i've just finished my benicassim review for the plan b website. imagine it fitting nicely around additional reportage by olav and robin. here's the draft...
FRIDAY 5 AGOSTO
Shadowy figures cover the mountain that overlooks the dusty arena. From the slopes they will have a perfect view of Benicassim’s main stage and the main attraction at tonight’s circus. Middle aged, middle of the road and top of the bill, The Cure drizzle onto the stage with a miserable new song. We are not amused, but then what did we expect? Astoundingly (yes, astoundingly) The Cure have thousands of fans in the audience tonight. Surely the Spanish, living in their sun-drenched Almodovarian land populated with raven-haired pin-ups have no right to be daylight eschewing badly made-up Goths? And wasn't I meant to be seeing Peaches anyway?
Back to the 00s Part I: Peaches might have been peddling the same show and album for the past two years but by now she’s got it to perfection. We loved Peaches when she was all pink PVC hot pants, cerise satin brassiere and fake blood. We adore her with costume changes, a fake Iggy Pop, dance routines and boy stage-slave who watches her every move as she climbs the rigging and crawls across the stage.
Don’t get me started on DJs. At some point over the weekend I begin to seriously ponder proposing a ban on lazy record-spinners pulling out ‘Blue Monday’ and expecting people to dance. I kick myself softly with a beflipflopped toe when I find myself waiting, listening with renewed urgency, because maybe – who knows? – this might be a New Remix of ‘Blue Monday’. What does it mean when you’re more intrigued at this possibility than anything else the DJ has to play? Oi Glimmers! Turn the lights off on your way out.
SATURDAY RAVEonettes (Main Stage), Xiu Xiu (Club), Ladytron (Moto), Larry Tee (Moto)
The Raveonettes – idea: are they part of some kind of EU initiative to give the Danes a chance on the international indie rock scene?
There’s no room at a festival funded by litre buckets of beer for a duo like Xiu Xiu. The end of their set is drowned out by the music filtering through from the fashion show in the tent next door. Multimedia in action.
Back to the 00s Part II: Ah, back to the early 00s again: it is safe here. Yes, Ladytron are still robots, and yes they’re still having a ‘who looks more bored’ competition with the audience, which I won. ‘Blue Jeans’ and ‘Seventeen’, however, have entered the electropop canon and remain classics.
Back to the 00s Part III: God bless Larry Tee – electroclash originator and general man about town, he’s the bald, old, NY version of Erol Alkan without the indie. Ok, he’s not like Erol at all, but since I missed the Trash man’s set this morning, Mr Tee will have to do. Predictably, Larry mixes (mostly on CDs – but, hey, I’m no purist) ‘Mr Brightside’ (Thin White Duke remix), ‘Kinda New’ (Tiefschwartz remix), ‘Washing Machine’ (Tiga remix) and probably ‘Blue Monday’, by which time I’m too caught up to care. We are stage front and loving it. Electroclash is Dead: Long Live Electroclash.
SUNDAY Hot Hot Heat, Rosin, Mylo, Panico
Hot Hot Heat think they can get away with playing jolly self-harm romp ‘Bandages’ about five minutes into the set, but they can’t because I’ve already left to check out Roisin...
Roisin Murphy is My New Project. Anglo-Irish and riddled with unknowable demons, she is utterly sophisticated and suggestively unhinged at the same time. Her voice is a haunting, Celtic lilt which backed by a full band is utterly compelling. I’m not one for all that jazz – Matthew Herbert (her producer) is so not my thing, but her set is worth the coffee table interludes for ‘Sow into You’ alone. I want to grow up immediately and furnish a living room. Her album, ‘Ruby Blue’ is about realising where home is and right now it’s on this stage.
My oh Mylo, where have you been? We dig out our fans and bat the warm air impatiently. He is late, but as soon as 'Destroy Rock'n'Roll's familiar opening speech sounds out we sre all damned to pop hell. Mylo, for any haters out there is a thrilling live proposition and far too much fun to be enjoyed with your clothes on - it’s too hot, darling.
In a little green tent with uneven floors something very exciting is happening. I am falling in Summer Love. I can’t remember who directed me here, but I’m ever so grateful. I think to myself, What could be better than a Spanish punk funk band? Panico are not Spanish, they’re from Chile via Paris, which is even better and after just one song they’re my new favourite band. What can I say? I’m easy.