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5 Can't Miss Performances: Primavera Sound LA

From black metal greatness to trailblazing vocal powerhouses, here are a few acts to watch.

mayhem, black metal
Mayhem, Photograph by Ekaterina Gorbacheva

With Labor Day past us, we inching closer to Primavera Sound's Los Angeles debut, which takes place from September 16th through September 18th at the large Los Angeles State Historic Park. It's only right that lineup curators deliver big for this celebrated occasion, and that they have. Keep the below names on your radar and you'll be set for the weekend:



An afternoon performance on a park stage in broad daylight is not what you'd expect from Norway's Mayhem, especially with a stage persona known to thrive on its somber qualities, but it's the type of outlandish features that one can come to expect from Primavera. The band's expected to rip through an array of classics and contemporary gems that will attest to their contemporary strength, as they have in recent years. For those looking for something heavy, the Barcelona stage is where you'll find your fix.

Mayhem, Photograph by Ekaterina Gorbacheva

James Blake

Last year's Friends That Break Your Heart positioned James Blake among the most multi-faceted acts of today, becoming one with the reflective Miles Johnston cover it sports. We had the privilege of seeing the album unfold among the iconic Hollywood Bowl and stood in awe at the accompanying stage presence and musicianship on display. Expect pulsing dance rhythms, heart wrenching vocal melodies, and diverse arrangements throughout Blake's awe-inspiring set on Sunday evening.

James Blake — Friends That Break Your Heart (2021), Artwork by Miles Johnston

Nine Inch Nails

What else needs to be said about Trent Reznor and co.? Every passing performance further cements the industrial, forward-thinking ensemble as legends of the field. Their headlining performance is sure to be another thrilling sight of flashing white lights and explosive instrumentation. Reznor remains as commanding a frontman as ever while Atticus Ross holds the fort on the band's otherwise impressive sonic dynamics, which take new form via the live stage. In short, the Primavera Stage will welcome greatness Saturday evening.


The duo that is Nicolás Jaar and Dave Harrington will close out the Tecate Alta Stage on Friday night in celebration of last year's Spiral — a vibrant, electronic psych-rock composition that is as infectious as it is perplexing. Whether you're coming from Lorde's headlining performance across the field or sticking around after Mitski's moving display, Darkside will prove to be quite the palate cleanser. They've mastered the electronic rock fusion, so we'd be remiss not to recommend basking in their thrilling set.

Darkside — Spiral (2021), Artwork by Valentina Gonzo

Cigarettes After Sex

Sunday's slate of closing performances may very well be the most stacked as it wraps up the festival with sets by Arctic Monkeys, James Blake, Girl In Red, and our recommendation, the hypnotizing Cigarettes After Sex. Selections from 2019's Cry and 2017's self-titled are sure to soothe the thousands after a long day of dancing. This is a summer night glistening experience you'll remember.


It all goes down next weekend (Tickets).


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