Short

Kelly Lee Owens kickstarted Primavera by playing an unusual lunchtime show in a Catalan apartment block

The London-based techno producer played a gig overlooking La Rambla

La Rambla is Barcelona’s main tourist thoroughfare, a bustling tree-lined avenue stuffed with shops selling knock-off football shirts, artists pushing expensive caricatures of David Beckham and stalls hawking plants that look like rude body parts. From 10am till midnight, the street is heaving with visitors.

So it is on this Thursday lunchtime, the first full day of Primavera Sound‘s 2017 programme. Between one of those tourist stores and the corner of the block, through a narrow doorway, a queue of people wind up an ornate staircase to a first floor apartment.

The space inside is beautiful, classic Catalan decor with high ceilings and imposing balconies. In a backroom, Kelly Lee Owens has set up a Carillon keyboard, laptop and drum pads on a make-shift stage framed by four sturdy pillars, gilded with gold flake designs of hawks and horses.

There’s no doubt that, ordinarily, Owens’ music thrives at 4am in a dingy club, but somehow – with the afternoon daylight streaming through the large windows – she manages to conjure some of that nocturnal vibe, even if the volume is never bludgeoning.

After a delayed start – “sorry about the technical troubles” she apologises as she begins – she sets about establishing the momentum. Soon fans are on their feet, and the room sways.

The set itself is a reworked mix of her self-titled debut album. The Welsh former cancer ward nurse turned electronic producer layers her vocals as she swings over her equipment, her brown bob moving like a pendulum.

It’s early, of course, but she does her best to start the rave, picking up the mic and wandering out into the crowd of 50 packed into the room. She does it best with ‘Arthur’, ‘Lucid’ and closers ‘Evolution’ and ‘CBM’.

This is the first of a handful of daytime house shows Primavera will throw over the next four days (Songhoy Blues and The Wedding Present will play gigs in similar spaces). The location may be in contrast to KLO’s sound, but somehow that makes it all the more intriguing.

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