Live Review

Benicassim 2013: Day Four

A fitting end to what’s been a fantastic festival; The Killers have emerged totally victorious.

Photo: Lucy Hoang
Today begins with LA rock duo Deap Vally opening on the Maravillas stage. The heat is more scathing than ever though, and judging by the largely empty crowd, most fans seem to have chosen to wait until the cooler evening hours to head onto the festival site. They play a reasonably solid set, a few technical hitches being the only real hiccups, but the crowd are relatively silent and clearly struggling to cope with the fieriness of the sun, resulting in everything coming off a little weak.

Australian/New Zealand/London lads Splassh are just walking out onto the Pringles stage as we arrive, and they pull in a decent crowd. Their slacker lo-fi guitar pop jams sound great in this weather and are perfect for some lazy, early evening head-nodding. However, as the sound of Palma Violets begins to drift over from the Maravillas halfway through their set, the crowd slowly dissipates and we ultimately decide to give chase.

We show up just in time to catch the ridiculously good ‘Best Of Friends’, which the distinctly youthful audience devours with utter joy. The band are incredibly energetic, the heat clearly not bothering them one bit, and their performance is charmingly sloppy. It’s literally all over the place, musically, and physically, but is absolutely irresistible to watch.

As we make our way to the Trident Senses stage hoping to see some of AlunaGeorge’s set, we find out that Azealia Banks has cancelled her headline slot there due to illness, and AlunaGeorge will now be taking her place later tonight. Brills. We decide to hang out regardless and check out France’s music-video-director-cum-awesome-music-maker Woodkid. What an amazing choice that proved to be, because he’s truly amazing live. Accompanied by two orchestral drummers, a horn section, and some spectacular visuals, his set is cinematic, dramatic and powerful. Simultaneously hard-hitting and delicate, he plays through the near entirety of latest album ‘The Golden Age’ to a thoroughly appreciative and massive crowd, much to his seemingly unexpected delight.

Back at the Maravillas, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are powering through their ever-expanding collection of mid-tempo rock and roll numbers. They look all suave and stylish as ever, and they sound spot-on, but it all gets a bit drab after five or six songs of exactly the same pace and style. The weather is finally cooling down though and the crowd are getting a bit more animated, but apart from ‘Spread Your Love’, BRMC don’t possess the tracks to fulfill these fans’ danceable desires.

A return trip to the Trident Senses stage sees AlunaGeorge reveling in their impromptu headline slot, sending the audience into a frenzy with the superb ‘Attracting Flies’ and the majestic ‘Your Drums, Your Love’. They fill the stage well, Aluna making full use of the available space and seeming incredibly confident as a performer. The sound they produce is absolutely massive as well, especially considering there’s only two of them. Really impressive stuff. Azealia who?

The winding down of the festival is now nearly upon us, and it’s time for The Killers to close out Benicassim. Their set is, arguably, the best of the weekend. Bravely opening with ‘Mr. Brightside’, the bar is set high from the off, and it never really drops. The crowd go truly insane thanks to Brandon Flowers’ constant encouragement, and there’s an almost creepy smile constantly plastered to his face. But it’s a smile of pure joy. You almost forget just how many hits they’ve had, with ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’, ‘Human’, and ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ proving they they’ve truly got the back catalogue to handle such a prestigious festival slot. And they still sound totally relevant and timeless, which is a great testament to how good their songs really are. Finishing with some spectacular glitter cannons and massive fireworks, they end with a bang on ‘When You Were Young’ and milk the epic rock ending for all its worth, and rightly so. It’s a fitting end to what’s been a fantastic festival, and The Killers have emerged totally victorious.

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