Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review // Beacons Festival 2012

I'm back from Beacons! I've only just recovered after a thirteen-hour sleep, my Mother's amazing cooking and the sheer post-festival bliss of a shower and an ACTUAL DUVET. I don't even know where to begin and anything I write won't do it justice, it was one of the best weekends of the Summer thanks to: Emergency shopping trips into Skipton with people we didn't even know, the Hokey Kokey troupe, The Impossible Lecture Tent, Carrie-Anne The Merman, Kate Bush kareoke, Pendurance, introducing everyone to the celebrity name game but adding Merlot into the mix, the festival death rumour this year being Bruce Forsyth, taking fancy dress Friday way too far, watching Team America at 1:30am, nearly getting thrown out during a Jeremy Kyle theatre performance for laughing so hard, 'You Can Call Me Al', trying to explain to people what 'Going To The Store' was via interpretive dance, learning all the words to 'Ladies In The Back', King Krule always being sat next to toastie heaven, drunken renditions of 'I Am Woman', doing the Count Von Count mouth and the Usain pose everywhere, King of Bins, Trina loving life, the best sausage and mash ever, singing 'Wildest Moments' in epic fashion even when innapropriate, Willy Mason being 'totes emosh' on a hangover, the Niktionary discussion, singing 'Whiskey In My Whiskey' whilst doing the ho-down, the bro who scaled the side of the dales by jumping the fence during XXXY with about 100 people cheering him on before proceeding to hide in a lavender crop, the best Sunday sunset resulting in a tan for once, the "I just saw a shooting star!"/ "No you never, you're just high..." conversation, boys getting naked to Japandroids, a one-legged man spiking peoples' face-paints with acid and the fact that I survived the whole weekend without taking a sleeping bag. PHEW. My brain is fizzing, I could go on forever! Anyway, My review is further below along with a some film snaps. Enjoy!
Review // Beacons Festival 2012
After a cancelled event last year thanks to an unexpected bout of flash-flooding, the team behind Beacons Festival upped sticks and relocated to the Funkirk Estate in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales for 2012, complete with one of the best line-ups this summer, spanning from new favourites to past classics all for our musical enjoyment. Well, ‘How was it?!’ we hear you cry- and to be frank, for its first official year, it couldn’t have really gone much better. Aside from an unorganised accreditation cabin greeting us upon arrival and no ATMs’ available on site, the jam-packed weekend of music and arts came and went phenomenally, with only a few minor hitches. In the first instances of the musical entertainment, Friday was seen as one of my personal favourite days to look forward to and certainly deliver, it did indeed. The Stool Pigeon tent (adorned with a smattering of multi-coloured bunting and viewed as the ‘main stage’ of the weekend) saw Veronica Falls perform their surprisingly cleanly executed graveyard gothica (What did you expect with track titles such as ‘Found Love In a Graveyard’ and ‘Misery’?), infused with pop-driven female whispers and dare I say it, even twee undertones, which when juxtaposed with lo-fi rolling riffs did work in partnership for a hauntingly gorgeous set.
Sticking with The Stool Pigeon stage and having just released her debut full-length ‘Devotion’, the stunning Jessie Ware was up next, serenading her audience through tracks such as next single ‘Wildest Moments’  and fan-favourites ‘110%’ and ‘Running’. Although the album on record comes across with an extremely chilled, almost restrained vibe, her live set was a total treat which made past releases that I’d listened to digitally sound, well, underwhelming- everything that her live show was not. Fusing together proportionally epic vocals with 808 beats and a sprinkling of  R&B thanks to Julio Bashmore on production duty, Miss Ware is the latest London underground sweetheart who definitely can deliver to the surrounding ‘hype’, a term of which is often a death sentence for many emerging artists but of which I can assure you, not in this case. After running over to catch Disclosure bring their fantastic live set straight from the party isles of the Mediterranean, the teenage brothers opened with their latest smash ‘Control’, causing the crowd to vibrate into full pulsations of euphoria, however, after an (apparently) leaking big top tent and blowing a speaker, the boys unfortunately called it a day at risk of their equipment failing, which came as one of the biggest disappointments’ of the weekend, along with Julio Bashmore cancelling his after-dark set (One rumour was an ear infection, although despite continuing on with his Radio show, many mused that he’d left on a jet plane for Ibiza…). It appears that Yokrshire just isn't ready for some of the biggest sounds of 2012…
Turning things a lot more punk over on the Vice/ Noisey Stage was Salford-hailing PINS, whom played their thrashing set whilst sporting balaclavas in ode to Pussy Riot, a small yet significant touch as rumour got round the site about the breaking news in Russia (A move that the sharp-folksters of Wild Beasts would also later adopt within their headline set). Nevertheless, the quartet- having just signed to Bella Union the previous week- celebrated in style with droaning guitar lines, aggressive drums and moody murmurs all collectively flying the flag for female-fronted punk rock; think Vivian Girls meets Warpaint if they all grew up in a grim Northern city, then you may just get the idea. Moving on to Saturday (After being woken up by the fabulous Impossible Lecture Tent continuing on their 72-hour stint of live performance art, this time by a transvestite Merman only known as Carrie Anne…) and it was Japandroids turn to tear the roof off, as the Vancouver twosome played a rare British festival set combining tracks from both their freshman and sophomore releases. Bursting with rough energy, light-speed garage rock drumming and marathon sing-alongs; heck, a world tour into the year and its clear these boys can still put on a fucking classic rock show- and from the reaction of an ever-growing naked crowd, I’d say the fans would agree too.
Taking things down a notch as the perfect sunset soundtrack, Archy Marshall aka King Krule (Formerly known as Zoo Kid, still with me? Good!) played through a relatively unknown amalgamation of work, having only released a five-track EP back in 2011, Marshall still managed to draw in a packed-out horde of onlookers. Merging  together the cheeky attributes of Jamie T (If he were a full time stoner-crooner, that is…) with heart-wrenchingly poignant imagery and nothing less than a pure talent in forms of his unpredictably brilliant guitar playing, it’s hard to believe that this artist is still only a teenager. Romantic, lucid and ever so cheekily charming in leading the way for the next generation of young British musicians, we’re certainly on tenterhooks as to what is next up for this fiery gentleman. Also flying the flag for generation Y was the achingly handsome Swim Deep, having just signed a deal with RCA Sony only this month and making a whole host of friends amongst tour buddies with the likes of Spector and Pond- Austin, Higgy, Zack and Cavan take the often over-kneaded genre of “beach grunge” for Brits and plummet their own brand straight into the veins of it. Looking like they had raided a Saved By The Bell character’s wardrobe, the B-town boys combine texturally soft vocals and blisters of creeping synths with hypnotizing basslines, in order to submerge your mind, body and soul into a Sunshine haven that would help even the most Northern bloke escape from the muddy reality awaiting just ten feet outside the surrounding canvas shell.
The final day of Beacons saw not the most welcoming of environments as we shook off our hangovers below the ridiculously gloomy skyline and headed over to the arena to catch Willy Mason. Now, all truth be told, I genuinely had never listened to any of his previous work in the past but with a friend in tow urging us that it would be nothing less than beautiful, she was every statement in the clear as I was literally a note away from tears by the end. Drawing in one of the biggest crowds of the whole weekend as Mason and his selective band consisting all of two, performed tracks such as ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Hard Hand To Hold’, one could have heard a pin drop within the mesmerizingly respectful crowd- of whom, don’t get me wrong, the rapturous appreciation was certainly shown when required. Female vocal whispers and a Johnny Cash-serenades wove around his fragile, emotive chords that provided the perfect ease into the day and an extremely pleasant surprise for this new-found fan right here- and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
After an absolute biblical downpour mid-afternoon during XXXY (I couldn’t count on one hand the amount of times I got perpetually stuck in the mud…) the sunshine came out in full force for Star Slinger’s set, seeing a huge overflow outside the tent after dropping the likes of Bone Thugs N Harmony classics along with Nicki Minaj bangers and Gold Panda favourites; the Manchester-based producer wiped the floor with his swipe of the old and new, successfully banishing the blues for even the biggest party-poopers on site (Er, the security dishing out the evils next to the Greendales Stage, maybe?). To most passers-by who took notice of the throbbing, ever-expanding crowd evidently having one of those ‘moments of the weekend’, it appeared that from this view it would be difficult to comprehend that this performance was nothing but one man and his MacBook onstage. One. Singular. Guy. Oozing with slick mixes and euphoric inflation, it was clear to see as the sun set over Beacons that this was the highlight of the weekend- seriously- I can still feel the twerk cramp in my thighs now…
Thanks to everyone at Beacons / I Like Press and we will hopefully see you next year! 
Words and images by Yours Truly (Except image #3 which i stole from Harriet) X

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