Live Review

Beacons Festival 2013

Beacons is growing up fast.

All photos by Xander Lloyd

Set on the sweeping moorland of Skipton, the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, Beacons is growing up fast. Fun Adults, whose sophisti-pop bears the groove of Wild Beasts and Alt-J kick off musical events, before fellow Leodiensians Nope are about as far removed from this restraint as possible, delivering a semi-improvised set that’s as hypnotic as it is viscerally satisfying.

Some technical issues mar later sets, and it’s Bonobo who perhaps suffers most. Thumping yet sedate, it isn’t until right next to the stage that his grooves cut through. The only antidote to this frustration is the blistering Fucked Up, cathartically destroying everyone with their swathe of guitars in what’s likely to be their last UK show for a while.

It’s East India Youth’s aggressive arpeggiated journeys that really impress during his set, before Gold Panda makes it all seem so easy - the deftness with which he handles his equipment is spellbinding to watch even on its own. On the You Need To Hear This stage, Mikal Cronin sends the crowd’s feet a-jumpin’ with his confessional garage songwriting, while Machinedrum’s drum & bass and hip-hop heavy set makes sure those same feet keep moving until the early morning.

Jon Nash must be the hardest-working man at the festival. Not satisfied with having already drummed with Nope, he spends Sunday drumming with Hookworms before running to play frontman for Cowtown. The former’s chugging psychedelia is the perfect hangover cure, while the latter’s delightfully complex and sugary post-punk decidedly isn’t, though brilliant all the same. Reports are Nash is later seen doing a shift at the bar and litter-picking.

Elsewhere, Drenge and Danny Brown both enjoy an enthusiastic crowd yet both lack some of the youthful attitude that they usually have in bounds. The headline segment of the evening suffers too, with Savages playing one of the smaller stages leaving many without a glimpse of the band. This disappointment is, however, easily alleviated with the quality of the rest of the night. James Holden’s joy radiates as his intriguing trance-like beats take the crowd at the Red Bull stage to altered states, while Theo Parrish & Andres provide a mammoth masterclass of a set.

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