On Portugal’s West Coast lies a small seaside town, Salir do Porto. Every August, the local council and the Centro Recreativo e Cultural transform this quiet, peaceful place into the home of a giant stage for five days to host the Festa de Salir do Porto summer festival. And for me, as a rocker and a metalhead, this year’s highlight had to be BEN BAND!
As the previous act cleared the stage, three guys emerged from the crowd, vaulting up the steps, and began to take their positions. With frontman Palex on the guitar, Ricardo rocking the bass and André giving the drums all he’s got, neither I nor my camera was prepared for what happened next…
They were ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I’m fairly new to the area, so this was my first time experiencing BEN BAND – and it was a thrill. Look at their Facebook page and you might see a local cover band playing in bars. But let me tell you, they owned that massive stage, and it was not their first rodeo!
A Festa de Verão wouldn’t be complete without a rendition of Fear of the Dark, but these guys clearly appreciate metal, and they really did it justice. The vocals, the instruments, the theatre of it all, everything was on point.
It was two glorious hours of rock and metal, spanning the entire spectrum from Iron Maiden and Metallica to Led Zep to Kings of Leon and Radiohead. As a cover band, they can pretty much take anything you throw at them – literally! With people drunkenly shouting out requests for Pink Floyd; entitled millennials clambering on stage to play air guitar with the crutches they’d *borrowed* from some poor girl in the audience, BEN didn’t falter, not once. Cool, calm and collected, Ricardo skilfully played through while an inebriated youth attempted to hug him, demanding they sing him Happy Birthday, while André kept that beat and Palex continued to wow with his impressive pipes and guitar mastery.
During this season of massive festivals, it might be easy to overlook the small villages, but BEN BAND is on the prowl, and I’m excited to see where they go next!
BEN BAND – a cover band from Benedita, Portugal
Text and images by:
Ben Lamy | Photographer & Translator