Roskilde Festival 2010

author PP date 21/07/10

For all their fantastic lineups and promises of cheap beer, other festivals just don't stand a chance to the experience that is Roskilde Festival, the main event for any serious music and beer fan in Denmark and beyond. Nine days on a large grass field with 115,000 other guests, volunteers and media people, five of which are dedicated to non-stop parties, and the rest to music from every corner of the world....yeah, try and match that, Europe, I bet you can't. In fact, I know you can't, because Orange Feeling, as the festival atmosphere is being marketed as, is something you can only experience at Roskilde. Rain or shine, the task of finding a single angry, pissed off, or a sad guest is like looking for a needle in a haystack: impossible. Now, since the weather gods (or is it global warming we need to thank for this) have been on our side for the third time in as many years, you'll instead find thousands of chicks in bikinis each more beautiful than the one before, so understandably the spirits of the people are off the charts year after year. An average temperature varying between 25 and 30 degrees on every single day of the festival pretty much guarantees that.

But as much as the festival loves to brag about its orange feeling, one can't help but think it has withered away a little bit in the last couple of years. That the ticket price was lowered down to 1645 DKK was welcomed with open arms, only for people to discover a ridiculous amount of hidden charges to be revealed as soon as the festival sold out. Like to bring your own drinks to the festival area? No go (even though it was ridiculously easy to sneak in beer cans this year), and the beer prices had been jacked up a couple of kroners. Want to park your car near the east entrance for free? Dream on, or pay a few hundred Danish crowns extra. Want to ensure you'll have space at the camping area? At an extra cost, you can pre-book yourself a guaranteed space at one of the furthest-away areas at East, or closer by in West (but who wants to camp in West, seriously!?). You like to protect yourself from the burning heat by sitting underneath a pavilion? No problem, pay 100 DKK as a pant, which you'll get back if you magically managed to not lose a) your refund sticker, b) your original receipt, and c) parts of the pavilion in the process. Jesus Christ, after 9 exhausting days, who is honestly able to do this on the Monday morning when all they can think about is taking a shower and sleeping for the next decade or so? I guess none of this is such a big deal considering how the profits all go to charity....except the only money that goes to charity is from the ticket sales, the single item this year that cost less than last year. The corporate rip-off feeling was only fortified after arriving home from the festival and discovering news headlines like "Roskilde Festival scores record amount of profit in 2010", with the memory of regular, normal kids from good backgrounds being reduced to collecting refund cups and cans at the festival site like gypsies just to be able to afford to purchase beverages. Not that I have anything against gypsies, as they have a very useful function in keeping the festival site clean, but it does come with a certain negative aura in the eyes of many people...way to go Roskilde Festival? PP

Queue, Warm Up, etc

Enough ranting, more love, is the theme of this section. Just like last year, eager guests were allowed to exchange their tickets to a wristband at Tivoli one day before the opening of the festival. Last year, it was just about as chaotic as the queue at the festival itself, with some people standing over five hours waiting in line. This year, yours truly arrived at around 3pm to find an extremely efficient and optimized ticket exchange process smack down in the centre of the amusement park, and waited for exactly two-and-a-half minutes before I was a happy camper with a wristband attached to my arm. Double thumbs up to the organizers, and triple thumbs up for the lowered price for the amusement park rides, and the chance to see Kashmir perform for no extra cost later that night.

The breaking of the fence has been a problem ever since the festival introduced a waiting area known as the 'limbo zone' back in 2006. After some brainstorming the festival's thought process likely went as follows: "hey, if we let the people get to the camping area 3 hours earlier than the fence broke, i.e. a full day before last year, maybe they won't break the fence this year?" A good idea on paper, a terrible one in practice, because even though the numbers allowed inside the waiting area were limited this year, the fence broke down around 13:30 on the Saturday, eight hours earlier than last year (which was eight hours earlier than the year before). Yours truly and the rest of Camp stood and watched helplessly as thousands of people swarmed about 600 meters ahead of us towards the camping areas, despite the concrete enforced fences and two layers of crowd control barrier! A large part of this can be attributed to overcrowding - with less camping space in West this year than ever before, and a sold out festival, the East entrance was packed to its limits. Perhaps a third entrance is needed to solve this problem once and for all, say, one on the back side of camping area P or something? Or alternatively, further down the road from East entrance? It was almost impossible to find space for a 40-tent size camp as ours afterwards.

Speaking of overcrowding: I'd say it was the theme of the festival, together with the punishing temperatures at daytime versus the freezing ones at night. With 10,000 or so extra people hanging about and using the amenities compared to the years before, it meant queuing to just about everywhere...well, except at the beer stalls at the service centers, surprisingly. You know how they promised that the own drinks ban wouldn't mean longer queues to beer stalls? Hah, I've never experienced a minimum 30 minute wait if you just wanted to have a single beer even in previous sold out years. Likewise, I've never experienced the swimming lake to be closed at noon by Friday because of E Coli contamination. Seriously, who the fuck takes a SHIT in a lake where they swim every day? Apparently a lot of people. As soon as the lake closed, the lines to cold/hot showers and the magnificent CO2-friendly Tuborg swimming lake at least quadrupled. We can only thank our luck that it happened so late to the festival. The festival announced shortly after that they'd be thinking of ways to ensure it doesn't happen again, but I think the options are fairly limited. It could be an idea to open the second, currently unused lake, for a swimming area as well. This way, the load on the lake would be split roughly in half.

One of my favorite new additions this year was the LoveSpring water posts at both service centres. For a measly 20 kroners (if my memory serves right), you would be given a refillable plastic bottle, and all the money would go for clean water supply to African countries. Then you could show up with your bottle and re-fill it for free at any LoveSpring post, or take it with you to the festival site, and refill it at any of the 200 extra water posts they had implemented this year compared to previous years. I'd still like to see some water posts magically placed in the middle of the festival site instead of only at the edges, because when you're standing in the middle of Orange Stage watching a show, it's unlikely you'll go all the way to one of the edges of the festival site just to re-fill your water bottle.

Finally, I'd love to give my final thumbs up to the festival organizers - perhaps the biggest one yet - for a couple of small details that made all the difference in the world. First off, the schedule was fucking excellent. If you were a rock / metal / punk music fan, i.e. a reader of this magazine, the amount of overlapping bands was nearly zero, with one or two exceptions that couldn't be avoided. You could stroll from show to show and catch all of your favorite bands without having to make difficult choices such as Anti Flag vs Enter Shikari last year. Second of all, the sound quality was fantastic this year, perhaps the best one I've heard at the festival since 2005 when Green Day played. All Orange Stage shows sounded brilliant, as did the Odeon and Pavilion performances as well. Arena had the odd sound trouble here and there, but for the most part it was spot on there as well. That allowed for some very good performances this year as opposed to so many mediocre ones last year. In fact, I'd say that performance wise, there were very few terrible and average shows, which you'll discover as you read through our reviews below. But not before I tell you a little bit about how awesome the camp was this year. PP


We never apply for the Camp Of The Day/Year competition because those are always won by the stupid gimmick-ey camps who need to dress up in ridiculous outfits in order to have fun, whereas Camp is all about the greatest conversations that make the least amount of sense to anyone walking by, drinking unhealthy amounts of beer, playing a million billion different drinking games, friendship, non-stop partying, drunken people, inside jokes orchestrated throughout the festival week (fuckin' magnets!?), and of course great music ranging from cheesy pop tunes through punk rock, indie rock and emo, finishing in the heaviest and most brutal death metal and grindcore. It's one of those camps where you can come back at 4am from a Gallows show to find 25 people STILL playing drinking games and boozing it out till dawn. A camp, where you can find people so drunk they have trouble with balance at 10 in the morning. A camp, where you play drinking games like danger can, bunny ears, pyramid, ride the bus, Gandalf (or whatever the fuck that game was called) and so many others that I gave up trying to remember them all. All this is perfectly summarized by the notion that there were a few new people in our camp this year who didn't know ANYBODY, but were still able to have the time of their lives, despite being thrown in the middle of practically 45 (very welcoming) strangers!

So yeah, without the slightest hint of self-importance, Camp is the unofficial camp of the year, every single year, without needing to rely on some idiotic theme or dress-up scheme. Ask the people attending who aren't in any way connected to this magazine, if you don't believe my biased words. This is why they keep coming back.

You see, when other magazines like Gaffa, Soundvenue, Undertoner (etc etc) are busy trying to meet some ridiculous deadline to publish their reviews and articles each night (while 95% of their readership is stuck at the festival and can't read them anyway, go figure), staff are obliterated somewhere in the camping area, rolling on the grass for some god forsaken reason (oh hi TL and AP), consuming beer bongs, and having mosh pits with wheelchairs (...), the professional bunch that we are. But hey, that's what sets us apart from the rest of the crowd, right? RIGHT? In any case, we can't help that aside from our obvious writing talent (debatable sometimes, I suppose :D), we're best at eliminating beer cans, slacking off, and enjoying the Orange Feeling to its fullest. And yet we're STILL able to bring you 30 excellent, accurate music reviews from this years festival. You know what? I expect to see YOU, dear reader, in our camp next year. PP

Pavilion Jr

Night Fever @ 13:30 on Pavilion Jr (Tuesday June 29th)

Night Fever is probably the band that I was least familiar with at Roskilde Festival. The music is advertised as hardcore punk though, and as it turns out the singer is an old friend of a friend, so why not? As soon as the band launches into the first song, their selling point becomes clear: vocalist Salomon. Imagine Scott Wade (formerly of Comeback Kid, now Sights & Sounds) and then raise his pitch by several semitones and you will have some idea of what Salomon sounds like. Sounds silly, but against all odds it works, especially when he alternates between it and ordinary, angry punk vocals. His demeanor on stage is that of a typical hardcore punk vocalist – running side to side and jumping up and down as if he had ADHD, there isn’t a moment of calm for this guy. For once the sound technicians have managed to create the perfect mix on Pavilion Jr. as well, which means that both the guitars and the bass are clearly audible. This gives Night Fever a tremendous boost, as the thrashy riffs and abundant solos play as important a role in the band’s music as does Salomon. But regardless of the overall awesomeness of this band, they don’t quite manage to make an everlasting impression on me, and I find myself worn out by the pressing heat when any diversity fails to manifest itself in the band’s music. [6½] AP

By The Patient @ 13:30 on Pavilion Jr. (Wednesday June 30th)

Rikke Øxner did the right thing when she booked By the Patient for the up-and-coming acts feature stage Pavilion Jr. These youngsters are on a roll, having recently won Wacken Metal Battle which earned them a recording deal as well as a slot at the prestigious Wacken Open Air. Listening to the band plow through some of the most uncompromising death metal ever to have come from Danish soil, it is easy to see how they have been able to enjoy such success, as the musicianship is absolutely mind-blowing, especially 18 year-old drummer Adam’s - what stamina he must have to be able to pull off close to an hour of almost non-stop machine-gunning. Like so many other modern death metal bands, By the Patient’s sound could easily become soiled by excessive breakdowns and meaningless chugging, but like I mentioned in a review of their EP “Catenation of Adversity”, the band injects healthy amounts of melody into the mix, too, while keeping the breakdowns largely at bay. As such the band manages to sound better than most of their established peers and pull off a performance that bears a close resemblance to Job For A Cowboy’s visit at Roskilde Festival in 2008 – especially in the vocal department, even if Tan cannot quite make the ground quake with his growl like Jonny Davy did. There is one thing dragging the performance down however, and that is the band’s relative inexperience. The songs do not always sound as tight as they do on record and where they do, they require the utmost concentration of each band member, which of course hinders their stage presence. Couple that with the fact that the songs have a tendency to blur into one another, and it becomes difficult to keep focused (no doubt my mounting wizard staff played some role, too). Still, a commendable effort from one of the most exciting young bands in Denmark at the moment. [6½] AP

Thursday 1 July

Paramore @ 18:00 on Arena

The first band for me to see on this years festival was Paramore, and even if the band's fame is still easily overlooked by many on these shores, those in the know were not surprised when Hayley Williams and band took to the Arena stage with energy and confidence from start to finish. From a band of dynamic performers, Williams stands out as usual, teaching another lesson for frontmen around the globe in how to give a disciplined as well as a passionate performance. Unfortunately for her though, this first show at Arena is to show a continuing trend of vocalists being situated annoyingly low in the mix, and maybe it's because she's only halfway audible that her audience seems a little hesitant. Not ones to be deterred by a challenge however, the band compensate visually, when one axeman's rolls over the back of another midsong, and as the crowd awakens slightly at the sight of the acrobatics, the setlist progresses towards more and more known songs, and hence the singalongs also grow into solid volume. Things culminate when Williams allows a girl holding an "I WANT TO SING WITH PARAMORE"-sign to have her wish granted, allowing her on stage to rock out and sing along to the closing "Misery Business", and by then people in the tent are notably more excited. For some reason, other publications still tear Paramore down for writing music that is apparently too teen-friendly or something, but for anyone who cares to look, it's clear that Paramore are tight, dedicated and professional, even in the face of a hard crowd. All that remained was for the vocals to be spot on. [7] TL

Sick Of It All @ 20:00 on Arena

The official Roskilde Festival newspaper's headline for the Sick Of It All review was "everybody should listen to hardcore", which reflects the unanimous feeling of the crowd underneath the Arena tent throughout the Sick Of It All show. When the band opens with age old classic "It's Clobberin' Time" from their eponymous 1987 EP, every SOIA fan knows they're in for a great setlist, which eventually cycles through the best songs from all corners of the band's 25 year career. The last two records in particular, "Death To Tyrants" and "Based On A True Story" are among the best Sick Of It All records released, so the band understandably leans heavily on these releases, but old classics aren't forgotten. A number of songs like "Die Alone" receive fist-pumping shout-alongs echoing across the whole tent, where an already electrified atmosphere morphs into all-around chaos as the pits intensify in all fronts. But what's best is that even after 25 years as a band, Sick Of It All is still one of the most energetic live bands around. Lou Koller storms the stage from left to right in endless movement, making the stage look like it's a fuckin' trampoline rather than the wooden/metallic structure it is in reality. The guitarist throws himself around maniacally in a way that should give most men of his age health problems, further signifying the passion this band has for New York Hardcore. And the crowd fuckin' loves it. Fists are in the air, songs are shouted back and forth, and people are moving. Like any experienced Roskilde warrior will tell you; the longer career that a band has had, the better their performance will be at this festival. Tonight, Sick Of It All live up to that proverb 100%. [8] PP


Sólstafir had been playing for a good 35-40 minutes by the time SOIA had finished and we had to rush to the polar opposite side of the festival area to check these Icelandic fellas out. Turns out it was perfect timing, as the band was just finishing with a magnificent tremolo-shred finalé to one of their songs from their near-perfect latest album Köld, before leading onto the 14 minute mammoth Ritual Of Fire, which was extended to a nearly 20 minute version tonight. Before I get into the details though, let me just tell you that these guys look fucking ridiculous on stage. On one hand, you have a vocalist who hangs onto the mic as if it was the only way of him to stand up straight, desperately holding onto it while wailing his breathtaking vocals pitch-perfect even in a festival sound setting. Then you have a drummer, who shows off by drumming with one hand while downing a bottle of wine with the other whenever he gets a spare moment during the atmospheric sections to the band's music. Did I mention that the vocalist is swaying around like a drunken fucker with a bottle of JD in his hand that he keeps sipping from occasionally? Then you have a guitarist who looks like a classic cowboy from the wild west - except in a leather outfit - complete with a crazy hat to top things off. It all creates an atmosphere of mystery around the band, that both bewilders and engages the audience. As we reach the vocal parts of the song, the vocalist announces that we're going to do the actual ritual to the element of fire, resulting in the entire crowd chanting "FIRE!!!" whenever he raises his hand after "Ritual of....". The way he controls the few thousand peeps present as if he was a God above them is a thrill to watch; he even makes the whole crowd thank THEM for playing, not the other way around. Things are finished off with the title track from "Köld" - another mammoth piece - and you can but marvel at how brilliant these songs are even in a live environment. While most bands thrive in small clubs, a band like Solstafir deserves an outdoor stage where their massive song structures have the space to expand in every direction freely. Heck, even their outro is over 5 minutes long as opposed to other bands who just smash their drums a couple of times before exiting the stage. It's too bad I didn't see more than just 25 minutes to this set (two and a half songs), because it felt like it could've been a LOT better than the grade it's receiving. [7½] PP

Gorillaz @ 22:00 on Orange

After checking out Sólstafir, it is time to allow a chance for something non-rock to make an impression, and considering the praise that has continually flowed from the media to Gorillaz, the staff were as curious as a whole lot of other people, to see what the virtual headlining band would present to a live audience. Rumours had it of videos or even holograms replacing an ordinary band, but alas, no such spectacle awaited. Instead, main-man Damon Albarn sought to compensate by dragging not only a few members of The Clash on stage to play with him, but also a brass-group, a handful of MC's, a female Asian singer and whole lot of other guests. In varying arrangements, Albarn lead his collaborators into chilled out performances of many lesser known Gorillaz songs. While opinions differ wildly though, the constant change of style and the mediocre performance of Albarn, both as singer and entertainer, appear more as 'unfocused' than 'psychedelic'. From where I'm standing, it quickly turns into an experience where Albarn seems to parade his playmates in front of a disconnected audience, and just as audiences of previous years whispered for a setlist's time, wondering when Radiohead would play "Karma Police" and when Oasis would play "Wonderwall", I hear a fair few around me expressing that they're getting bored waiting for "Clint Eastwood". In the mean time, a poorly placed screen, halfway obscured to the majority of the audience, is playing bits from the 'band's' videos, full of supposedly cool things, such as pirates and attack helicopters (sigh). It's not till the very end of the rather long show, that the pace is changed from "chill" to "party" and songs like "Dare" "Feel Good Inc." and "Clint Eastwood" get an airing, an in the humble opinion of this scribe, it is just as with the fellow Brits mentioned above, too little, too late, and too boring for too long. [6] TL

Friday 2 July

Meshuggah @ 14:00 on Arena

One thing one needs to keep in mind regarding Meshuggah is that despite the mathematic and often chaotic nature of their music, this is still a thrash metal band at heart. As such, one should not expect them to stage a spastic performance in which everything needs to be destroyed and the individual band members juggle their instruments and climb the scaffoldings; one should expect them to stand almost completely still and assign their music the highest priority. Indeed, apart from fragmented headbanging and a demonic frontman in Jens Kidman, Meshuggah have little else to offer than some of the most inspiring heavy music ever written. But the precision with which impossible songs like “Bleed” and “Stengah” are delivered on stage is enough to satisfy most of us. Attempts at headbanging are, for the most part, futile, and as a result the sizable crowd gathered inside the Arena pavilion is probably the calmest, most uncharacteristic metal audience curious onlookers and passers by have ever seen. For those of us who have assembled to bear witness to the technical prowess of these Swedish heavyweights, however, the experience is otherworldly and as usual, we stand there in awe, hypnotised. My only complaint is that the band does not make full use of their allocated time slot, and consequently the setlist comes entirely from the band’s two latest albums, “Nothing” and “obZen”. The experience would have been heightened by the inclusion of songs from the iconic “Catch 33” and the classic, more experimental “Destroy Erase Improve” (oddly the breath control device used in “Future Breed Machine” has been placed in front of guitarist Fredrik Thordendal but is never used as that song has been left out – why, we are never told). Nonetheless a top class performance by one of the most important contemporary metal bands in the world. [8] AP

Meshuggah setlist:

  • 01. Electric Red
  • 02. Bleed
  • 03. Closed Eye Visuals
  • 04. Pravus
  • 05. Stengah
  • 06. Combustion
  • 07. Lethargica
  • 08. Rational Gaze
  • 09. Straws Pulled at Random

Circle @ 15:00 on Pavilion

In attempting to keep up with past festivals, I chose Circle as the one Finnish band that needed to be seen this year… which was a bad decision, as it turns out, because the avant-garde metal that this band’s music is advertised as in the festival booklet is far from it. It is a spazzy infusion of more genres that I knew even existed and it simply does not work. Growling on top of buoyant jazz instrumentals? Not buying it. As the band continues to clash with aesthetics I actually find myself drifting to sleep, awakened only by my compatriots who share my sentiments about this band and wish to return to camp and drink

themselves to a stupor instead. Admittedly we did not see or hear much of what went on, and as such it would be unfair to give the band a grade, but from what we did hear, we were not impressed. [?] AP

Florence & The Machine @ 16:00 on Odeon

When I heard that the British, indie, pop-rock sensation Florence + the Machine were playing on the modest Odeon stage, I suspected that the organisers had made an error; they had seriously underestimated the band's popularity. Based only on media coverage and hearsay in the UK, my perception of Florence is that she has somehow become an instant superstar who should be headlining festivals by now. I got to Odeon and found my suspicions to be correct. A thick sea of people was filling not only the tent but also the entire food court and beyond. The less hardy amongst us turned back and I was left alone to battle through the crowd. When I was finally able to see the stage the performance I witnessed was unlikely to have left the Danish fans disappointed. Florence drifted around the stage in front of her, largely static, "Machine" (a session band - including drums, keyboard, bass, harp and of course the electric guitar that warrants a review) delivering her distinctive, and pitch-perfect, vocals. The audience was understandably chilled out until the band brought out the signature tunes "Dog Days are Over", "White Rabbit" and the much celebrated Source cover "You’ve got the Love", during which the whimsical front-woman explained the simple act of jumping on the spot with such childish delight that it was as if it were a totally new discovery. Like a kindergarten teacher she led the audience in an uninhibited jump-fest whilst she became the only musician of the festival to start exploring vertical parts of the stage structure. I left the concert feeling relaxed and uplifted by this departure from my otherwise frenzied itinerary of rock and metal. [8] NB

Dizzy Mizz Lizzy @ 17:00 on Orange Stage

Ten years ago, after only two albums worth of material, Dizzy Mizz Lizzy disbanded even though their members were barely in the twenties, and even though they were being hailed as everything but the single-handed saviors of Danish rock. So as I'm wandering to catch their return to Roskilde Festival for a show at the iconic Orange stage, I can't help but worry a bit. I'd normally fear for a three-piece's ability to fill out the big stage, and with anticipations for the Dizzy reunion seeming like a localized version of the one rock fans world wide had for that of Rage Against The Machine, there's a potential let down waiting up ahead. That however, is NOT what comes to pass, because as Tim Christensen and his two old friends take the stage in front of a super-classy lighting arrangement, it quickly becomes evident, even to people who have only ever heard their hits, that the songs on those two Dizzy records just flat out rock. Or maybe it's just because Dizzy are actually sounding better than they ever did on record, better and more confident and more sharp. Traditionally cut rockers make room for several guitar solos of the kind that matter, cutting through to the bone of the audience and erasing all thoughts of Dizzy as a mere rip-off of Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Having risen to personal stardom while the band was missing in action, Tim Christensen soaks up the crowds attention while staying classy and giving samples of guitar heroism, and good times can generally be said to be had, while everyone gets pumped up more and more, before energy is released in airings of hits like "Glory", "Waterline", "Rotator" and of course "Silverflame". The only odd thing is that the latter doesn't end the set, instead being followed by lesser known material, but apart from that, Dizzy delivers all killer, no filler, and one of the best performances of the 2010 festival. [8½] TL

Alice In Chains @ 19:30 on Orange Stage

Dizzy Mizz Lizzy were the best possible band Denmark could've offered as the warm up for grunge legends Alice In Chains, who made sure that early Friday evening was to be spent on a trip down the memory lane. It took but two songs to surround Orange Stage in pure 90s nostalgia; Alice In Chains simply sounded every bit as good as they did back in the 90s, even with William DuVall replacing late legend Layne Staley on vocals. And boy did he deliver the goods, in case anyone was doubting on his ability after the solid comeback album where he was first introduced to the public. I've seldom heard as brilliant of a singer as DuVall stand on Orange Stage, spreading his voice effortlessly across the entire field without even the slightest hint of hesitation or shyness. Don't believe me? Check out this footage for proof. Or this one. As a result, the crowd stood almost in a trance-like state, enjoying themselves in the evening sun, while reminiscing about their youth, or in the younger people's case, learning about the history of rock music. It wasn't overwhelmingly good, but it was a great reminder of what rock music used to be about back in the day: rock stars on stage in front of thousands of people standing as a unit, not giving a fuck what the audience thinks, and just playing their hearts out for the love of the music, with next to no crowd interaction in the process. [7] PP

Alice In Chains setlist:

  • 1. Rain When i Die
  • 2. Them Bones
  • 3. Dam That River
  • 4. Again
  • 5. It Ain't Like That
  • 6. Check My Brain
  • 7. Your Decision
  • 8. No Excuses
  • 9. Lesson Learned
  • 10. Acid Bubble
  • 11. Nutshell
  • 12. Angry Chair
  • 13. Man In The Box
  • 14. Would?
  • 15. Rooster

Biffy Clyro @ 21:00 on Arena

I won't lie. To me, Biffy Clyro was, from their announcement and forth, the most awesome band of this year's Roskilde in terms of recorded material. That's why I fear disaster when I dutifully show up early in an Arena pit that is as empty as it was during the catastrophically deserted Enter Shikari show of a few years back. Fortunately for the sake of the show, the crowd thickens considerably before the show commences, and even more as it progresses. This is probably due to Biffy putting on a cool performance that tells tales of their long career as a band. Fair enough, the audience who seems to be Biffy fans before coming here seem few and far in between, and this seems to dampen frontman Simon Neil's eagerness at interacting with us. Still though, him and his band, augmented by a second guitarist for today's show, give an exhibition of rockin' out as they punish their instruments with a vengeance. Focus is on material from the band's two latter and more accessible records, which is justified, since this scribe seems to be the sole person in the audience who knows "Justboy", the only aired song from the band's début (what a shame). The new material however, receives a response which grows louder and louder, culminating in singalongs that resound more voluminous than expected. So while Neil's vocals suffer from the same poor mix as Hayley Williams did the day before, and while the show never really gains proper intensity due to the slow response of the festival crowd, Biffy provide a barrage of good material and an unwaveringly awesome performance. [7½] TL

Them Crooked Vultures @ 22:30 on Orange Stage

Them Crooked Vultures were always meant to be seen on a stage this size. Their performance in Portsmouth last year, while intimate, left me undecided on the band and their music, but as soon as Josh Homme, John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and session musician Alain Johannes march on stage and launch “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” at us, the dudes are right at home under the orange canopy. Orange Stage boasts one of the most advanced sound and light systems in the world, and Them Crooked Vultures make full use of it. The volume is cranked to the max and the production is absolutely phenomenal. Watching the band in this kind of setting makes me forget that Mr. Homme and co. have a tendency to extend their already lengthy instrumental sections into exhausting jams, allowing me to absorb the music in a way that was not possible in the haphazard Portsmouth Guildhall venue where such guitar, bass and drum wankery had me checking my watch every few minutes or so. The sound here is sharp and penetrating with a thick bass section, making it impossible not to dance along to songs like “Scumbag Blues”, “Warsaw…” and “Caligulove” – even without prior knowledge of their procession. The quartet’s demeanor on stage is perhaps not as raucous as in the aforementioned gig, but when you’ve got musicians of this caliber on stage, there is very little that can go wrong. Them Crooked Vultures are a bundle of pure, smug coolness, and Dave Grohl behind the drumkit is as energetic as he used to be in his Nirvana days. Unfortunately the crowd misses the last couple of songs in order to catch NOFX who are about to take a steaming shit on Roskilde Festival’s code of ethics in the Arena tent, but judging from what we have seen until then, Them Crooked Vultures are becoming a force to behold. [8] AP

Them Crooked Vultures setlist:

  • 01. No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
  • 02. Dead End Friends
  • 03. Scumbag Blues
  • 04. Elephants
  • 05. Gunman
  • 06. Bandoliers
  • 07. Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up
  • 08. Caligulove
  • 09. Mind Eraser, No Chaser
  • 10. Spinning in Daffodils
  • 11. New Fang

NOFX @ 23:30 on Arena

The curtains slowly move aside, and in the truest NOFX style, there's no music for the first five minutes as Fat Mike starts off by telling everyone that it took him 10 hours to score some MDMA at the festival, that he just took it, and the show was going to suck after about 20 minutes or so as a result. He wasn't kidding about the drugs. For the next 82 minutes, it seemed like NOFX had a checklist of everything Roskilde Festival stands publicly against - racism, drugs, unequal rights and that sort of thing - and ticked off one item at a time until everything and everyone had been insulted at least twice. "Fuck there's a lot of people here, thanks for watching us. I mean if you are here, we are the best band playing here so it makes sense that you'd come and see us.", Fat Mike says, referring to the people way beyond the outskirts of the Arena tent, a couple of songs later continuing "I know Them Crooked Vultures are playing right now...but they suck anyway.". Yep, Jews, black people, Christians, Muslims, Palestinians, Mexicans all got their share of Fat Mike's controversial ("Hey what flag is that? Is it Spain? Portugal? No it's gay." referring to a Ghana flag), and the band even paused to write a new national anthem for Denmark consisting solely of trumpet because the old one simply wasn't good enough. Aside from the hilarious stand up comedy though, the band played fuckin' awesome, even if I take my biased die-hard fan glasses off and judge it objectively. 27 songs in 82 minutes including hits like "Bob", "Perfect Government", "Radio" (Rancid cover), "Reeko", "Champs-Elysees", "Drugs Are Good", "Leave It Alone", "Linoleum" and so many others were delivered to an ecstatic crowd where the circle pits stretched way beyond the pits to the main areas underneath the tent. Like Fat Mike himself said just about every song, "this next song is going to be AWESOME" or "the best song" or "going to be good" or "the best NOFX song" etc etc. Sing alongs were great, too, despite Fat Mike's voice starting to sorta suck towards the end, roughly after he announced that he was really fucking high halfway through the show. But that didn't matter. The NOFX stage show was unlike any other on the festival. There's no bullshit crowd control techniques. No announcements of the next song or anything like that. Just punk rock music and a bunch of drunken/drugged up chatter on stag. It's shows like NOFX's this year that make me wonder why Rikke Øxner & co still haven't figured out a way to book more than just one punk band per year. These shows are always packed and people are loving it. Lets hope Roskilde didn't get too hurt over the band's morals, or lack thereof, and book them again soon. [8] PP

NOFX setlist:

  • 1. Intro
  • 2. Dinosaurs Will Die
  • 3. Leave It Alone
  • 4. Bob
  • 5. Drugs Are Good
  • 6. We Called It America
  • 7. The Quitter
  • 8. Eat The Meek
  • 9. Perfect Government
  • 10. Fuck The Kids
  • 11. Seeing Double At The Triple Rock
  • 12. Leaving Jesusland
  • 13. Mattersville
  • 14. What Now My Love (Herp Albert cover - the new national anthem now)
  • 15. Louise
  • 16. It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite
  • 17. Radio (Rancid cover)
  • 18. The Separation Of Church And Skate
  • 19. The Man I Killed
  • 20. Franco Un-AMerican
  • 21. I'm Telling Tim
  • 22. Champs-Elysees
  • 23. Reeko
  • 24. Linoleum
  • 25. Bottles To The Ground
  • 26. Stickin' In My Eye
  • 27. Theme From A NOFX Album

Saturday 3 July

Vampire Weekend @ 17:00 on Arena

Going to see Vampire Weekend required me to pull myself together, because the indie-hotshots' recorded material hadn't lit me up prior to the festival, and chilling in camp did seem a tempting alternative to following my girlfriend and her recommendations to Arena, and moving to a spot among what seemed like clueless concert-newbies didn't do much to heighten my expectations. Vampire Weekend however, seem to care as little for my expectations as for anything else, as the four dudes appear and perform as care-free as four college dorks living off infinite trust funds. Frontman Ezra Koenig appears like an almost annoyingly confident Daniel LaRusso, charming the crowd almost as easily as he seems to dish out his high notes and quirky lyrics, sounding deliciously sharper and edgy live than on record. The live performance also sees the songs augmented by a more audible guitar and a more frequent use of the bass drum compared to the recordings, and both enhancements seem to help whipping the crowd into a state where they seem to hang by Koenig's every word. With perfect swagger and solid performance, Vampire Weekend dish out one catchy song after another, and I guess it says something about how surprisingly good their show was, that for a week after the festival, they're almost the only band I've felt like listening to. [8] TL

Kashmir @ 19:30 on Orange Stage

While opinions on the band's quality differ, almost every rock fan in Denmark at least has one on Kashmir, who have earned their fame through releases of one to three chart-hugging singles for each of their six studio albums. Personally, I've enjoyed the occasions when the band has gotten it right, regardless of which album they were on, so I was hoping for them to come on and prove some critics wrong with a show fueled by their nineteen years of experience. Unfortunately, the band seems to have opted to celebrate their promotion to an Orange stage act before coming on, rather than after, and while some bandmembers wisely hide behind sunglasses, frontman Kasper Eistrup strolls on stage more red in the face than a tomato, and with eyes more swimmingly wasted than even those of some Camp members during the warm-up days. At least I hope he's wasted, because that would at least be why he sings off-tune half the time, but even if that was the case, the disappointment doesn't stop there, as Kashmir's instruments are also coming out sounding like they were bought in the local Toys'R'Us. Despite performances of several songs considered well-known classics of Danish rock, the show is turning into an embarrassment waaay too quickly, partly due to the piss-poor sound and singing, and partly due to Eistrup making a bit of a fool of himself between songs. That the band chooses to give a rare performance of a song from one of their early albums and then omits the obvious choice "The Story Of Jamie Fame Flame" over the dated-sounding and somewhat lesser known "Prawn's Blues" is further proof of how clueless they are, and copying Muse's "let's throw some big balloons on the crowd" gimmick doesn't take away from the feeling that Kashmir didn't take this gig anywhere near as seriously as a band needs to when being honored with a spot on Orange stage. If it weren't for good songs and a somewhat forgiving crowd, it would've been a complete disaster. [3½] TL

Nile @ 20:30 on Odeon

Nile comes from a genre that never does that well live. That genre is called "middle-aged, hairy dudes in baggy black t-shirts who are really into insanely technical guitar-work". What most audiences find impressive is a well rounded stage performance: a mix of skill and showmanship. What these guys tend to consider impressive is very fast, difficult riffs and drumming. This is as evident in their song-writing as it is in their live show. Most of their music is standard death metal with random shredding at every possible opportunity and a vague theme of ancient Egyptian mythology. It’s admittedly very impressive and a pretty good listen, but, when this was presented on the Odeon stage by the aforementioned hairy dudes standing completely still under some static green lights, it didn't evince much of a response from the audience besides the odd devil horned fist. Oblivious, the band played a couple of pieces from the new album, "Those Whom the Gods Detest", and other favourites such as "Ithyphallic" and the brilliantly named "Papyrus Containing the Spell to Preserve Its Possessor against Attacks from He Who Is in the Water". So, whilst the set was technically perfect, the reaction from the audience, daytime setting, crap light show and lack of stage presence conspired to make this one of the more mediocre concerts of the festival. [5½] NB

Pendulum @ 21:30 on Arena

I'd been selling Pendulum to fellow Camp members as a crazy rave-rock band with the best light show in the business, secretly praying they wouldn't disappoint me. What with a massive HD video screen behind the band projecting all sorts of psychedelic and scary things like Scorpions walking up and down the screen and whatnot, it's safe to say the band delivered. They got off to the best possible start by kicking off with three of their best songs that pretty much everyone in the tent knew, transforming the entire tent into a flash rave with everyone dancing like they were possessed. I don't think there's a soul that would disagree that were Pendulum rated for their first four or five songs alone, a perfect 10 rating would be very, very close. Such was the level of energy between the stage and the crowd, helped by their frontman calling out "Roskilde!!!" at least 85 times during the performance, whilst parading across the stage making sure people left and right were doing okay. Lots of crowd control techniques mid-song and the like was used to boost up the atmosphere, which did flatten down a little as the show went on given the early climax. The darker it got outside, the better the light show became, however, and it's hard to doubt 17,000 ravers bouncing up and down with glow sticks. The perfect party-starter for a lengthy Friday night. [7½] PP

Muse @ 22:30 on Orange Stage

Aside from Nick Cave and his gazillion projects, Muse is starting to become like the Roskilde Festival house band considering they seem to perform here every three years or so. Last time, their show was hindered by a windy climate blowing away their spacious soundscapes and a bad setlist, but tonight the band killed - when they played the good songs. The thing about standing far back is that you can really tell which songs people like. The singles from the last two albums received a decent applause and sing along, the other tracks from the same albums were met by confused looks and an anticipatory atmosphere. As soon as the band kicked into "Hysteria" and "Stockholm Syndrome", the change in the crowd psyche was like day and night compared to the other tracks. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks the old Muse tracks are easily, without question, the best tracks these guys have written. Luckily, a great light show with green lasers cutting across the crowd creating all sorts of insane effects I didn't even know was possible from that distance saved the day for the boring tracks, plus Bellamy & Co were really on the ball on stage, performing with more passion than I've seen them do with since the 2004 "Absolution" tour. Good show, just wish they'd cut off songs like "Map Of The Problematique", "United States Of Eurasia", "Unnatural Selection" et al and replace them with the stuff that everyone fuckin' loves ("Sing For Absolution" anyone?). [7] PP

Muse setlist:

  • 1. Uprising
  • 2. Supermassive Black Hole
  • 3. Map Of The Problematique
  • 4. Interlude
  • 5. Hysteria
  • 6. Stockholm Syndrome
  • 7. Nishe
  • 8. United States Of Eurasia
  • 9. Feeling Good
  • 10. Undisclosed Desires
  • 11. Resistance
  • 12. Time Is Running Out
  • 13. Starlight
  • 14. Unnatural Selection
  • --encore--
  • 15. Plug In Baby
  • 16. Knights Of Cydonia

The Prodigy @ 01:00 on Orange Stage

Like moths to a flame, the small contingent from the camp pushed its way through the Orange stage throng to a luminescent hive of ravers, dripping with glow-sticks. This group were already dancing to the strains of Major Lazer’s "Pon de Floor" which was being played as a warm-up to The Prodigy’s set and they summed up the atmosphere of most of the audience. That said, none of us seemed to know what to expect from the electronic legends, the fourth British act on this evening’s bill. Fortunately, unlike most of the headliners at the festival (Prince... yawn), The Prodigy didn’t stand on ceremony and, from the moment they appeared on stage, they got straight into their best known tracks. The fast-paced "Omen", "Breathe", "Poison", "Firestarter" and "Voodoo People" whipped the, already active, crowd into a frenzy with MC Maxim instructing his "Warrior People" to participate in the well-known crouching-then-jumping-up routine as well as chanting each song’s catch phrase. The band played so many of their instantly recognisable tracks in a row that the casual Prodigy fan (me) was left wondering "what could they possibly play next" before being reminded "oh yeah I forgot about that one" as they finished the set with yet more hits: "Invaders Must Die", "Smack My Bitch Up", "Out of Space" etc. I’d like to comment more on the stage performance but, although we could see a lot of it on the giant screens I spent less time looking at these and more time enjoying and participating in the reaction of the crowd. In fact, it was probably the audience more than the band which made this set into one of the best of the festival. [8] NB

Gallows @ 02:30 on Odeon

Who the fuck puts Gallows on at 2:30 in the fuckin' morning. The sun's just about to get up, and most people are passed out in a drunken stupor somewhere far away from the Odeon corner of the festival at this point in time. A rather scarce crowd - but surprisingly large considering the time of the day - had gathered to see what one of the best hardcore bands from Britain was up to, which visibly flattered vocalist Frank Carter who thanked us sincerely for coming to the show this late (or early). He was even more sincere later when he told us the story about how the band got one million pounds to sign with Warner, wrote a heavy fuckin' hardcore record which sold like 10,000 copies (nowhere near enough to cover the cost) and were dropped as a result, but got to keep all the fucking money. But you know what, a million pounds changes a man, even if Carter doesn't necessarily want to admit it himself. I've seen these guys play tiny London shitholes and tear shit apart like they were the fucking Dillinger Escape Plan, and in that light, their show was disappointingly tame and uninteresting to watch. Then there's the added notion that Carter used to actually fuckin' scream the words, like he was the most pissed off man I've ever seen on this planet, but tonight he's content with just singing casually. A million pound future secured never felt more obvious tonight for anyone who's seen the band back when they were still an obscure band destroying tiny venues around London. That said, the crowd is really into it, consisting only of die hard Gallows fans, since no sane person would go "check out" a band they've never heard of at 02:30 in Roskilde Festival, unless they were straight edge or something crazy like that. It just wouldn't happen. So as a result we see one of the largest circle pits I've seen at Odeon, going around both of the supporting pillars at the back. We also see a human pyramid that beats any Enter Shikari one I've ever seen - what was it, four (man)stores high or something? So in summary: the songs were great, the crowd was superb, the sound was crystal clear...but the famous Gallows attitude was missing - especially when they end the set 15 minutes early and even admit it to the fuckin' crowd. [6½] PP

Gallows setlist:

  • 1. The Riverbed
  • 2. London Is The Reason
  • 3. Leeches
  • 4. Come Friendly Bombs
  • 5. Abandon Ship
  • 6. The Great Forgiver
  • 7. Vulture Act I/II
  • 8. Queensberry Rules
  • 9. Gold Dust
  • 10. Misery
  • 11. I Dread The Night
  • 12. I Fought The Law (The Clash cover)
  • 13. In The Belly Of A Shark
  • 14. Orchestra Of Wolves

Kellermensch @ 03:00 on Pavilion

On the way back to the camp from Gallows we felt we should check out Kellermensch on the Pavilion stage. This Dostoevsky inspired, home-grown act released their self-titled debut earlier this year to rave reviews. They’d also played at Roskilde last year but managed to evade the scrutiny of the staff. This year it was almost the same story; with a 3:00AM start this slot was very tempting to ignore but when we arrived it seemed that the band had pulled a surprisingly large crowd. The band had brought their retro vibe onto the stage with vintage lamps and costumes. This was complemented by what seemed to be a very compelling sound and great vocals. Unfortunately, I think it would be unfair to give this performance a grade as (ever the professionals) we were only able to prop our heads up for a total of two songs before being forced back to the dubious comfort of the camp; this isn’t a reflection on the music at all but rather the consequence of 8, 18-hour days of solid drinking in the baking sun. NB

Sunday 4 July

Converge @ 13:00 on Odeon

Gallows finished their set around 4am, Camp party went on well beyond 5:30am, and Converge was on at 1pm. More or less the only scheduling brain fart of this year's festival. Not only is everyone either still hammered or supremely hang over, but the festival site is bathing in midday sun, a horrifying setup for most bands, but a lethal one for an act as uncompromising and as heavy as Converge. You could tell by the looks and postures of the audience that they weren't really awake yet to fully appreciate the hardcore monstrosity usually offered by this band night in, night out. Plus there's also the fact that no matter how artsy Converge's form of hardcore is, it's still best experienced in a small club venue where heavily tattooed vocalist is able to feed off the crowd energy and intensity, and reflect that onto his stage performance. Don't get me wrong, he and the band was all over the place, it's just that only a few people seemed to care for the band, most probably nursing massive hangovers or suffering from immense dehydration. And when the crowd isn't into it, it's hard to get that special energy going which happens 95% of the time when this band takes the stage. It says a lot that there were people passed out sleeping outside Odeon whilst they were performing; hardly a convincing show for what is supposed to be the best hardcore band of all time. [6] PP

Motörhead @ 14:30 on Orange Stage

“We are Motörhead and we play rock n’ roll.” – The opening words which we have come to expect from Lemmy at every one of their shows provides a good summary of Motörhead’s performance on the Orange Stage this early afternoon. It is, as expected, a no-bullshit gallop through much of the band’s discography ending in “Born to Raise Hell”, “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”, choreographed by the always-charismatic, 64 year-old bassist. It is one of those shows that gathers the generations together to witness a band that has existed for 35 years, influenced most of today’s heavyweight hard rock and metal bands, and somehow managed to continue touring and spewing out album after album of the same old speedy rock n’ roll with no relent despite its aging crew. As such Motörhead delivers as they always do, with no surprises embedded in between, stopping every now and then to allow Lemmy to mutter some of his infamous stage banter and lashes at other musicians and bands. I myself prefer to enjoy it from the tribune clutching a pitcher of cold beer, only surrendering myself to a closer vantage point to catch the explosive finale with some other members of the camp. Good show, as expected. [7] AP

Killswitch Engage @ 16:00 on Arena

Killswitch Engage used to be the senior editor of my imaginary Idiot’s Guide to Metalcore. However, in the time since "As Daylight Dies", it has been demoted from that role, replaced by a collection of younger and more fashionable bands, and now sits in the stationary cupboard drinking, smoking and telling the world about how metalcore used to be "back in the day". Sorry, I might have stretched that metaphor a bit...While KSE is probably not the relatively influential name that it used to be in the genre of metalcore, that says nothing about the band’s ability to entertain a live audience. I’ve seen them indoors and outdoors and both times the show was fairly solid in terms of both sound and style but on both occasions it was only the antics of Adam Dutkiewicz that really kept proceedings afloat. Things were no different today as the band entered the Arena stage to what, considering the early afternoon slot, was a sizable audience. Adam drank some beers, shouted a bit and generally acted like a moron. This pleased the audience no end. They were also pleased by the selection of songs KSE played from their latest album (bizarrely their second self-titled release). It made a change from the last time I saw the band when the audience didn’t yet know what to make of the newer stuff. Still, the old classics went down even better and when the encore came round the crowd knew exactly what was coming. There were few fists or mouths that weren’t moving to Dio’s masterpiece "Holy Diver". I’m not sure what it means when a band’s best-loved song is actually another band’s best-loved song but it didn’t seem to bother the audience. At the end of the show, Adam and Howard thanked the Danish audience profusely but it didn’t alleviate the feeling I’ve had for some time that this band still isn’t trying hard enough. [6½] NB

Jack Johnson @ 17:00 on Orange Stage

I don't think I've ever seen a show as chilled out as the one performed by Jack Johnson on Orange Stage. With around 60,000 or so people present in the boiling afternoon sun, almost everyone, except the ones right by the pits, were sitting down on the ground, on camping chairs, or simply lying down on their backs, enjoying the relaxing rhythms by this surf-ey pop rock star in the making. Or I guess he's a star already, considering how seemingly every second song was another audience favorite that most people will have heard on the radio or elsewhere. To top things off, Jack's stage performance was personal - even intimate despite the massive audience - as he casually chatted to people down the front, ignoring the fact that there's 60,000 people sitting right in front of him, listening to every word he's saying. He didn't make a big deal out of himself, and that's exactly why so many people love this guy. He may just be the singer-songwriter of the new generation. [7] PP

The National @ 18:00 on Arena

Of all the bands I had chosen to get into as a consequence of their appearance on the festival poster, The National was the one that really struck a chord with me, hence I arrived for their show expecting a really good experience. Unfortunately, that's not what the show starts out like, because the mixing problems are worse than ever, with the band's added horns and violins completely inaudible in the soundscape, and singer Matt Berninger's trademark baritone sounds forced and rushed. Unforgivably, it takes almost half an hour to remedy this, and by then, a handful of good songs have already sounded poor from the speakers. Disaster is averted, however, as soon as the sound eventually gets better, and Berninger's singing starts to enchant the audience the way it also does on record. The performance remains rather eccentric throughout, with only scarce and hesitant communication to the crowd, and with Berninger opting to scream many of the higher notes that he sings on record. While not opposed to screaming vocals, one who is accustomed to them can't help but note that Berninger should maybe practice this style a bit if he really wants to put it to good use live. Regardless, after recovering from the rough first half, we still get to hear The National approach the quality they have on album, while Berninger boosts the mood in the tent with sudden outbreaks of bitterness, at one time slamming the mic stand audibly into the floor while wailing a particularly stressed part. With half the show falling victim to poor sound though, things admittedly never really get any better than 'just good'. [7] TL

Kasabian @ 19:30 on Orange Stage

While checking up on the names on the Roskilde poster prior to the festival, it dawned upon me that I actually knew several Kasabian songs without knowing who the band was, so I actually went to their show with quite some anticipation. However, while Kasabian's records manage to have just enough character and attitude to make a label as 'just another Brit rock' band seem unjust, the same cannot be said for their live performance here. Given a mix that deafens their more subtle and intricate characteristics in favour of loudness, the band soon seems like little more than a little brother to Oasis, whose hits are less anthemic. It's not really bad, but it's really far from exhilarating, and along with most of the audience, I choose to take in the show sitting lazily under the afternoon sun, only bopping my head to the occasional song I know well. Maybe it's the time of day, maybe it's that Kasabian doesn't have a very big audience in Denmark, but today they sound and look like a mixture of every other Brit-rock band out there, only with less people to care about their show. [6] TL

Pavement @ 20:30 on Arena

The re-union of quirky 90s indie rock legends Pavement was one of those shows I wasn't prepared to miss. Their best of compilation intrigued me enough to get hyped up about this show, mostly because the songs are so fucking weird yet they are memorable and suitable for large scale stages such as the Arena. The weirdness doesn't exactly dissipate when the curtains are moved aside, quite the opposite in fact, given one of the strangest set ups I've seen. No, there weren't any huge props on stage or anything spectacular for that matter. It was just the way these guys were standing, in a strange semi-circle, with the lead singer/guitarist facing the right side of the stage as opposed to facing the crowd, and the bassist doing the same on the other side, forming an odd little semi-circle shape. At first I thought the band were just shy, but then it occurred to one of my friends that maybe they're doing that on purpose? Maybe, just maybe, they're playing for themselves and not the crowd, a thought which is only fortified by the casual communication between the band members which resembles more of a friendly chat where the existence of an audience is largely ignored? Either way, this set up emits a special vibe to the guys on stage. They're not just a group of guys reminiscing about the past; they're a unit, tighter than most other bands I've ever seen live, where almost telepathic communication lends itself into a magical performance that sucks everyone in the audience into a trance-like state. Sure, there are the sing alongs to "Stereo", "Shady Lane" and other hits, but for the most part, people are just watching this musical unit blossom into it's pure brilliance slowly, but fucking surely. It's hard to point a finger at a particular highlight of the show that made it so great; it just was great, and everyone there could feel the magic. It was so effortless, yet so intimate. So large-scale, yet it felt like we were in a 100-capacity, bombed down venue somewhere in London. All 10,000 of us or however many people were there, crammed into that little space. I guess I'll never be able to explain it to those who weren't there, but if you're looking for a connection between the crowd and the band without the need for anything elaborate, Pavement created an unbreakable one in just an hour and a half. [9] PP

Prince @ 22:00 on Orange Stage

In all honesty, none of the staff were ever very interested in checking out Prince for any other reasons than just to see what all the fuss is about, and strolling to catch the show in the last minutes before its proposed beginning, it becomes clear that more dedication is needed to get a good look at just that. It seems that all of Roskilde's remaining guests are crammed here to watch the star close Orange stage off for the year, and it seems like even the big screens are obscured from view by a crowd so thick it doesn't budge. Leaping to occupy a few inches of footing on a nearby bench however, yours truly get to wait for Prince to be ten minutes late, before taking in a good 45 minutes of his performance to report about. Why not take in all of the two hour show you ask? Well, firstly because Prince's show, even for all his charisma and elaborate clothes and lights, quickly reveals why it can afford to drag on for so long. In 45 minutes, only four songs are performed, and the reason for their inflated length is Prince cramming in guitar solos so long that both Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mars Volta would be jealous. This would be cool if they sounded as awesome as Prince's reputation as a guitarist would suggest, but rather they sound like me strumming a note on Guitar Hero and applying the whammy bar vigorously. Moreover, everything but Prince's voice is sounding rather low and safe in the mix. As you might understand, this very quickly becomes trite, as does the second reason for my departure, namely an aggressively drunken moron who decides to take my table from me and the other seven people I share it with, by harassing and threatening everyone on it. Seeing as Prince seems more average than his legend had hinted, I quickly feel like his show is not worth suffering such behavior, and I leave feeling like the whole experience was just entirely average, though sounds of famous songs that reach me on my exodus from the festival ground seem to imply that the party got better after a while. Even if that is the case however, I really hope that the rumours saying the festival spent a third of its budget on Prince aren't true. [6] TL

Written by PP, AP, TL, NB

Photo credits: Anja Guldhammer, Rune Bøgelund, Tiina Koivisto, Charlotte Mai Jacobsen

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