Summercase, Parc del Forum, Barcelona, July 2007
In many ways, the perfect weekend. Whizz off to Barcelona, book a flash hotel and short ride from the venue, in the newer part of town down by Parc del Forum, spend the day shopping and eating tapas, then party all night to your favourite bands in the warm summer night’s sea breeze. The deal with Summercase was a bit like Leeds & Reading: two cities, two nights, and the bands play both. We did consider going to Madrid, but the venue was out of the city, and well… that was not going to compete with the ability to ramble around Barcelona, our fave city. So after a day of shopping, eating & drinking awesome food, we headed back, chilled, got changed and wandered off to a late night music fest of 50,000 people or so. What a line-up they had: Jesus & Mary Chain, Arcade Fire, Editors, The Chemical Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Kaiser Chiefs, Jarvis Cocker, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, PJ Harvey, Bloc Party, The Gossip, Guillemots, Electralane, LCD Sound System, Belle & Sebastian and much much more. On such a compact site they did a great job squeezing this all in, with a large outdoor stage, several marquees of different sizes, and a great outdoor amphitheatre. So, we basically just scuttled about, beers in hand, checking out as much as we could, while determined to see full sets of our short-list. PJ Harvey was brilliant, solo on stage, decked out in an old wedding frock. Jarvis Cocker was his usual jaunty, chatty self, even in Spanglish. Gossip were awesome - man, can Beth Ditto sing! Arcade Fire and the Kaisers provided their usual festival slickness. OMD were (like Gary Numan at Electric Picnic) sounding totally contemporary, it was not cheesy or 80s at all, and singer Andy McCluskey seemed genuinely blown away with the huge crowd there that were right into it. Really enjoyed Electralane too - their krauty-pop was very food live, and we hung out with a bunch of locals dressed in tennis attire for a while. We both loved Bloc Party, and thought they were well worth the effort to see the full set of. Took me a while to get into their records, but A Weekend in the City was a daily listen at work. What blew me away was how good their drummer Matt Tong was. Jeepers, he could drive a beat. In fact , I think he turns what could have been a quite ordinary band into something greater than their parts. Then got sucked into the carnival of madness that is The Flaming Lips live. Astoundingly good and just plain nuts. Again. Finally though, we positioned ourselves atop large concrete blocks that acted as a spaced barrier at the top of the amphitheatre’s edge. From here, lined up dead centre in front of the stage, we were directly in the firing line of the lasers for the Chems show. Our tennis chums joined us again, so there was a kind of twisted Wimbledon podium dancer thing going on, and our view of the crowd and band was fucking brilliant. Bloody hard to nail a track down for this, and many of the bands we went did see have appeared in this 100 Days thing so far, so I am going to pick the band that actually surprised me the most, and transcended from previously being a guilty pleasure into being ‘must-see’: Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark - ‘Enola Gay’ live version.