I went to Primavera Sound festival all the way back in May, but every time I have tried to think of something to write about it, my thoughts turned hopelessly back to the man at Neil Young. He was Scottish, and very drunk – a big, lurching, beery bear, who announced his presence by letting out a jubilant roar the moment Neil Young took to the stage. Turned out he and his companion – who by contrast, had his eyes clamped shut in gig-ecstasy throughout – were men possessed. Scottish Bear appeared to be gripped by spasms of appreciation that were random and uncontrollable. Every few minutes he would wave and thrash and punch the air, emitting long gurgled shouts, as though he was a Loud Dad going down a very long and steep water slide. I don’t think he could hear the music through the racket, as he clapped and moshed away as though he was watching something else entirely. Once, when Neil left the stage to do something, he shrunk to normal size and had a coherent conversation with a neighbour, only to explode again once Neil had returned.
I am not trying to highlight my annoyed devotion to Neil Young, but how easily distracted I am at gigs. If it hadn’t been Scottish Bear, it would have been some other subject for my wandering gaze. Not that I want to keep parroting on about my ‘yoof’ and sounding like I am suffering an early onset mid-life crisis, but it wasn’t always like this. A (too) long phase of my early teens was spent getting trampled on at the Astoria, emerging from the ‘fight pit’ bruised and groped, and I can’t be certain, but I think I even used to crowd surf. Which is why I found Scottish Bear’s demonstration of joy all the more fascinating – now, even whilst watching my favourite musicians I am often, by about 30 minutes in, overcome with thoughts of the most trivial order, like how much the backs of my knees ache. Whilst not ready to give up altogether and start purchasing seating area tickets, rest assured that I will leave the gig reviews to the lucky ones with their concentration spans still in tact.