Primal Scream's Screamadelica is the swaggering zenith of Saturday at FIB

Festival Internacional de Benicassim 2011 review

published: Tue 26th Jul 2011

Primal Scream

Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2011
near Valencia, Spain, Spain
£165 for 4-days (only no camping available)
last updated: Fri 1st Jul 2011

Tame Impala
Tame Impala are one of the band's that a music lover's band. Immensely talented, they ooze cool, and it's even cooler to like them. Combining the sunshine of the Beach Boys, with 60s/70s psych and turning them into indie guitar pop records is no easy feat, but Tame Impala do it with ease. From the MC5-riffs of Half Full Glass of Wine to expansive swirling guitars of Solitude is Bliss, Tame Impala combine all the great aspects of music and bring them together to sublime effect. Onstage, the Australian band keep it simple and humble, little audience interaction, they get on with their job. As the sun begins to set over the Spanish site, the sun kissed psych pop booming out of the main stage speakers really makes quite the setting. Tame Impala are a band that you have to take under your wing if you're new to them, there's not many bands that can deliver this level of musicianship. Their live show isn't a spectacle, but it's an experience.

Spectrals
Dreamy, tender 60s style guitar pop has made quite the comeback in the past year or so. Bands from the US like Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls perhaps are the front runners of this movement, but the UK's export of this mould, Spectrals, are an equally as exciting talent. The project of Leeds based Louis Jones, it quickly becomes obvious Jones's influences; girls, love and loss, and everything that comes with that. 7th Date, despite stealing the drums of the Ronettes Be My Baby, is just as tender as the 60s beat classic. The jangle guitars of the indie pop gem Peppermint are completely infectious, as is the whole sound of Spectrals. By the end of his set, everyone's on board with Spectrals, humming and walking with a spring in their step. It might sound a bit cliche, but Spectrals produce that kind of catchy pop that makes you want to tear your insides out as you find yourself humming the tunes all day long. Maybe a bad thing, more a good thing, Spectrals are one band for this year.

Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club are a diverse and a very durable band. When we were first introduced to them, they presented themselves as noisy, post-punk revivalists, only to produce an extended acoustic long player for their second album. What would they come up with next? It's all exciting for fans of the band, especially listening to new single Shuffle, with it's sampled opening piano, and intelligent indie pop melodies, live it sounds just as good as it does on record. It's this diversity that makes seeing Bombay Bicycle Club both an exciting but also a demanding experience. You have to experience their noisy moments, their tender moments, and also their intelligent moments. It's the difference that make an exciting experience, but also something which you have to allow yourself to take in, and not just wash over you. But the band certainly know how to write an excellent pop record, Ivy & Gold and Always Like This show their tender pop moments, but it's when the band turn up their guitars and perform Evening/Morning and Magnet and let themselves go slightly that the rest of the audience thrive off.

Beirut
When it comes to intelligent, thought provoking music, with a very international feel, there's no better than Beirut. With songs such as Nantes and East Harlem, both performed in their set at Benicassim, there's a distinct feel, and sound relevant to each place, and to achieve that through music makes for an exciting performance. Combining horns, trumpets, accordions with the typical guitar, bass and drums set up really adds depth and volume, and a real exotic nature to Beirut, something they've been able to achieve for years. It's unsurprisingly then, that despite the latter half of their set clashing with the Arctic Monkeys, Beirut still managed to pull a massive audience, made up mainly of fans from the continent, with the music far more accessible to the ears to these people, rather than the travelling Brits. Despite so much instrumentation, vocal layering is also a big part of the Beirut experience, and when performed live, as the music booms out, the melodies sound impeccable. A definite highlight of the weekend.

Arctic Monkeys
Out of the headliners of Benicassim, it's fair to say that the excitement surrounding the performance of Arctic Monkeys was beginning to build long before the festival. It's an all familiar story about the rise of the band, so I'll not bore you with it once more, but 5 years on, with 4 albums under their belt, their most recent, Suck It & See, is their most demanding, and most exciting one to date. It's more than clear that the American influence is still rife within the band, with Don't Sit Down Or I'll Move Your Chair, one of the sets highlights, sounding like a Queens of the Stone Age desert track. A real foot stomper, a swaggering boogie. They've certainly come a long way, and have seemingly distanced themselves for their distinct British sound. It's these songs that still gain the biggest reception of the night; I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor and the rabble-raising When The Sun Goes Down are, and probably always be, the tracks that keep the audience coming back for more, but with a set heavily concentrated around Suck It & See, it's clear that they're a band still making interesting music, keeping their ever growing fan base wanting more. Alex Turner may still be as awkward on stage as ever, with some worryingly bad dance moves on stage, but as a songwriter, he's more exciting than ever.

Primal Scream
Primal Scream's Screamadelica is without question a seminal album, and one which is best appreciated at 3am. Which is perfect really, as their set is exactly that. Opening with the uplifting guitar strains of Movin' On Up, the band perform the album in full, from start to finish, with unquestionable accuracy. It's sublime. There's really no other way to describe it. Bobby Gillespie, complete with glittery silver blazer, is the perfect frontman. Strutting round the stage like a main 20 years younger, his voice is still impeccable. With the whole band on form, and with a visual show like no other, their set is a real experience. Combining rock with dance, and basically creating acid house and brining it popular culture, the album still sounds as fresh as ever. Sure, there's a few lad rock fans only their to hear, and get, Loaded, but the full 12 minute rendition of Come Together is spine tingling. The early hours of Sunday morning were designed to appreciate this album at its best.
review by: Anthony Hetherington

photos by: Charlene Carr

Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2011
near Valencia, Spain, Spain
£165 for 4-days (only no camping available)
last updated: Fri 1st Jul 2011


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