by / July 20th, 2009 /

Benacassim – Day Two

We’re in Spain for a festival, what could possibly go wrong? Thoughts of Benacassim being unaffected by the weather are immediately dismissed with the festival organisers cancelling headliners Kings of Leon and the majority of music due to severe winds and a huge fire to the right of the Main Stage (see video below). By 10pm, all of the festival’s four stages have been shut down and State is forced to deal with the bizarre situation of being at a music festival with no music. It was supposed to be so easy.

It had started so well. 17-year-old Polly Mackey opened proceedings having won a competition to appear at the festival. Coming across like a young PJ Harvey and decked out in white shades and standard indie rigour, Mackey broke into a fine cover of Radiohead’s -Fake Plastic Trees’ to kick-start a day which was supposed to climax with mass sing-a-longs of -Sex On Fire’ and -On Call’. By the time Mancunians The Paris Riots took to the FIB Club tent, the first signs of the downturn in the night’s fortunes were beginning to show with plastic cups and dirt flying in punter’s faces. On stage, it was all forced swagger and attitude, with the quartet giving the impression that more time was spent preparing their look rather than their poor man’s Ocean Colour Scene tunes.

Spain’s Nacho Vegas meanwhile oozed cool on the festival’s second stage. A crooner reminiscent of Sheffield’s Richard Hawley, his sedate Mediterranean pop soaked in lazy swing was at odds with the hurricane blowing in front of him. By the time his set had finished, the Fib Club tent had become the festival’s first casualty leading to the cancellation of Fight Like Ape‘s Benicassim debut, amongst others.

The Main Stage too was having problems as Spanish icon Alejandro Diez unleashed his sixties-infused power-pop under his Cooper alias. Again sedate and laced with some fine guitar lines, Diez came across like a
Spanish Paul Weller – all style and silver hair. Weller himself was to follow. On fire following the release of the best solo album of his career, the former Jam frontman dipped into a back catalogue of hits such as -Peacock Suit’, -The Changing Man’ and -Out of The Sinking’,intermingled with some of the finer moments from his 22 Dreams LP. There was even time for a riotous -Eton Rifles’ before the organizers pulled the plug 45 minutes into his proposed hour and a half set, as the combination of the wind and the huge fire just outside the festival’s walls effectively killed the festival.

Over on the second stage, former Buzzcock Howard Devoto’s reformed Magazine were in scintillating form, but again a gloriously sleazy run through -Parade’ was stopped mid-way amid fears that the stage was about to collapse on the audience. Three hours in, Day Two was over with sets from The Horrors, Maximo Park, Boys Noize and most importantly Kings of Leon amongst the victims. Bloody weather.

Photo: Óscar L. Tejeda