The first night of their new European tour was at Primavera Sound
It might be unusual for a band approaching their fourth album to still feel like a work in progress, but then again The Internet are a fairly unusual band: at first glance a slinky RnB act, their set tonight (the band’s debut on Spanish soil) reaches beyond that genre’s standard tropes into Herbie Hancock fusion jazz, sleek Daft Punk robot funk and, most evident here in the surroundings of Primavera’s brutalist concrete schoolyard, the well-thumbed hip-hop live show playbook, featuring on-stage requests for “hands in the air” and plenty of audience call and response.
Despite the accomplished breadth of their sound, though, the band are still clearly finding their feet as a live prospect: four of them amble onstage to much applause but little urgency, spending the first two minutes doodling individually on their instruments before singer Syd bounds on and grabs the spotlight. Even then, for all Syd’s charisma, there remains a rawness to the opening songs during which the band, clearly affected by technical problems on stage, play within themselves, nervous and slightly faltering. Syd battles gamely on nonetheless, and the crowd – particularly youthful, female and non-white by Primavera standards – seem unfazed.
Most bands lack one performer with as much magnetism as Syd. That the band possess another is their secret weapon: when guitarist Steve Lacy takes the lead for recent single ‘Roll’, the show levels up rather brilliantly, and never looks back. The earlier looseness remains but is transmuted into insouciant sass channeled through Lacy’s gyrating hips, and when Syd returns to lead a crowd-sung chorus of ‘Just Sayin’’ (rarely must Primavera have witnessed 3,000 people chanting “you fucked up” to an ex with such gleeful vitriol), The Internet visibly and audibly grow, rendering the final half hour as something of a victory lap: ‘Girl’ confirms itself as one of the modern era’s great slow jams, and finale ‘Get Away’, slathered in sub-bass and audience participation, nearly generates a slow-motion mosh pit.
It’s an unapologetically fun way to end the show, and while the rough-cut aesthetic remains, over the course of the show The Internet take ownership of it, transforming what was in danger of appearing disappointingly undercooked into something satisfyingly al dente: there’s a sense, as they depart, that the liminal state which the band currently occupies might yet turn out to be more exciting than the polish that’s inevitably still to come.
Photos: Primavera Sound / Paco Amate
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