The popular Primavera Sound Festival will be returning to Spain from May 30 to June 2, and with a lineup that includes household names such as Lorde, Migos, and Arctic Monkeys, it’s set up to be a premiere summer vacation destination for music lovers. Taking place at Barcelona’s seaside Parc del Fòrum, the festival’s gorgeous setting would be enough to make it a marquee event, but Primavera’s impressive lineup should bring plenty of quality performances to match the environment.
As always, Ones to Watch has scoured the list from top to bottom to find the undercard names that are worthy of your attention. Read on to discover ten artists we expect to tear down the stage in the earlier in the day and follow our Spotify playlist to hear a nice sampling of each.
Rex Orange County’s unique style of “anti-pop” is already the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day at the beach, and will only be more enjoyable when the notes are coming from the artist himself rather than a portable speaker. His passionate guitar strumming should lead to spectacular jam sessions on stage, with his genuine voice and singing ability only adding to the parade of melodies. Danceable ballads like “Loving is Easy” will have the crowd grooving, while stripped-down songs like “Corduroy Dreams” will beautifully slow down the tempo without spoiling the mood.
Knox Fortune has a sound and style similar to the aforementioned Rex Orange County, yet often brings a harder, more rock-n-roll inspired edge to his music. His impressive debut Paradise released in September of 2017, allowing his influences on collaborations with artists like Chance the Rapper take center stage without interference. Songs like “Lil Thing” and “Keep You Close” are light-hearted and playful, while still maintaining a solid rhythm thanks to the grungy drums. Up close and personal, expect Knox to do it all; a multi-talented producer with an eclectic catalogue, his set should border on hip-hop, alternative, and pop music without dwelling too long in any genre.
Nick Hakim has been a name to watch for quite some time, thanks to his innovative sound that continues to improve. Hakim’s music contains a soulful essence that’s impossible to overlook, while his willingness to experiment with new textures ensures that the final product is always unique and fresh. His 2017 debut album Green Eyes was incredibly well-received, seeing him create new, psychedelic instrumentation on songs such as “Bet She Looks Like You.” He should have one of the more mellow performances at Primavera, dreamily serenading the crowd with watery melodies and his stirring voice.
Thanks to a well-timed placement on the trailer for season two of Donald Glover’s forward-thinking comedy series Atlanta, Yellow Days has the potential to blossom to even loftier heights in 2018. The young, British singer is sure to impress on stage at Primavera, with a stunning, gravelly voice that immediately grabs your attention and doesn’t easily let go. He released his most recent album Are You Sure You’re Okay? in 2017, on which he struggles with mental health in the midst of growing up in a challenging world. There’s no shortage of passion and sincerity in his songs, which should easily translate well to the Barcelona beaches come June.
Simple and plain, Jorja Smith is the spitting image of what a captivating artist should be. Her voice can stimulate emotions that one didn’t know existed, hitting notes that pierce the eardrums with an intense, sultry tone. Most recently, her Stormzy-assisted “Let Me Down” showcased her devastating vocals, crooning her way into the listener’s heart and quickly making herself at home. Past performances have proven that her voice is just as breathtaking on the live microphone as it is on studio recordings, making her slot at Primavera one of the festival’s can’t miss sets.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano is no stranger to the festival circuit, having performed at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Bonnaroo already. Now he’ll bring his modern renditions of funk to Barcelona, alluring the crowd with his impressive singing ability from behind his keyboard. Expect to hear original takes on songs like “Fruitflies,” showing his true musicianship and ability to build upon the recording to give fans a new experience. “Six Eight,” sampled by Drake on his song “Jungle,” promises to be much more downtempo and sparse, soothing the crowd with Garzón-Montano’s delicate falsetto on a true grown-up lullaby.
If all you want to do is dance, Honey Dijon’s set is where you need to be at Primavera. The Chicago-born artist has formed her own lane in the world of electronic music, putting forth deep house vibes that seem to continue on forever. It’s easy to get lost in her distorted, wavy melodies, but the punching 808’s will always bring you back to reality and put you in the mood to move. Her time on stage may very well be one eternal groove rather than a standard setlist, but you won’t be complaining when your dancing shoes don’t want to pause for a break either.
French duo Ibeyi is putting a unique global twist on electronic beats, singing in four different languages without missing a beat. Ones to Watch has followed the entrancing group since 2015, and their star has only grown since then following their 2017 album Ash. With features from saxophonist Kamasi Washington as well as singer Meshell Ndegeocello, the album grips you to the speakers with its dark, brooding soundscape. Incorporating elements of soul and R&B into their music as well, the group is living proof that not only are genres blending together in 2018, but cultural lines are as well.
Tom Misch’s skill on the guitar is readily apparent on his debut album as well as his production work with other artists, but the live stage is where he is truly in rare form. His light, jazzy grooves will put a warm smile on your face in the Barcelona sunshine, and his propensity to break out in a jam session will leave you wondering where the song ends and the improvisation begins. Expect him to come prepared with a fresh performance that’s sure to elevate his status as one of brightest rising talents.
The global collection of creatives known as Superorganism received significant buzz in 2017, thanks to their chaotic sound and equally chaotic image. Their song “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” brought them sudden attention from the likes of Frank Ocean, and their debut album Superorganism solidified their status in the music landscape. With pixelated, choppy songs that cut out unexpectedly only to return in full force, Superorganism’s imaginative take on art-pop should lead to one of the more unpredictable performances at Primavera.