It isn’t the fact that you get to spend a couple of days munching tapas in Spain and taking in more cultural sights and impressive cathedrals than you can shake a big religious stick at that makes Primavera Sound one of the finest festivals on the European circuit.
Granted, the non-musical diversions are certainly no bad thing – and something you hardly ever get with say, V Chelmsford – but it’s the consistently brilliant left of centre line-up that really makes this coastal gathering stand out.
This year’s jewel in a crown which also sees appearances from Grinderman, Suicide, PJ Harvey, Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective, was the first of the much nattered about Pulp comeback shows and goodness, did it deliver.
Taking to the main stage at 1.45am, which almost counts as early for Primavera, where the final acts of every day take to the stage at the ungodly hour of 5am in the freaking morning, Jarvis and the gang played for a storming hour and half to an utterly devoted crowd, including a fair amount of swooning NME writers.
It started, as many great things do, with some natty pink and blue neon lighting. As the name of the band revealed itself at the top of the San Miguel stage, letter by letter, proceedings resembled the indie-est game of Countdown ever.
With Jarvis as witty, dry and – yes ladies, I’m going to say it – as handsome as he ever was, things were going so well during the show that he ventured into the crowd to give his blessing whilst a man in the front row proposed to his girlfriend just before ‘Underwear’.
Sure, it was a touch cheesy, but when one of Britain’s classiest acts come back with what could legitimately be branded one of the best shows in a career that spans five decades, we can take a little cheese especially if it comes with a little soul.
“So what have you been up to in the last 15 years?” deadpanned Jarvis as he picked up a guitar for a deliciously romantic ‘Something Changed’ before upping the pace and rolling out ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Babies’ and ‘Sorted for Es and Wizz’ one after another.
“I think we were all quite nervous before we played,” the sublime showman coyly explained at the end of their acrobatic set, adding that the crowd made it easy for them because we “were all so gentle and responsive.”
The pleasure’s all ours, Jarvis.