Primavera Sound Makes L.A. Debut With Simple, Sultry Lorde Set

After a year of pandemic-related delays, the Barcelona-born music festival Primavera Sound finally made it to Hollywood. 

With three days of programming at the Los Angeles Historic Park last weekend, nestled next to Chinatown, Primavera mounted three formidable stages in Los Angeles for the first time — with a diverse lineup led by Lorde, Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys. 

Despite an initial crush of will call ticket holders queuing for nearly half a mile, the Primavera campus felt full but never oppressive. The majority 45-minute set pieces were seamlessly coordinated and, by design, offered something for everyone (a must for the eclectic taste of the area).

“Shall we dance for our 15-year-old selves right now?” Lorde asked the crowd on opening night, pairing a black bikini top with sheer, Stevie Nicks-inspired pants (“Silver Lake Barbie!” one festivalgoer screamed during her set). 

Playing the mainstage with a single set piece – what appeared to be a wooden block recreation of a wrecking ball, also adorned with a ladder – the New Zealand phenom cycled through hits including “Royals,” “Homemade Dynamite” and “The Louvre.“ She was surprised by the level of participation she received from the crowd, as many artists are when they come to a town riddled with jaded industry types. 

“I didn’t know you would cheer, L.A. You guys are the cool kids,” she said. Prior to her big kickoff, Stereolab played a modest set on the smaller Tecate Alta stage (following an electrifying preview set at the Wiltern a few days before), followed directly by an intense and acclaimed block from Mitski. Guests enjoyed activations like Hangar 1 Vodka’s pop-up lounge, from Create Hospitality. 

Saturday saw crowds flow in (and law enforcement presence ramp up) after wristband holders got the lay of the land. Tierra Whack, fresh off her shoutout on Beyonce and Madonna’s Queens Mix of “Break My Soul,” led a wildly fun 5 p.m. set on the mainstage – her hype man pulling in everything from Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” to A$AP Ferg’s “Plain Jane” to warm up the audience. 

Sunday saw a winddown with a staggering (if not incredibly short) set by King Krule. Revelers (who included more children than expected) all passed a light installation spelling “Made in Barcelona,” a nod to Primavera’s international roots. The letters were staggered in the style of the Hollywood sign, which stood bragging in the hills just nine miles west of the park.

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