Sky Ferreira makes her comeback at Primavera: it was never going to be straightforward

She really doesn't have much luck

Pop fans are not generally known for their patience, but in the case of us long-suffering Sky Ferreira stans it’s become an essential prerequisite. To be fair, we’ve done our damnedest to sustain ourselves off the scraps thrown in the nine years that have now elapsed since the L.A. native’s seminal debut, but a handful of acting roles, some sporadic collaborations with Charli XCX, Beck and Primal Scream, and two (brilliant) singles still feels like pretty slim pickings in the grand scheme of things.

That’s not to say any of this is Ferreira’s fault, you understand. For while it’s probably a little dramatic to suggest the Night Time, My Time singer is cursed, there’s no denying her career has been hamstrung by a litany of setbacks, from becoming unwittingly embroiled in drug busts to the ongoing label fuckery that means her much-teased (possibly mythical?) second album Masochism is still nowhere to be seen a full seven years after its original announcement. 

So imagine our delight when we first spotted Sky Ferreira on the bill in Barcelona – only her second European show since June 2014, the first scheduled the night before at the Porto leg of Primavera. Unfortunately, the news overnight from Portugal isn’t good, with the show reportedly beginning 20 minutes late and being unceremoniously terminated by the festival organisers after just six tracks. And when 15 minutes tick by from her allotted stage time tonight, it does momentarily feel like the lesser-spotted Ferreira might be about to give us the slip again. 

She and her band do finally arrive, but to say it’s a scrappy start is generous: we’re treated to a further five minutes of tuning up, before a blown-out and painfully distorted version of ‘Boys’ is begun and swiftly aborted with an exasperated, “Story of my life.” Though largely inscrutable behind her wraparound shades, Ferreira initially seems fidgety and ill at ease. To her credit, she draws on her vast stores of survivor spirit and forges forward with gritted teeth, launching into a faithful rendition of ‘24 Hours’.  

As the set goes on, Ferreira gradually finds her groove. Exuding an unstudied insouciance, she still makes for an extremely compelling focal point, while the songwriting on show is rarely short of excellent. The self-flagellating synth-pop of ‘Blame Myself’ feels more on-the-nose than ever, while the Jesus and Mary Chain-esque atmospherics of latest single ‘Don’t Forget’ seethes and shimmers to powerful effect. 

With the organisers in her ear threatening to pull the plug again, Ferreira pleads, “Please can I just do ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’, please, please, please.” To the audience’s delight, tonight her request is granted, and she dispatches an emotionally-raw rendition of her breakout track, before retreating into the shadows once more. Lord knows when we’ll see her next.

Photography by Sharon Lopez