After failing to wrangle press credentials to Brazil's premier 'indie' music festival, Planeta Terra, we had to try other routes to get to Sao Paulo's Playcenter (an amusement park). Thankfully, by the grace of our very good friends Flavia Durante, Hector Lima, Dago Donato and with a special big thank you to of Montreal's Bryan Poole, we received our golden tickets and entry to one of the most organised, punctual and civilised festivals I've ever been to.
Though for a brief moment I did feel rather like a second class citizen, as men and women were split into two queues to go through security as only girl on girl and boy on boy pat downs are allowed. The girls queue took forever and I fumed silently as all the boys just kept streaming past. For this, I should have at least tried to smuggle some verboten substances through the gates. Unlike airport security, they didn't ask me to take off my shoes (I wore my 4 inch wedge platforms. What? That extra 4 inches helps when you're standing in a crowd a billion people deep), so I might've succeded with a secret shelf inside my platform. Still there was the whiff of weed in the air and a discreet little baggie or two to be seen.
Because speaking of which, undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the civility of Planeta Terra is that there's a law (here's where my facts get hazy - Brazilians, if you know, holler at us) in São Paulo that says something like: if you have more than x amount of people in a venue, beer is the only alcohol allowed to be sold. The pros and cons are obvious, but it's in this way that you get an altogether generally more chilled and polite crowd of people ambling between the two stages and lining up for rollercoasters, bumper cars and tower of terror type rides.
We didn't manage to hop onto any rides unfortunately, as priority was to run between very prompt sets on opposite ends of the park. Our schedule went something like this:
and Empire of the Sun
It's a given that Of Montreal were magnificent, with a beautiful pink sunset decorating stage left, it was a glorious way for the festival to open. We are of the opinion that they should have closed the Indie stage instead of opening the mainstage, but whatever, we were just very happy to see them at all.
We scooted over to Yeasayer next. The last time I saw Yeasayer play was back in early 2008 in London. They were just really starting to break at the time; and despite thoroughly enjoying the set, I remember being a little disappointed at how much of it was playback. This time around though, they've swapped out a couple of members and have additional musicians looking after beats, electronica and percussiony type details.
They played really great gig, wherein they also pulled out a lot of favorites from All Hour Cymbals. Vocalist Chris made a 'Hello Buenos Aires' faux pas, but did manage to make up for it by at least attempting to speak some Portuguese (thanks to his Brazilian wife, we're guessing).
We hung around for Passion Pit and Michael's heavily filtered vocals and jumped ship mid-way through the set to catch Phoenix (though to be honest, as solid performances as both did, I kinda wished I could see PS 22 do their renditions of the bands instead).
Despite the rumor milling churning São Paulo into a frenzy over an alleged appearance by Daft Punk with Phoenix at the festival due to supposed appearances by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter at various hot spots around the city, we cynical unbelievers also left mid-way through Phoenix's set to catch a breather, a piss and another beer.
By then, Hot Chip were up and man, were they so impressive. They were probably my favourite act of the day; with that fabulous live steel drum action and Alexis Taylor's vocal warming me from the ends of my (very long) pony tail to the bottom of my platformed feet.
And last band of the night for us was arguably the most controversial act of the day, Empire of the Sun. Sure it was odd that for a synth pop band, there wasn't a synth to be seen on stage, and sure a helluva lot of it was playback, but I really enjoyed the showmanship of the performance. Some new songs were debuted and we weren't particularly impressed compared to those tracks from Walking On A Dream, but it was a fun spectacle to watch and listen to none-the-less, closing with a guitar smashing finale.
It was, all in all, an excellent day and a festival that was well planned, polite and polished; though I guess all that makes it sound the opposite of what a traditional festival should be, really. In reality, they can be quite an ordeal, especially when music is actually the last thing on most people's minds and the festival is instead simply an exercise for a wretchedly wasted, hot-tranny-mess of a time. Which is fun too, but I was super happy to be able to hang my platforms up at the end of the day well satisfied at the whole event. Congratulations for a festival well done, São Paulo! Now on to the next one...