Nova Batida
LX Factory / Village Underground, Lisboa
14-15 Set 2018
On our way to Lx Factory, an intense smell of urine fills our lungs, awakens our senses, feeds the Sartrian nausea present in our hearts. So that the turists, who are not present but omnipresent, can be aware that despite all their efforts, and our own to please them, some things will never change. Such as the smell, the garbage, the architectural and psychological decay and the emptiness of our wallets. The same emptiness that prevented Nova Batida's audience from being mostly born and bred in the same town - or, at least, the same country - where the festival was held. Over two days we managed to learn every possible English accent, to train our english, and to reminisce about Sir Bobby Robson with geordies who had no qualms on doing a huge line of coke right in front of us. It's a different culture, after all.

We wouldn't have expected anything else, since this festival, put up by London promoter Soundcrash, was designed specifically for turists. They could have, of course, helped them reach their destination better, since the map they provided showcasing the full venue resembled an ancient, paleolithic drawing. And virtually no signs indicated where the action would be. Sure, this was Nova Batida's first year, and there is always room to improve. We can use that as an excuse. What we won't excuse is the fact that drinks were priced both in euros and in pounds. Straightly put, go colonize a huge helping round of fuck you.

Credit where it's due, though: brits are fun and they know how to have fun. And while most people here obviously came from good places financially, they're not the same fucking posh types we see on nearly every Portuguese electronic music festival, parading around with their Zara shopping bags, trying their hardest to be seen, filling their Instagram accounts with shitty selfies they won't remember after three or four days drinking and vomiting and drinking their vomit. Brits actually try to dance to the sound they're hearing. They actually wave their arms and move their legs. They actually ENJOY the music. (This is overly exaggerated, but yeah, posh types are the scum of the earth.)

And dance did they, first to some french touch and disco on Lx Factory's terrace, then to some ambient techno at the Village Underground, before MNDSGN took the main stage to showcase some funk, hip-hop and house rhythms, right after telling us not to be afraid to move. There aren't many people here, but the music is good, the weather is great and MNDSGN looks pretty happy to be playing for the first time in Portugal to a not-Portuguese audience. Some time afterwards, we had the chance to listen to the wonderful Yazmin Lacey, a Woman (capitalization needed) with an amazing voice, accompanied by guitar and organ, who brought a huge amount of soul without the batida. So delicate and smooth was she we almost forgot this is a dance music festival; she should've been playing to a seated audience, impregnating our hearts with nothing but love for mankind. Such as the love we saw in many couples who were present, listening, hugging and kissing one another. Beautiful.

Mount Kimbie was the main dish Nova Batida's chefs served us, and they brought many people to Village Underground's main stage. Melodies, rhythms (some taken out of the great book of krautrock), some very metallic riffing, great grooves, and it's party time. Thing is, we'd rather tune in to the football match on our little pocket radio. As we explained to a few people, the Portuguese love football more than they love their lives. The match was over by the time Maribou State played at Lx Factory, though, and we still managed to catch some of the action: indie-dance with the occasional singer, songs transitioning into one another like in a DJ set. It seemed good enough, but the sound in this particular room is worse than British weather.

Day 2 of Nova Batida brought with it more DJs, more live acts and more islanders from the north; but only at night. When Niven was playing, with the sun still shining, we counted a total of five people watching his set - one of which a female photographer who, just a bit earlier, had danced in Lx Factory's terrace with a well-known Portuguese filmmaker, João Botelho, without knowing who he was. Let us try to explain it to foreign, electronic music loving audiences: João Botelho is the light that guides our dancefloors. If he's there, the show, or set, is good. If he's not, it's shite. As simple as that.

Not many people watched Octa Push, either, one of the finest Portuguese bands of the past decade. When they were not being incredibly rhythmic and danceable, they sampled the mighty Tó Trips and got a female singer to join them on some songs, before paying tribute to Portuguese music legend Zeca Afonso, a name most people here are not familiar with (their loss). The room finally filled to see Little Dragon, who brought their own brand of synthpop and a new album, Season High, released last year. But even Little Dragon could not escape the wrath of the terrible acoustics in this room, even if they managed to make lots of glitter-painted faces happy. Something that also needs improvement if this festival is to be held here, again, in 2019.
· 17 Set 2018 · 15:20 ·
Paulo Cecílio