Live Review

Benicassim 2013: Day Three

An almost faultless set that affirms Arctic Monkeys’ status as a festival-headlining powerhouse.

Photo: Lucy Hoang
We begin day three with our now ritual-istic visit to the VIP bar for pre-band watching bevvies, only to see a mass of people crowded round a sofa with camera crew in tow. Being the inquisitive folk that we are, we nip our heads in to see what all the kerfuffle is about, and find the boys from Bastille taking part in a filmed interview. No offence to the lads, but it was a slightly disappointing reveal. We bet most of the people gathered round probably have no idea who they’re mindlessly gawping at, but hey, they’re being interviewed and they look kind of famous, so gawp away. Onwards.

At the main stage, Mancunian favourites The Courteeners are charming a heavily English crowd with a mix of tracks from latest album ‘Anna’ as well as old mainstays ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘You Overdid It Doll’. Nothing they’ve ever done has been particularly spectacular or ground-breaking, but it gets the audience suitably worked up.

A trip over to the Pringles stage offers up one of the festival’s most pleasant surprises so far, Ireland’s Le Carousel. They play a thoroughly enjoyable half-hour of atmospheric electronic pop, and although it takes a while for them to get going due to some sound issues getting in the way, once those are ironed out their set proves to be a real beaut.

Most of the punters seem to be tripping over themselves to try and reach the main stage at this point, so we follow suit. It’s Miles Kane, and he’s going so over the top with the Liverpudlian-ness today that it feels like a joke. A constant stream of “Let’s fucking ave ya’ then!” and “Fucking go mental on this one a’right?!” as well as various other stock Liverpool-isms flow from his mouth in such an angry manner that it makes him seem slightly demented. The fans are lapping it up though, so we’re obviously just not getting something here.

We then assume our position in the crowd and witness Arctic Monkeys at their absolute finest. It really does feel like they’ve turned some sort of corner at this point, and a few glimpses of the new material prove that their songs are just as strong, if not stronger, than ever. They rattle through all the old cornerstones as well, ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ most notably receiving rapturous receptions. A downbeat, half-acoustic rendition of ‘Mardy Bum’ proves to be truly spectacular, and more recent singles ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘Brick By Brick’ sound absolutely huge. It’s an almost faultless set, and certainly affirms Arctic Monkeys’ status as a festival-headlining powerhouse.

There’s a decent enough crowd at the Trident Senses stage to watch Bastille, but something falls a bit flat with their set, and it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly it is. Though, having just witnessed a spectacular main stage performance from the Arctics, perhaps we’re being a bit harsh. ‘Pompeii’ sounds big and is clearly the one song the audience were waiting for.

We’ve grown remarkably weary by this point, and it seems time to head back to the tent for another near-sleepless rest. On our way back we happen to catch a bit of the Kaiser Chiefs on the main stage. ‘Oh My God’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’ predictably get this ‘don’t give a shit about new material’ crowd well and truly energised. For us, however, it’s not enough to encourage further sleep deprivation, and we opt for some much-needed shuteye.

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