Time for the music to start! But as I pointed out in my blog for yesterday, the music doesn't actually start until the evening. So that's a whole lot of day to fill until then.
We woke up surprisingly early, but someone had offered to buy us breakfast. This was destined to perk the spirit up a bit. After wandering around and getting a few boring things sorted for later, I went to charge my phone. A seemingly bland activity, but this was where all the action happened.
To set the scene for this tale, I should tell you that there are two campsites at Beni. Both are perfectly reasonable and I have seen far far worse. Camp Fest is the "standard" one and Villa Camp is the fancier one. Now, Supajam have some sweet connections and they've popped us in the latter one. It has cleaner toilets, more shade, phone charging points and a few other small comforts. As someone who has been to festivals and slept in a flooded tent, lost new trainers in fetid bogs and even caught a mild case of trench foot, I quietly appreciate the nicer touches.
So anyway, I'm lying down at the phone charging point and trying to catch some Z's while my phone gets fed. As I was drifting off, I heard some dappy girl rock up. The first thing out of her mouth was "Do you have to bring your own charger?" A fair question, but the answer is yes. Funnily enough, if you want to charge your phone you do have to bring your own charger. With disgust, she sarcastically retorted "oh, well that's useful." What a prat.
She then sat down and started talking about the campsites. "Yeah, this one’s alright I suppose. The other one looks like a concentration camp." There are no words...
Anyway, she left after that and eventually I got to sleep.
Before I went to sleep I wrapped my lanyard with the band times loosely around my arm. Didn't want to lose it, but didn't want it around my neck. 45 minutes later I'm woken up by some other girl shouting “SNAKE!” In my drowsy state I immediately assume she’s talking about me, I notice the long strap of the lanyard coiled around my wrist and let out a really pathetic yelp, thinking that the snake was on me. It wasn’t, it was about five metres behind me. So that’s silly of me.
I then got really confused, how did the snake get into VIP camping without a wristband?
Lastly, as I recovered from my not-so-near reptile encounter this bleary-eyed Mancunian stumbles over and hides under a table. He starts telling us that it’s been half past 2 for about five hours and that he’s worried he’s going to disappear. The guy is clearly on some massive acid comedown. He then launches into this conspiracy about how Obama cancelled the Stone Roses and stole his hat. Sprawled out on the floor, he gargles: “this is the worst holiday I’ve ever been on. And I’ve been to Australia.” He then passed out by the first-aid cabin. I walked past later and he wasn’t there, so hopefully he’s alright.
But maybe he did disappear. Either way, don’t do drugs kids!
I’ve made the place sound like it’s full of druggies, snakes and spoiled rah girls. It’s not; I just encountered three in quick succession. I also met an amazing human being. Wearing just a pair of y-fronts, he walks up to the phone-charging point, plugs in his phone and walks off. Ten minutes later he comes back with a genuine porn magazine, takes a seat and reads it without shame, still in his pants. What a guy! He also had a massive mark on his chest. Apparently he got it from jumping off a surfboard and scratching on some coral. That’s how to live.
Finally it was time to hit the arena. The early bands were all Spanish, I was curious to check them out because you’re never going to see them at a UK festival. Supajam is keen to help new music, so we made sure to pop up a couple of reviews about them. The highlight was definitely Los Tiki Phantoms, they were something else. Just look at them.
As the night progressed it was time for At The Drive-In. After eleven years away they had finally returned. The atmosphere at the front was electric. I haven’t had “the shakes” at a gig for about 8 years. I was ready to shout, cry and sick myself all at the same time. I could feel things that I don't think were even there, the excitement was tangible. Someone else was handling the review for this one, but here’s a spoiler: her opinion was similar to mine.
De La Soul were cool. My sister had no idea who they were, but watched them anyway on my recommendation. I saw her shortly afterwards and she wouldn’t shut up about how good they were. I almost wish I hadn’t mentioned it.
Oh man. I have to stop writing. All I can feel is sugar and caffeine running through my veins. My body is crashing but my leg is twitching. I think I had 7 cans of Red Bull today. That can't be healthy. If there is no blog tomorrow, assume I'm dead.
More reviews from today are coming, but here are the ones already up: