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After some thought, I decided that the best way to sum up the general vibe of Benicassim in a way that all University of Nottingham students could understand is as follows: the intensity and sometimes unbearable heat of Black Cherry Lounge or Market Bar, mixed with the demographic of a Saturday night at Rescue Rooms or a Friday evening spent bopping at Pandora’s Box. Oh, and I almost forgot the classy touch of surprisingly high quality showers for campers. If Coco Tang did festivals…

A very special nod must go to Benicassim’s organisers. In hindsight, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong at a festival in a foreign country, especially one which saw temperatures constantly sit very comfortably in double figures, day and night. But, it genuinely never felt like we were more than a few miles from home, which is largely down to the hospitality shown. That, and the fact that you were never too far away from some tie dye or a ‘Geek’ t shirt.

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I wrote about 3 acts out of the many that I saw:

1. Arctic Monkeys

Quite simply, the best British band of this generation. A claim that I say without an ounce of hesitation and one that has surely been confirmed by their recent Glastonbury set. Like their Worthy Farm triumph, Alex Turner and Co. opened with new single ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. This swaggering, dirty riff was the perfect accompaniment to the illuminated ‘AM’ that is now the customary backdrop to their live performances.

Looking relaxed, perhaps with the aid of a few Sangrias, Arctic Monkeys’ set was truly career spanning. In ‘Dancing Shoes’, ‘I Bet That You Look Good…’ and ‘Brianstorm’, The Monkeys can boast some serious indie classics.

But one dimensional, they are most definitely not. Their softer side was also showcased as Alex Turner crooned through ‘Suck It And See’ and new tune, ‘Mad Sounds’. Then fast forward to the present, heavier sound which ‘R U Mine?’ encapsulates, it’s a real testament to them that seven years after their début, they can still produce the goods.

Probably the worst kept secret about AM’s live shows is that the end of their encore is greeted with a goodbye in the form of ‘505’. A brilliant ending to a truly brilliant set.

2. The Killers

While most festivals nowadays boast a Stone Roses-esque ‘nostalgia act’, The Killers were sort of mine. My mid-teen music taste was centred around their debut album Hot Fuss, but admittedly, I’d forgotten about the Las Vegas four-piece in recent years.

First and foremost, what most people (or at least I) had failed to remember is just how many tunes these guys have. Be it, ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’, which can boast one of the catchiest bridges I’ve ever heard in ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier’, or momumental set closer, ‘When You Were Young’, which was accompanied by a firework display.

Of all the acts I saw, The Killers were the ones who really put on a spectacle, a proper show. The biggest compliment I can pay to them is that while they boldly began their set with ‘Mr. Brightside’, possibly their biggest hit, not once did The Killers’ performance lose momentum. True live professionals.

3. Beady Eye

From two great bands, to a band who are primarily made up of an old great band but are now in a not so great band. You catch my drift, don’t you?

Considering I went to Beady Eye’s set expecting little, they still managed to thoroughly disappoint. I’m going to gamble by speaking on behalf of the majority of the disinterested punters that were there by confessing to only attending on the premise that Liam would treat us to a few Oasis tracks. We got two: unconvincing renditions of ‘Rock n Roll Star’ and ‘Morning Glory’, the latter of which providing an ironic chuckle with the line ‘need a little time to wake up, wake up’; that I certainly did.

One of the sparse highlights came from ‘The Roller’, one of their few bearable songs, but even that is a rip-off of the John Lennon classic, ‘Instant Karma’. With Gallagher Senior out of the picture, Beady Eye appear to be little more than a distinctly average Oasis cover band, just without enough of the actual Oasis songs…

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Don’t let that sour note cloud your judgement though, FIB offered an abundance of musical highs. Of the acts not mentioned above, Swim Deep, Skream, Palma Violets and AlunaGeorge treated us to memorable sets. If you’re to take anything away from that short list of artists, make sure it’s that Benicassim’s profound strength is its broad range of acts. Oh, and did I mention the sun?

Ishmael Anwuri

…Ishmael has been listening to – …

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