Benicassim 2009

posted 26 Jul 2009, 04:11 by Harry Cooke   [ updated 28 Jul 2009, 02:06 ]

"FIB" (Festival Internacional de Benicássim) is a festival like no other. To start with, we had to get there. Flying into Madrid we hired a car and set of on the 4 1/2 hour drive, past Valencia and onto Benicassim in the vehicle that eventually became our lodgings for the week. 

The next difference is that FIB is at night. The gates open around 6pm and headliners are on around 1am with bands/dj's then on stage until anything up to 8am. This means plenty of time for hitting the beach, finding a cool bar to hand out in and charge the phone (I would recommend Cafe del Corb which has sockets in abundance, if you can stick out the Spanish Punk, they also play some decent music, and the beer is cheap).

So I should start with some Music. Irish band The Coronas (Not to be mistaken with Los Coronas who played 4 hours later) kicked off proceedings on the second stage with a performance that snapped me out of holiday mode and planted me firmly watching live music again. Over on the main stage The View were pumping out their typically unintelligible lyrics. Only an hour into the first day and we had our first circle pits in with the moshing. This was the first time I noticed the numbers of Brits over here as I can't imagine the Spanish have caught onto the chant of "The View Are On Fire" so quickly.

The Mystery Jets then showed everyone in the audience, including me, that they were more than capable of performing to an Oasis-sized crowd. The Mystery Jests have eluded my CD collection up until now, but they were certainly one of the bands that I'll be trying to listen to more now I'm home.

The View enjoying backstage                   .

When it comes to bands like Oasis, opinions don't matter anymore. Everyone has their view of Oasis already. Their set was full of hits, kicking off with "Rock and Roll Star", including "Supersonic", "Whatever", and playing "My Big Mouth". There were, however, the same sound problems which have plagued Oasis in recent months. "Wonderwall" blew the PA and the monitors and took the band off stage for a couple of minutes, but when "Champagne Supernova" produced the same effect Liam refused to stop playing. The crowd duly sang along, watching (But not hearing) the band via the Video Screen, and when the sound kicked in the crowd had done a good job and appeared to be pretty spot on in their timing. We were also treated to an acoustic version of "Don't Look Back in Anger" which rounded off my evening nicely.

Glasvegas then played through their set, but I must admit by this point the lure of the pool backstage had gotten the better of me and "Geraldine" was slightly obscured by the water in my ears, and the Vodka + Lemon being provided by Fight Like Apes as their Artist wristband trumped mine at the bar and the drinks ended up 'libre'- happy days!

Day two was a bit of a write-off. Paul Weller made it on stage, and completed "Changing Man", but couldn't complete his set due to a combination of the huge bush fire raging just outside the perimeter of the arena and the building winds. The crowd became more frustrated as time ticked on, and very little information was provided. First, it was obvious Weller wouldn't be returning and so couldn't do his duet with Liam Gallagher. 

The tension built with the winds as people hoped for Kings of Leon to make an appearance, but the sight of 3 black Mercedes speeding off confirmed the worst and they escaped to their next venue. Maximo Park were the next to fall from the main stage list as the "Fib Club" stage was closed down for safety, confirming Fight Like Apes would move onto Latitude Festival without playing in Spain and The Horrors would also cancel.

Overnight half the main stage roof was ripped off, beer tents went flying and took out the power and many campers’ tents ended up on the train line. Seeing the devastation the next day sobered up the previous night’s complaints; closing down the festival seemed like the best course of events in hindsight.

Main Stage - Same place before and after wind

Day three didn't start well with the news that Foals has pulled out of their second stage appearance with a "mystery illness", leading to much swine flu speculation. This left me with a day at the partially destroyed Main stage, and what a day it turned out to be. Waiting for Lily Allen to come on-stage we spotted an unmistakable trilby, and that Geordie voice shout out "We are NOT Lily Allen" before Maximo Park stormed on stage and blew away the memories of the disaster the night before. Lily had become the latest mystery illness victim. Maximo Park lifted the spirits and really got the whole crowd going with a fantastic mix of new and old. I'm sure they will have picked up a few more fans with "Apply Some Pressure" marking the rejuvenation of FIB 2009.

Elbow then became my favourite band of the festival. Guy's voice carried well, his speech in Spanish endearing him to the home crowd their incredible set sweeping up anyone who was listening, or in most cases singing along. Elbow are now on repeat on my iPod.

Maximo Park

Franz Ferdinand then kicked up a gear and got the party started again, they are obviously popular worldwide and with a tight performance of "Ulysses", "This Fire", "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out" you can see why. The party mood continued on with 2 many djs, who manage to get songs like Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" and seamlessly merge them to Michael Jackson, then to Prodigy then to Nirvana. I wouldn't say dance music is my thing but by now the drinks were flowing, the party was in full swing and 2 many djs had us in the mood for a dance, so Steve Aoki brought the sun up with a fantastic mix of tunes I'll never remember and a hangover I'll never forget.

White Lies

Sunday was our final day and seemed to fly by. Everyone was on earlier than listed, and again with poor information it was easy to miss a band. White Lies showed why they won the MOJO Breakthrough Award, with their fantastic "Farewell to the Fairground" being sung back to them with great excitement. Freindly Fires showed everyone how to dance, and reminded us of the fact we were on holiday with "Jump in the Pool". Peter Doherty was due to be on stage after them, but we saw him about half an hour later backstage chatting with fans and showing that he might, just might, be ok. He finally made it on stage later on, to effectively close the Festival.

The Killers

The Killers headlined the main stage on the final night, and didn't disappoint. I last saw them at Leeds Festival in 2005, remembering a great sing-along set, however, since then I'd heard many reports of bad sound quality from venues as varied as Glastonbury to the Albert Hall. Not tonight though with loud, clear songs, like "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine", "Bones" giving us a bass solo and the ever-popular "Mr Brightside".


Harry Cooke 

© SleepOnTheLeft