A Festival Mixtape: Beacons Festival 2012
As was well-documented last year, Beacons unfortunately fell victim to the 'great' British weather, with flooding leading to the cancellation of the festival. Thankfully, the organisers kept their spirits high and have moved venues (this year's event takes place at the fabulously-named Funkirk Estate near Skipton) and succeeded in booking an even better lineup than last year, if we may say so ourselves. Allow the Motel to guide you through its pick of the acts performing:
1. Toots and the Maytals - '54-46 Was My Number'
Consummate entertainers and legends of the early days of ska and reggae, Toots and the Maytals have an unmistakable sound that endures to this day. They soothed dampened spirits on a rainy Saturday at Bestival last year, and doubtless will have the same crowd-pleasing effect up north this summer whatever the weather. '54-46 Was My Number' is so infectious, and I'll be damned if it doesn't get an airing in Yorkshire.
The Stool Pigeon stage - Sunday, August 19 at 22.30
2. Star Slinger - 'Mornin'
Born in Nottingham and based in Manchester, Star Slinger has attracted praise from a gamut of print press and BBC Radio 1's late-night lineup. His love of recycling the sound of days gone by has created some damned fine new tunes. 'Mornin' straddles the territory between alt, pop and R&B perfectly, sounding fresh enough to appeal to cynics while remaining catchy so as not to scare of those with more mainstream tastes.
The Greendales Stage - Sunday, August 19 at 19.30
3. STAY+ - 'Guardian'
Sticking with Manchester, STAY+ make yet another Fugitive Motel festival mixtape appearance with recent single release 'Guardian'. For those of you who've been struggling to get into them, give this arms-aloft, euphoric electronic cut a whirl. I'm not quite sure what it does in the middle eight - it sounds like it's rattling around an echo chamber having lost its way - but it sure does work well. A cracking vocal turn from Daniel O'Sullivan as well.
The Greendales Stage - Saturday, August 18 at 20.30
4. Au Palais - 'Tender Mercy'
Au Palais are siblings from Canada who've been going down a storm in London (the British one, although perhaps they've had the same effect on London in Ontario - who knows?) Anyway, 'Tender Mercy' is the striking lead track from last year's EP of the same name. You can tell they make their music when the sun is down - it's got an unmistakable kind of 4am tranquility about it - the bit of the night where the world, against all odds, seems to be at peace with itself for just an hour or two until day breaks and the hordes force themselves to abide by their tired daily routines.
Noisey/Vice Stage - Saturday, August 18 at 13.40
5. Mount Kimbie - 'Adriatic'
It may be just 86 seconds long, but 'Adriatic' is a welcome moment of quiet reflection on Mount Kimbie's womptastic debut album Crooks and Lovers. The first Soundcloud comment - "OK, I will buy this album" - speaks volumes really. When you listen to 'Adriatic' in context, it takes your thought processes from: "Hmm, mildly interesting electronica..." to "Oh, really? You just did that, now?" Mount Kimbie gave an immense live performance at In the City in Manchester just under two years ago, so make sure that you don't miss them in their well-deserved second-from-top billing on Friday night.
The Stool Pigeon Stage - Friday, August 17 at 21.30
6. Frankie & the Heartstrings - 'Possibilities' (acoustic, in the back of a van)
Hear ye, hear ye! Frankie & the Heartstrings' Instagram feed suggests that new material is on its way, hoorah! Fingers crossed we'll be treated to some of it over the weekend. In the meantime, get yourselves in the mood for their upbeat rollicking indie rock'n'roll stylings with this acoustic rendition of 'Possibilities', delivered from the back of a very small van.
The Stool Pigeon Stage - Sunday, August 19 at 14.00
7. Goodnight Lenin - 'Ragged Schools'
Not to be confused with the 2003 film of the same name, Goodnight Lenin hail from the Midlands, but sound like they're from the mid-West. It's a lazy comparison for sure, but an accurate one. 'Ragged Schools' bears traces of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes in those layered vocals, but their lineage ultimately traces back to around the time just before Bob Dylan decided it was good idea to plug in a guitar.
The chorus is instantly memorable, and the instrumental hook is one that thousand-strong crowds will ultimately sing back at the band when they get really famous and close their set with this track. Oh, and 'Ragged Schools' is also a great educational aid in how one should use a banjo responsibly in music, so well done Goodnight Lenin. (Yes, Mumford & Sons, there is such as thing as too much banjo. Listen to your comeback single again and you'll see what I mean.)
The Stool Pigeon Stage - Sunday, August 19 at 12.00
8. Patrick Wolf - 'The Magic Position' (Live on Newsnight, 2007)
Patrick Wolf has been in the music industry for a decade?!? Shine a light, it feels like yesterday. Anyway, he is celebrating this by conserving electricity (excellent) and going acoustic. He's definitely come on so much as a live performer since this 2007 rendition of 'The Magic Position' - particularly in terms of the strength of his voice - but this clip - from Newsnight, of all places - should give you an idea of his more stripped-down sound. Wonder what Jeremy Paxman thought of it, hey?
The Stool Pigeon Stage - Sunday, August 19 at 19.20
9. Wild Beasts - 'Smother'
Now, we all know that Wild Beasts can do loud, wild and rambunctious ('All the King's Men', 'The Devil's Crayon') and we know they can do intense and brooding ('Plaything', 'Hooting and Howling'). It's not often that they drop both tempo and volume, but this B-side to their 2011 Record Store Day release is a case in point. A thought-provoking lullaby in compound time - with typically delicious vocals from Hayden Thorpe - this is a track to soothe your soul.
The Stool Pigeon Stage - Saturday, August 18 at 23.00
mixtape by Kate Goodacre
Beacons Festival takes place on the Funkirk Estate in Skipton between August 17 and 19. The campsite opens at 4pm on Thursday, August 16 and closes at midday on Monday, August 20. The nearest railway station to the site is Skipton. Please check the festival info page before travelling for more information on the site, amenities, accommodation and more. Limited tickets for the event are still available here.