Festivals

Bright Eyes, Iggy Invasion and getting to grips with Benicassim

A surreal cab journey from Valencia airport. Fifi Trixibelle, sister of Peaches Geldof, is in the back of our cab on the way to the Benicassim Festival site, and we arrive to the sight of Iggy & The Stooges creating a massive stage invasion which desperate security tried to hold back...

Now accustomed to playing festivals, since the Stooges reformed a couple of years ago, they've been clocking up shows at the rate of knots. This one is pure adrenaline, muscle and all the riffs you can air guitar to, "No Fun", swiftly followed by "I Wanna Be Your Dog", cements the fact that we, have, indeed, arrived.

As a Beni virgin, it's a lot to take in. It's dark, it's loud, and there are palm trees and haystacks to sit on. There's a swimming pool too.

I've heard that of the capacity crowd, 75% of tickets were sold to non-Spaniards, a festival record. Even more surprisingly, 65% of those were sold to Brits. Which by my late night calculations works out at just over 40% British music fans here to see Muse, Arctic Monkeys et al, without wading knee-deep in cow manure.

Bright Eyes came on at midnight, in a flash of white, dressed to the nines in suits, and with more instruments than you can count - Conor Oberst plus a nine-strong-ish string and brass orchestra behind him. It was more Arcade Fire, than Arcade themselves.

Intense, lush arrangements, plus bastardisations of tearjerking acoustic numbers like "This Is The First Day Of My Life" into extreme country and western surprised but impressed the festival's maxed-out first night crowd. Recent single "Hot Knives" pumped up and spun the crowd into a dancing frenzy - which tbh is not what you'd expect from their recorded material.

Will file setlist from the Bright Eyes show in the morning, having computer difficulties...

Off to see the best band you've, and I've, never heard of, huge here in Espana apparently, Los Planetas, on the main stage - catch you in the am, with pics and everything.

Vodka fanta limon if anyone's at the bar.


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