From The Road: Foreign Poetry at Primavera Sound

Austrian/English duo Foreign Poetry took their forthcoming album Grace and Error on the Edge of Now to Portuguese festival NOS Primavera Sound, where they performed alongside the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Mogwai and Idles.  Moritz Kerschbaumer from the band shares their experiences of playing the festival and shares some of his favourite bands who performed:

When we got asked to play Primavera it was only Danny and me. Our first thought was, “We need a band to play those songs” So we asked some friends and started rehearsing about 3 months before the show. We got into the idea of a five-piece band right from the start thinking it was the only way to do justice to playing such a prestigious festival. On the day of the festival playing those eight songs we had just written within the last year was surreal. The underlying feeling of pressure put on by mostly ourselves and, the weather behaving in the most untypical way for what I expected from Portugal aside, it felt great. The choice of songs happened during the first rehearsals where we allowed ourselves to experiment to find which ones would suit our five-piece outfit. Since it is still early days for us and the way we wrote and recorded this album contradicts the workflow of most bands we’ve not yet reached our final conclusion on how Foreign Poetry is going to appear live in the future.


The War On Drugs blew me away, playing on the newly installed Seat stage with such refined energy, a masterclass on how the interior process of artistry can meet the exterior receptivity of the large festival gig. The wind was outrageous, constantly cutting off vocals and guitar solos before letting up and allowing the sound to be again. That was a shame, but all involved seemed undeterred, the shared moment was special, finally the set finishing with the most passive aggressive smashing of guitar I’ve seen. I listened to nothing else for a week after the festival.

Mogwai played the same night, just after TWOD on the NOS Stage. Their long sprawling set was easy to get lost in (which I did), mixing complexity and simplicity seamlessly, weightiness and vulnerability. A band with a rich, completely self-owned sound, at the top of their game. I found it easier to connect and more meaningful seeing them live than I have listening to their records.

I’d heard a few things here and there by Nils Frahm over the years but never paid much attention.  As a one man show performing electronic music, he towered above the other acts at the festival. His low-lit and detailed stage set-up had an energy unto itself, well matched to his intricate compositions and inculcating melodies. It was a welcome reprieve of intimate craftsmanship after the mania of Nick Cave.


Having always loved the band for their sincere and catchy songs, I finally got a chance to see Grizzly Bear play live at the festival.  Aside from a tight and amazing performance that one would expect from such a seasoned band, what impressed me the most was their ability to create a capsule surrounding the stage and everyone in the audience which allowed me to get lost in every nuance of the music.

The Pitchfork stage, surrounded by trees and described by many visitors as one of the most special and intimate stages, provided a perfect surrounding for the sonic space created by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. We didn’t know much about Ruban Nielsen or his brother Kody prior to Primavera, but the lo-fi ethos and well constructed songs were a breath of fresh air.
All images provided by the band

Foreign Poetry’s current single ‘MHL’ is out now on Pataca Discos.  Check out a Primavera Playlist with all of the artists featured in this article below:

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