Skipton, Yorkshire | August 17th-19th
Beacons festival is only in its fledgling second year (first proper, considering 2011 was cancelled due to flooding,) but there’s no denying these organisers know how to put together a line-up. The likes of Mount Kimbie, Factory Floor, Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston’s A Love From Outer Space, Junior Boys, Maya Jane Coles, Oneman, Koreless, Jam City, Huxley, and of course Radio One’s Julio Bashmore all lit up this year’s bill.
After some very last minute line-up additions of our own to the Beacons party train, Crack was unable to arrive until early Saturday morning. A quick download of the Beacons stage times app revealed that, tragically, we were going to miss our former cover starlet Jessie Ware, the Disclosure boys, headliner Roots Manuva and Greendales stage closer Herr Bashmore, who reportedly cancelled his set.
The Greendales stage was the first port of call, with Lakosa providing Mosca-esque house vibes in the early afternoon. 2:54 were next on the menu over at the Stool Pigeon stage, pleasantly easing us into proceedings with their downtempo indie rock.
Crack headed over to the Noisey tent next to catch London’s Weird Dreams play their brand of lo-fi So-Cal tinged slacker rock. The set didn’t go so smoothly for the band, with snapping guitar strings derailing their confidence. As they struggled to get going, they didn’t sound as strong as their records promise.
Night Slugs’ Jam City caught our attention over at the Greendales with Discreet Unit’s Shake Your Body Down. Later at the same stage, Night Slugs founder Bok Bok smashed it out with the heavily B-More influenced house that Slugs’ have been pushing for some years now, and with great effect judging by way that the crowd was going off.
Back over at the Stool Pigeon stage, the eagerly anticipated Canadian duo Japandroids had already begun to tear through their set to a packed out tent. Highly entertaining if less than original, the racket they summon as a two-piece never fails to astound.
After a trip to Beacons Social tent to attent the excellently named Acid House Gentlemen’s Club, we realized that only 20 minutes ofGhostpoet remained, so we rushed over to catch the Brownswood Recordings man just in time for Liiines and excellent set closer Cash and Carry Me Home, catching a few shots of him in the process.
Koreless had the Greendales stage wrapped round his little finger at 9pm, with the tent practically full upon arrival. Beautiful sounds as usual, with 4D earning a huge response towards the end, but Crack felt the overly chilled out vibes were a bit at odds with the previous banging sets in the same tent.
Finally, the set we had most been looking forward to seeing all weekend, Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston presenting A Love From Outer Space. We had pretty high hopes, and neither Sean nor the inimitable Weatherall disappointed. Genuinely up there with the best sets we’ve ever witnessed, the fact that Oneman and Pearson Sound were playing in the Greendales tent never even crossed our minds (but according to reports from others in our group, they smashed it as well). This handmade sign just about sums things up:
Fast forward to 2pm the following and Frankie and The Heartstrings were easing everyone into the day with their brand of inoffensively upbeat indie, which was pleasant without being groundbreaking. Wolf Music-affiliated Casino Times were next up and did well to play slow, deep disco house alongside the warmly appreciated Rainbow Road by Tornado Wallace and Tensnake’s Holding Back My Love to a fairly small crowd of the hardcore ravers as well as those who hadn’t hit it quite as hard the night before.)
A slight change of pace next in Willy Mason, Save Myself, We Can Be Strong and Oxygen turning out to be the best singalong moments of the festival. After a torrential downpour which forced everyone to whatever shelter they could find, XXXY impressed us with his set, interspersing his own productions with old school US garage vocal tracks. A highlight of the set came in the shape of Doc Daneeka’s edit of GattoViola’s Backstabbing Angie For a Ten Bag, a brilliantly titled Angie Stone sampling number.
After playing one of the standout sets at Bristol’s Love Saves The Day earlier this summer, Huxley was not to be missed. As usual he didn’t disappoint, with the biggest crowd reactions coming from the yet to be released Eats Everything remix of Adam F’s Circles. Similarly large was Bashmore’s Au Seve, followed by the recent Huxley remix of Pirupa’s Party Non-Stop and the much appreciated early Hux number Shower Scene.
Unfortunately with the four hour drive and impending and work on Monday morning, we made our way back to get the tents down and packed away. All too quickly our weekend was over, yet Beacons 2012 was vastly enjoyed.
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Words and Photos: ‘Artbeats.