Benicassim 2009 - Day Three

Blog by Gordon Bruce | 22 Jul 2009

The crowds of the Benicassim camp emerge from ragged tents post-Hurricane 'Beni' to meet a crystal clear sky. At the semi-collapsed showers, what looks like a group of nomadic desert travellers attempt to clear the grime congealed on their faces. Although there's a sense of disappointment about the whole affair´last night, there´s a collective sigh of relief at the current weather- the show can go on.

Early on the Vodafone stage, Television Personalities´ manic front man Dan Treacy decides it isn´t too soon to get the jokes flying. "Didnt start the fire, didn´t start the fire cos we weren´t here" he quips. Petrified tech crews attempt to shut him up, but with a toss of the head and a smirk, Dan´s back up to his usual tricks. With wide-eyed glee he slurs "This is the bit where we get arrested on drugs charges" before launching into the shambolic classic 'Silly Girl'.

Despite plenty of confused looks exchanging between members and an inability of Treacy to finish a song at the right time, there's an endearing quality to the whole off-kilter affair. Treacy reminds us why his music and his personality have such profound influence today.

By now, Benicassim surely has had its fair share of bad luck? Then Lily Allen goes and gets gastroenteritis. Typical. This leaves a gaping slot on the main stage with big (yet dainty) boots to fill. A small man in a tight fitting bowler hat clutching a leather-bound notebook thinks he can do it. And he certainly does.

Maximo Park arrive to wild adoration after Hurricane Beni stemmed their performance yesterday. Playing an eclectic set, even spoken word cult classic 'Acrobat' gets a showing. Paul Smith sounds like he´s prophesying as his hands splay upwards in a suitably epic fashion. Finishing with underrated gem 'Our Velocity', Smith gives himself the workout the crowd deserves, and is rewarded accordingly.

Elbow as ever put in a powerful performance. The Mercury coveted cherubs are capable of squeezing any emotion out of you with ease. There´s fury in 'Grounds For Divorce', serenity in 'The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver', and joy in 'Bones Of You'. A rare breed of band that has achieved success after a hard eighteen year slog in obscurity, this humble bunch deserve the stage more than any other.

Meanwhile, the stage plays host to The Wave Pictures. They are finally emerging from the mists of the blogosphere after eking out a living as the backing band for the sublime Mountain Goats. Their brew of lyrically potent folk struggles to escape consumption by the imposing stage. Our advice- find The Wave Pictures in an intimate venue at home, and lap up their tongue-in-cheek brilliance as it should be seen.

Franz Ferdinand are unlike many indie bands. Most will shuffle on staring at the floor, whisper a muted "hey" into the mic and rattle off a set. Franz Ferdinand see this as defeatist- they are showmen. So its gaping strides, arms akimbo, and an introductory speech that reads like a Clinton campaign rally. Then they rattle off a set.

Lacklustre tracks off the newest album are de-fibrillated by the stage personae of Alex and co, where most of the time someone is striking an angular pose on a Marshall stack. A giant pre-meditated encore comes packaged with 'Ulysess',' Matinee', 'Michael', and the much underrated 'Lucid Dreams'. The latter is transformed into a twelve minute prog-techno masterpiece. Showmen is definitely the word.

So, a hard act to follow? Not for 2ManyDJs. The two sharply dressed brothers arrive with the objective of cramming as many songs into an hour and a half as possible. There are so many build ups that you can´t help but engage in the melting pot of tension and release. Stand-outs include 90s classic 'Zombie Nation', Bowie´s 'Rebel Rebel', and a genius remix of Beethoven´s Fifth. Always knew a thumping beat was what was missing from that symphony.

Aeroplane are continuing the party strong at the stage, splicing up commercial classics into easily digestible chunks- precisely what´s required at five am. This leaves techno remix maestro and general oddball Steve Aoki to pick up the scraps till eight. Though many a sun-strokedd crowd member is zombified by now, Aoki proves you can still get feet moving at this ungodly hour.

Spirits were soaring today. Despite the grit everyone was discovering in various crevasses of their body throughout the day, last night´s hurricane was all but forgotten. The all-purpose cure is a genius selection of dance, pop and indie, it seems.