- By Craig Jones -
- Jul 20, 2012
Excitement was etched on the faces of all those waiting to boldly step foot into the arena for the first time at Beni 2012. Anticipation had reached fever pitch as many had been in the Costa Azahar beach resort for much of the week as most revellers had to make the somewhat awkward trip, a little like a sequel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles, over from England for this special festival set around sandy beaches and golden sunsets. The crowd’s spirits weren’t even dampened by the fact that arguably the night’s biggest hitter, Florence and The Machine, had to drop out because of Florence Welch suffering with a throat problem. So, it was up to the rest of the evening’s entertainment to make themselves known.
The most notable stars shinning in the Spanish clear night’s sky were gothic indie band The Horrors who gave a stirring eerie main stage performance on a night when not a great deal else registered. Ever the showman, Faris Badwan played circus master taking the audience one way and another as the band scooted through their albums ‘Strange House’, ‘Primary Colours’ and ‘Skying’ with suitable ease. One of the warm-up night’s biggest disappointments were At The Drive-In who promised to deliver a great deal but failed to do little more than send revellers wandering around the site’s other attractions such as the fairground and club tent but mostly to the bar.
On Friday, things began to seriously, hot up and that wasn’t just because of the Spanish sun searing down upon the festival grounds. Merrymakers were roused into rebellious rhythm, by the slightly, sweaty Miles Kane who exuded more than just liquid from every pore with a set that roused the troops. An amazing finale included his anthem ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Come Closer’ which got the scouser’s army of fans humming its chorus long after the man from the Wirral had left the stage, wearing his slightly questionable black and white tight fitting trousers.
Another notable Friday night performance came from Londoner Katy B who got the crowds raving well into the early hours with tracks of her own and some classic dance at the Trident Senses stage. While The Maccabees came to the fore with a broodingly intense set back over at the main stage with tracks from their latest album ‘Given to the Wild’ going down a treat.
But the night belonged to one man, not just any man, but the bonafide legend Bob Dylan. The trilby wearing American, who has been in show business longer than Terry Wogan’s wig wowed the main stage with a gig that was as intimate as it was epic. At times, Bobby D made it feel like he was playing one on one in a secluded whisky bar in the middle of Texas and then next minute the crowd were taken to a throbbing political rally. Quite simply for a man of 71 he’s still got it.
Moving onwards to Stupendous Saturday, a night of no filler but pure thriller, as some of Manchester’s finest rocked the main stage. Firstly, Oasis’ more cultured face, Noel Gallagher, took centre spot with his High Flying Birds. Some might say Noel is winning the ongoing Gallagher civil war and it is hard to disagree with Team Noel followers here as the Mancunian put in an effortless enigmatic performance holding the stage like the seasoned pro which he has become. Highlights of the set included ‘If I had a Gun’ and ‘AKA…What a Life’ but it was the nod to what we know him best for which made the performance. He played Oasis classic ‘Whatever’ before ending with a 10,000 strong rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Who knows maybe five years or so down the line Beni might host Noel and Liam reunited once more.
But for now, FIB welcomed the recently reformed The Stone Roses to Spain as Ian Brown, John Squire, Reni and Mani took to the main stage. The aging iconic indie rockers, who have been at war for years, put any problems to one side and delivered an awesome performance way better than expectations could have dictated. At times they seemed the closest of friends and at others the fiercest of enemies but it is this volatile nature which won them so many fans first time round. It is also the reason why so many have flocked to see them since they reformed - nobody can predict how long they’ll stay together.
The Madchester movers minced through their impressive back catalogue including tracks from their self-titled debut and ‘Second Coming’. Songs such as ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘Waterfall’, ‘Made of Stone’ and ‘I Am the Resurrection’ brought down the house. Brown’s stage presence was strong and unpredictable, one moment he was bringing out miniature figures of Bruce Lee then the next he was starting on the cameraman, all with a non-existent smile on his face. Friends or foes it was a happening not to be missed with plenty to adore.
After Saturday’s madness Sunday was anything but subtle comfortably holding its own against its predecessors. Relatively, new kids on the block The Vaccines, turned up the tempo to 11 on the main stage entertaining the young ones with hits from their debut album ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines’. They easily got the crowd into a manic singsong with tracks ‘If You Wanna’, ‘Post Break-up Sex’ and ‘Norgaard’ leaving revellers wanting just a little more fittingly in time for the release of their second album.
Finally, last but not least, Benicassim 2012 was brought to a suitably sizzling synthesized conclusion by reformed Northerners New Order, minus legendary bassist Peter Hook, of course. But the troupe still managed to put in a magnificent performance with lead singer Bernard Sumner getting into the spirit dancing the night away through iconic tracks ‘Blue Monday’, ‘True Faith’, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and all the rest. On what would have been Joy Division singer Ian Curtis’ birthday Sumner paid tribute to his friend with a rendition of the iconic ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ during the encore.
In summary, Beni 2012 was a cavalcade of amazing music, beautiful sunsets, friendly people and bridges rebuilt. If the organisers keep up the theme of signing up warring Manchester artists what are the odds on seeing The Smiths next year? Probably a long shot but who knows stranger things have happened.
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