Beacons 2012 Festival Clockwatch: Saturday, August 18
00.30: The illness-enforced cancellation of tonight's main attraction Julio Bashmore brings tonight's festivities to an early end. So all that's left is to wander aimlessly for 45 minutes in search of the place that I'm calling home for the next few nights at least. The root of my problem is that all tents look pretty much identical, especially to tired and intoxicated eyes after sundown.
Apparently there's an app for that, one which provides GPS assistance to locate your sleeping quarters in a field devoid of landmarks, but by the time I'm made aware of this invaluable advance in technology it's just too late. BT
10.00: One writer/photographer with an unsuccessfully-calibrated body clock (10.30pm bedtime last night through exhaustion - not very rock'n'roll!) is awake, sober and in search of sustenance. The toilets are a horrifying sight, even after almost a decade of festivals (and this is coming from a woman who survived a recent Glastonbury where there was mud halfway up your thighs for the whole weekend). Not enough porta-privvys and an apparent lack of early morning cleaning (later much improved in response to punters' demands, it must be noted) make the queueing slightly more heinous than usual.
The quest for food and drink is marginally more successful. The water tap up our end of the camping field isn't working this morning, but a 40-minute round trip to the water tap at the other end of the camping field (very long and thin, follows a beautiful valley, hence the duration) is ultimately worth it to hear a smidgen of a Wild Beasts soundcheck. KG
11.00: An early morning bout of seemingly persistent tinnitus leaves me thinking that I really should've packed some earplugs. Thankfully, I'm not suffering lasting ear damage; I and countless others have merely been woken by the hum of paramotors circling overhead. It's difficult to judge if these amateur aviators are simply indulging in their harmless hobby or deliberately taking to the skies in an effort to enrage those still sleeping soundly below. BT
11.20: One trip for water, a mushroom and cheese baguette and a can of cola later and I'm on the home straight. There is a man compereing a nearby open mic tent who appears to be valiantly losing a battle with the gliders overhead (a lone aerial acrobat has now been joined by three of his or her buddies - now, that's just showing off!) Apparently he is trying to start a band and invites people to "join in, if that's your sort of thing". KG
11.30: Honourable mention to the Butty Boys. That was a fine baguette. All is right again with the world. KG
13.00: Kwes provides a suitably gentle greeting on my first full day at Beacons, with his pop-soul vibes that lead all those present to ponder the likelihood of a Lighthouse Family comeback. Surely stranger things have happened? BT
14.00: Cass McCombs is another artist who clearly should have been on my radar well before now. He appears to be on a mission to bring back the brooding indie slow-jam one languid, slightly sensual, drawn-out guitar riff at a time, and to this end he succeeds. It's a gentle, yet still captivating, start to Saturday's programme. KG
15.00: To pass the time between bands, why not pause for afternoon tea, make some vintage purchases, try your hand at screen printing or relive your childhood by taking a ride on an inflatable slide? All these activities and more are on offer for your entertainment! BT
17.30: The second high-profile cancellation of the weekend comes courtesy of Clock Opera, perhaps the most exciting breakthrough live act of the past twelve months. Fortunately, any potential for disappointment is quickly curtailed by their replacements, Welsh quartet Future of the Left. Unlike so many of their contemporaries, they have no fear of confronting controversy, with songs such as 'Manchasm' (the lyrics of which reference disgraced Republican congressman Mark Foley) serving as a reminder of exactly what was so great about all those long-forgotten bands you loved in your teenage years. BT
18.15: Future of the Left were a welcome addition to the bill, for sure. Monumental guitar riffs, fierce drumming, a passionate crowd (who, at one point get politely rebuked by the band for banging along on the metal barriers out of time with the music), and a pointed introduction to 'Failed Olympic Bid' ("This song is for the Olympics", says singer/guitarist Falco, "which, I'm sure you'll all agree, were a complete success - but Sebastian Coe is still a cunt.") I feel thoroughly ashamed for having let this band slip by me for years. Superb. KG
19.00: No two musicians alone have the right to make as much noise as Japandroids. They are every bit as endowed with decibels as fellow duos the White Stripes and DFA 1979, and have just as much potential to combine cult appeal with crossover success. BT
19.30: Benjamin's right - Japandroids are electrifying. There's a whiff of We Are Scientists about their guitar-led, upbeat, ballsy rock offering, which is no bad thing. It's unbelievable to think how two people can make such a bloody unholy racket. After months and months of resistance, the hype is slowly wearing me down - and, it seems on the basis of this evening's performance, justifiably so. KG
20.30: Gobby newcomer King Krule spends so much time fretting over the tuning of his guitar that those who chose to attend his set in the Vice tent at the expense of missing Ghostpoet's Stool Pigeon stage performance are left to regret his tardiness. Things don't improve much when he finally decides to play, as his unimaginative Anglophile punk pastiches are enough to leave even the most dedicated Libertines fan feeling exasperated. BT
21.10: Beautiful, clean toilets in the camping field! Much appreciated. There is clearly a sense of timing required, and when it pays off it sure feels good. KG
22.00: Eating paella and drinking cider in a vintage tea tent feels a little disrespectful, but the seats prove to be a comfortable place to regroup ahead of the moment we've all been waiting for. KG
22.30: Eagulls provide an unexpectedly good prelude to their Yorkshire contemporaries, and the diversion to the Vice/Noisey tent is well worth it. With what appears to be around 70% of the population of Leeds' music scene crammed stageside, they tear through their punk rock repertoire with such blistering ferocity that it genuinely feels rude to run away three songs in for the headliners.
The photographers' pit is rammed, the front rows are positively euphoric and even for those ten minutes, as George Mitchell and band career around the stage in dizzying fashion, this feels like something really quite special. Oh, and to top things off, the band hand over a headless shop dummy covered in fairy lights for the crowd to wave around. This is what you call a homecoming show. Intense stuff. KG
23.00: Wild Beasts are also coming home (kind of) tonight, and, as always, they are utterly spellbinding. It doesn't perhaps reach the dizzying heights of their performances at The Great Escape in May 2010 or last year's sensational Brudenell Social Club show on the eve of Smother's release, but even Wild Beasts merely being very very very very good as opposed to absolutelybloomin'excellent are still a joy to behold.
The set is a little Smother-heavy, but there's some old favourites too. 'Albatross', played three songs in, is truly mesmerising as Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming duel at the keyboards, their haunting voices contrasting dramatically, yet combining beautifully. 'This Is Our Lot', 'The Fun Powder Plot' and 'Two Dancers' are equally brooding, while 'The Devil's Crayon' still sounds as lusty and gloriously demented as it did upon release. Predictably, the tent goes nuts for 'All The King's Men' (come on, its delightfully leery reference to 'girls from Shipley' was always going to bring the house down), and there's even a nod to the recently-jailed Pussy Riot as the band trot out in balaclavas for the encore. After seeing Wild Beasts seven or eight times in the past four years, familiarity does not breed contempt, at least to these ears. As a satisfied crowd heads out into the night, it's fair to say that they're still one of the best live acts in the country. KG
words by Kate Goodacre and Benjamin Thomas
all pictures by Kate Goodacre