix; as well as the resource of turning to 'If I Ever Feel Better', the song with which he started it all.

The group joins it with 'Funky Squaredance' in a number even more gloomy than Stella Maris', in which a head is cut off. The husband of the director of 'María Antonietta' also has her own guillotine.

In the final part of their show, the mime who takes off his mask is none other than Ezra Koenig, in town to perform today with Vampire Weekend, and that allows them to present 'Tonight' as ordered. '1901' is a party and in the final reprise, Thomas Mars once again indulges in crowdsurfing. At the end of the night, I don't quite remember if it's him I've seen holding a half-full beer mini while thousands of people carry him on their shoulders. Or he went to Montserrat Baró. But both delivered by entertaining the masses.

Christian Bertrand

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.