Clash Does Benicàssim – Day Three

In conversation with Bastille...

Clash is at FIB, aka Benicàssim, over in that Spain. Every day: a round-up of the day before’s highlights. Part three, naturally, focuses on Saturday.

Fine day one’s coverage here

Find day two’s coverage here

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Feet still aching from a competitive dance-off with Abby from Halifax during Skream’s set last night (“It’s all about the muuuusic”, she cries; “I just get reeally em-ow-tion-al”), Clash slaps itself on the back for managing to get up for breakfast at all. But as the heat rises there’s nothing for it but a rapid decline towards torpor around the pool for the rest of the day.

Saturday night kicks off with a chat with Dan and the rest of Bastille, around whom an inquisitive crowd gathers. The band (pictured, mid-interview) talks about flying – Dan loves it, Kyle hates it – their cover versions project, and not being recognised in public.

Watching Arctic Monkeys later on, Bastille drummer Chris Wood tells Clash that few people recognise him in Britain or abroad. “Unless I’m with Dan, of course,” he says. It’s probably the hair. Dan reveals that he had a run-in with one of his childhood heroes, BBC Newsround reporter Lizo Mzimba, at Glastonbury and was caught unexpectedly with his heart in his mouth (and a monkey hat on his head) on camera (Twitter).

The band is worried the Trident stage looks a bit quiet when they head over in the early hours of the morning. They needn’t have been concerned – by the time Kaiser Chiefs close the main stage, the crowd in front of Bastille has thronged to about 15,000. ‘What Would You Do’ gets an airing, as does school disco classic, Snap!’s ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’. The slow, half-time beats of ‘Bad Blood’ sound huge live, the chorus as sung by thousands of fans resounding across the festival site.

Today, the main stage belongs to the North, with The Courteeners, Miles Kane, Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs representing Manchester, Merseyside, Sheffield and Leeds. What looks and sounds like a home crowd greets The Courteeners, with ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ sounding as good now as five years ago.

Arctic Monkeys are secured by a ring of bouncers as they wander from dressing room to stage entrance, a band apparently so untouchable that even the comparatively refined audience of the backstage area must be kept at bay. Opening in near-darkness, lit only by the giant letters ‘AM’ lit behind them, they are business-like, barely pausing for breath between tracks. A huge crowd extends before them like worshippers, while in some sort of Spanish-style Beatles-mania, women in the front row openly weep at the sight.

Miles Kane joins his Last Of The Shadow Puppets bandmate for a song or two, before Kaiser Chiefs attack the stage, singer Ricky Wilson a rocketing ball of energy bouncing off the walls, bandmates, and any equipment left lying around.

Backstage, Clash tracks down the man pulling the strings, former Mean Fiddler boss Vince Power. Despite the recession and tough times all over for the music business, he’s buoyant about the future of Benicàssim and other festivals, and insists that his very welcome brand-free Hop Farm festival will make a return.

As Clash drifts off for the day, the festival divides between Italian DJ Benny Benassi, who fills the main stage with his unmistakable brand of Eurocheese, while XFM’s Sunta Templeton keeps it Anglo-Saxon by dropping, in her own words, “a bag full of indie bangers” over at Fibclub. A fitting end to day three of this pan-European musical love-in.

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Words: Michael Parker

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