Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ben 10

What's up campers? I have been back from Benicassim for 4 days now and have only just condescended to the Internet to make a blog post about it. Lucky for you, the condescension starts NOW.

First up: was it a good holiday? We flew out from Gatwick to Valencia on the 11th of July about 5 hours later than expected, meaning we missed our train and had to get a coach to the campsite instead. In retrospect this was a much easier option. We ended up watching the World Cup final at a little Spanish bar in Benicassim ("Heitinga barely touched 'im!") then walked to the beach. We all went to swim in the sea, at night, which was absolutely amazing. We (as in everyone but me) then slept on a little grassy patch near the beach, until the sprinklers came on at 6:00am. (Wet) People then transferred to the beach, apart from me, I was happy enough to walk along the waterfront and watch the sun come up. From there we walked to the festival site and got our festival bands (one for the festival, one for the campsite). We then made our way to the campsite by taxi, it being a fairly long walk from the festival site to Villacamp, where we were staying.

Villacamp was supposed to be the best campsite to stay at, you had to pay extra but it had tree cover, which both blocked out the sun and breeze, making it simultaneously cooler and more humid. The first night we drank vodka, and I can only blame dehydration on the ridiculously small amount of vodka I consumed before I found myself plastered, vomiting on the ground just outside my tent (and all over the footwear that happened to be placed there). It would be beer and water exclusively from then on. I can't expand on what happened in detail in the following days, simply because there were no daily excursions or adventures. It was pretty much "go to the beach, stay, come back". There were some notable times - the day we went to the water park was a particular highlight, a friend having an allergic reaction to watermelon being an entirely different sort of highlight, however it is safe to say that I was really looking forward to the festival. The festival stretched Thursday to Sunday, and actually had a pretty decent line-up. Not out-of-this-world, but pretty solid.

At this point I have to make some things clear. I do not like hot weather. I have been to Iberia many times and have yet to be captivated by it. I do not like the beach. So why go on holiday to Spain? For FiB. The festival was all that mattered to me, I only wanted to see the bands. The fact that along the way I had some fun and got to know some new people was just a bonus. Now onto the reviews.


The Temper Trap
So I had seen them before. But they were great then, so why not see them again? They are a great live band, however it was funny how nearly everyone in the crowd only knew Sweet Disposition. They started one song which sort of sounded like the intro to Sweet Disposition and people started singing along - to the wrong song. Amusing for me, still a very good performance.


Scratch Perverts
Not my sort of music. At all. Was only there find people I knew.


Broken Bells
Just... wow. Why do I not have their album? Anyway it was one of the best live performances I have ever seen. Right at the front (as one should be) and they absolutely nailed it.



Mumford and Sons
Stupidly I missed the start of their set and ended up a fair way back, but they still played really well. I feel as though I can't give them a proper review, having missed the start of their performance.


Vampire Weekend
"I saw them before they were big, you know." Possibly the most pretentious sentence you can utter during a set but it is also true - I can't help pointing it out. They were pretty good - I sneaked off early to see Unknown Pleasures.


Peter Hook's Unknown Pleasures
Well it is the closest thing I will get to seeing Joy Division. Peter Hook stood in for the un-stand-in-able Ian Curtis, he played a collection of Joy Division songs. And yes - Love Will Tear Us Apart was the final song and it was amazing. Is it cynical, is it what amounts to a cover band? I don't care. It is the closest I will ever get to going to a Joy Division gig.



The Specials
How do you get thousands of sweaty people all to do the same dance? Book The Specials. They were really good, there isn't much I can say about them - you would be shocked to find they were awful.


Public Image Ltd
Yeah, I know. I was looking to kill some time and I recognised the name, but I couldn't remember where from. When the band came on stage I realised - it is John Lydon's band. I seem to remember the opening song going on for about 12 minutes - however looking at the MP3s of the studio version it is apparently 3 and a half minutes long. Anyway they were crap, but people seemed to be going mental for it. I've never seen so many wannabe-groupies in one crowd. I left early and had a little sleep during The Prodigy.


An interesting one, this. Lots of new material - new album is out 23rd August, apparently - which I don't think many people knew. They grew into their set to pull off one of the better performances of the festival, and now I can't wait for that new album.



Two Door Cinema Club
One of the bands I was really looking forward to, mainly due to how quickly their UK gigs have been selling out. They put in a very good performance, is it patronising to call them a "one to watch"? Surely everyone has heard of them by now?


I have seen them before, but they are just fantastic live. I would have liked to have stayed for the whole set but I had a certain Mr. Rascal to see. Still - I would have loved to have seen the whole set.


Dizzee Rascal
I know, what is a guy like me doing watching Dizzee perform live? Simple: everyone loves Dizzee Rascal. It is a scientifically proven fact. So it was a pretty good set, the crowd could have been a bit more enthusiastic but that's just how it goes sometimes.


I don't have their latest album. And their first album is just "somewhere in the house". But you would definitely see them live, and they were definitely great. The screen behind them projected music videos and Snoop Dogg, during the first song, much to the delight of the crowd. I can't quite bring myself to give them a better score than Broken Bells, however.


So Broken Bells were the best performance of the festival, but unlike Reading where I came away with some bands that I needed to look into, there are no new bands that need investigating. I can't help feeling that was the "something missing" for the festival. There weren't many opportunities to see bands you might have never heard of before.

So yes, it was a good holiday. Would I go again? There would have to be an equally-good or better line-up and it would probably just be 5 or 6 days - 10 days is a bit excessive, especially when there is not much to actually do in Benicassim.

So that's it - holiday over, back to work on Monday. And then full-time employment until the 1st of September, when I am finally a student again.

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