Benicassim 2012 - Festival review

'The Brits escape downpours for the Spanish sun'

Benicassim 2012 - Festival review

Photographer:Jason Downes

Phil Brady - 17 July 2012

As the flights touch down at Valencia airport and the Brits, escaping the UK downpours, step off those planes to feel the Spanish sun, the atmosphere immediately heats up for the first day of Festival Internationale de Benicassim (FIB).

Shuttle buses scoop up the jet set and roar down the Spanish highways all day long as thousands of sun-loving festival-goers strip to the bare minimum and head to the bustling bars and beaches around the city.

The heat at midday reaches 38 degrees so once the 20,000 tents are pitched or for those lucky enough to get a room, the crowds get ready for what is promised to be a stonker of a festival with The Stone Roses, Bob Dylan, New Order and At The Drive-In headlining.

With Florence and the Machine cancelling, no replacement has been found so At The Drive-In (9/10) take top billing. It's an incredible performance from the troublesome Texans as after Cedric Bixler-Zavala jumps on the drum kit and throws drinks over the photographers, he releases what looks like over a decades worth of angst, starting the set with 'Arc Arsenal' from their 2000 critically revered final album 'Relationship of Command', they rally through 'Pattern Against User', 'Chanbara' and 'Lopsided'.

Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez looks livelier than he has at recent performances, maybe he has re-found that verve that made his erratic shows of yesteryear so attractive with 'Sleepwalk Capsules', 'Napoleon' and 'Quarantined'. Playing 'Enfilade', 'Metronome Arthritis', 'Catacombs' and 'One Armed Scissor’ to complete the set, this band are the epitome of rock 'n' roll here.

The Horrors (6/10) can’t compare. Playing songs from their last two albums 'Primary Colours' and 'Skying', it seems they are trying hard to imitate The Chameleons, Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine while the raw, American garage sounds of their debut album, 'Strange House' has been put on the back burner. It’s great that a band can move on and develop different styles and even better if they do it with originality.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (6/10) give the crowd what they want with a selection of tunes from his self-titled album along with Oasis crowd-pleasers such as 'Don't Look Back In Anger', 'Talk Tonight' and 'Whatever'.

The highlight of the weekend for many are The Stone Roses' (8/10) Saturday night headliner. Bursting on with 'I Wanna Be Adored', Ian Brown is king monkey once more as he apes around the stage, mic in hand, vocals echoing around the arid mountains as the crowd belt out every word to the anthem.

On a longer than usual instrumental on 'Fool’s Gold', Ian shows the camera his selection of Bruce Lee models, Mani looks like a rabbit in the headlights while John and Reni are just cool as fuck. The set comprises of 'Mersey Paradise', 'Something’s Burning', 'She Bangs The Drums', 'Shoot You Down', 'This Is The One', 'Waterfall', 'Love Spreads' and 'Ten Story Love Song', finishing, as is customary, with ‘I Am The Resurrection’.

Jessie J (6/10) laps up the applause after an hour-long set including 'Do It Like A Dude', 'Who's Laughing Now' and 'Domino' while Dizzee Rascal (7/10) busts up the arena opening his set with 'Let The Bass Drop'. He kicks it out with 'Road Rage', 'Bassline Junky' 'Dance Wiv Me' and ending on 'Bonkers'.

The Buzzcocks' (8/10) Pete Shelley tells VF before the show, "It's raining in Manchester as usual so the exodus has arrived". When asked what we have in store this evening he goes on to tell us, "We are treating Benicassim to as many hits as you can shake a stick at and we have plenty of them. We are going to give fans what they want as they say, familiarity breeds contempt."

The moshpit erupts while Shelley sings the plasticy pop sounds of punks freshest era and Diggle struts up and down the stage with his guitar held high in a Townshend-esque fashion strumming his power pop chords and 1 string solos, pleasing the moshers with a greatest hits set including 'Orgasm Addict', 'What Do I Get?' and 'Ever Fallen In Love'.

The Vaccines (7/10) open to a huge crowd with 'No Hope'. Another crowd-pleasing selection includes 'Post Break Up Sex', 'Wreckin' Bar' and 'If You Wanna'.

Chase and Status (8/10) close the Marillas stage with a stomping set and stunning video show, they play a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s classic, 'Killing In The Name Of' and the crowd jump all over the place shouting "fuck you I won’t do what you tell me".

After a short spell of ‘Elegia’ New Order (7/10) close the last night and Bernard Sumner tells the crowd "Today is Ian Curtis' birthday so we would like to dedicate this set to him, of course."

They begin with 'Crystal' from their 2001 album 'Get Ready' as the video to the song is displayed as a backdrop behind the band. The set is a mixture of New Order songs from the last 30 years and a few revamped Joy Division classics thrown in for good measure. They end their set with 'Blue Monday', 'Temptation' and 'Love will Tear Us Apart' to the obvious pleasure of the crowd as the Joy Division anthem is sang by fans all over the festival.

Overall the only negatives at this festival are its location right in the middle of a busy Spanish highway on what seems to be a massive car park and the high drinks prices. With taxes due to increase next year, these could go up again, so you'd better start saving your pennies if you fancy a festival in the glorious Spanish heat rather than a muddy field.


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