Roskilde Festival 2017

author PP date 05/07/17 has been covering Roskilde Festival for thirteen years in a row. During that time we’ve watched the festival change from what was largely a rock festival in 2005 to a much maligned era of pop, electronic and world music during the Rikke Øxner years and back again to relevancy once Anders Wahrén took over as the head of booking a few years back. The results are astounding: rock and metal is back on the lineup where especially the latter booking is characterized by precise scene-relevant bookings on the smaller scale, even if the biggest headliners are scarce these days. At the same time the music scene at large has become more fragmented than ever as streaming services like Spotify, Google Play and YouTube are making all kinds of music readily available for all, so the festival has become at least 50% about the camping experience and/or party atmosphere, if not outright eclipsing the importance of music.

The signs and symptoms are present everywhere, not least in the scarce audiences for many Orange Stage concerts where the stage of all stages can house up to 85.000 music fans at the same time. It’s not that there aren’t enough headliners out there to fill massive spaces with audience - look at Hellfest or Rock Am Ring, for instance - it’s that the old days of listening to a wide array of different styles and genres is long gone and not coming back. So unless you’re a genre-festival as the two aforementioned, good luck in gathering 85.000 people in front of your stage. That is, unless you book the likes of Foo Fighters or Metallica, whose audiences transcend multiple generations.

That said, Roskilde Festival still brings out some of the best in the realm of community feeling in events connected to music, the infamous Orange Feeling that no-other festival is able to match. True to tradition, we sent a contingent of writers and photographers to cover the festival in full, reviewing the majority of relevant bands within rock and metal, as well as to report on the atmosphere and buzz outside of the music experience. Skip down to the reviews section if you’re not interested in reading about the latter. Happy reading! PP


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Remember the massive gravel pit that for almost a decade kept us out of the prime real estate for camping? It’s not there anymore, and the area has been made available for campers after a two year wait period for the filled-up ground to settle. The rush to get to these coveted locations was, to our understanding, an epic battle of anarchistic proportions as has been the case for many years in the past when the camping site opens on Saturday for the warm-up days. Probably the only time during the festival where people are generally unfriendly and unable to compromise on just about anything while struggling to find space for a large camp, it has nonetheless been a memorable part of each Roskilde goer’s experience for as long as we can remember.

With the advent of more and more specialized, pre-booked camping areas from get-a-tent and tent house to clean out loud and reserved camping, the size for free-for-all squares has considerably diminished over the years. The end result? Total chaos on first day where many festival goers reported feeling like the campsite was overcrowded and overbooked, with many struggling to find space for their camps anywhere that wasn’t reserved in advance. If the festival keeps going in the same direction with more and more specialized camping areas that require advance reservation, this part will inevitably get much worse in the future.

That said, we fully support the principles behind both silent & clean and clean out loud, because these areas always feel less like a refugee camp and more like an actual, civilized campsite, not least after the festival when most, if not all of the trash has been picked up.

Otherwise, the camping site is the same as it has been for the past few years: gigantic stereo rigs custom built for this purpose that are loaded in using trolleys that far surpass the size of regular vehicles, light systems that rival professional clubs, solar panels to power the systems, et cetera. All ensuring that should one of these bad boys be near the vicinity of your camp, you can pretty much kiss goodbye to your portable boomblaster and sleeping prior to 5am each night. Still, the campsite can best be described as a giant party where people are generous and friendly, everyone is in a good mood (well, except when it rains, but that’s understandable), booze and alcohol fuel endless nights of meeting new people, flirtatious encounters, and dancing together with close to 130.000 others in the 5th largest city in Denmark. PP


Much like the camping area this year, the festival area hasn’t changed all that much. The usual suspects return: Orange Stage in all its vast glory, the giant Arena tent with its echoing sing along potential, the modernized Avalon tent for medium-sized acts, the compact Pavilion for smaller up-and-coming artists, and of course Apollo for mostly DJ-based electronic music. Gloria, the artsy contemporary and experimental stage, has gained a more prominent role this year with multiple bands playing here that would’ve felt unthinkable just a few years back (think ‘68 featuring Josh Scogin for starters).


The multitude of shopping and culinary options across the festival is still among the most varied of any festival in the world, but particular mention has to be made to Food Court that once again housed some of the most interesting and creative offerings for festival food we’ve seen outside of North America (eating a lobster sandwich at Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas still tops our list as quite spectacular). This year, it has expanded outside of the stables to in front of Gloria, with a handful extra stalls set up serving everything from burgers to horse meat (yep). This area has in general received a revamp: art installations, chillout benches, and other stuff made it a hip place to hang out since it’s far away enough from any stages to be disrupted by loud music. Perfect for resting your body or just meeting up with friends for a cocktail or two.

Food reviews: Because we can

Not ones to miss out on good stuff, we tried out a variety of the cuisines on offer. Check out our thoughts below.

  • Fish tacos (Food court): looked amazing but tasted rather average.
  • Oxburger (near Arena): Not as good as previous years (perhaps fond memories stem from a drunken haze ;-)) but still a good value for money, especially the steak burger.
  • Kiin Kiin: (near Gloria) excellent Asian cuisine from a gourmet restaurant for a very reasonable price.
  • Gorm’s Pizza (near Gloria): Solid Italian pizzas with fast delivery - some dude ordered 20 x (!) pizzas behind me and received them within ten minutes. Impressive.
  • Brændende Kærlighed-stand: Excellent food and you received a big portion for petty cash, plus, if you asked for extra bacon, you got it free of charge.
  • Bagels (near Pavilion): Bland and ran out of dressing one of the days. Remember this being better previous years.
  • Mikuna burger (Food court): Best vegan festival food ever with sweet as well as bitter accessories.
  • Tokyo Tokyo (near Orange): Great rice paper rolls with chili sauce.
  • Hjaltes (near Pavilion): Classic toast and amazing Moroccan stew.

Expanded bar selection

Another noteworthy addition is the slightly hidden-away Beer Barn next to Arena. We discovered this only on the second last day - but what a great addition to the festival offering it is. More than 20 special beers sold at a reasonable 40-45 DKK price plus a general pub style atmosphere made it one of the most enjoyable meetup points especially prior to concerts. Highly recommend checking the place out next year should it make a welcome return.

New bars seems to be the name of the game in general this year. Two new bars, a vodka-based cocktail bar and a gin-based cocktail bar, have been introduced in the TradeZone area between Orange Stage and Pavilion, both selling reasonably priced cocktails in small or large (0.5 liter) sizes. In addition to the truck delivering cocktails on tap near Orange Stage and the returning favorites Gringo Bar et al, it seems like the focus has shifted from buying the wine cartons into half a liter cocktails this year. You could even get (organic) Rosé wine this year! Thumbs up for the added variety.

Who uses cash in 2017? Exactly.

The festival has also gone fully cashless, following in suit with today’s trends in general. A minority of cash users and foreigners wishing to avoid transaction fees could buy special cards and load cash into them pay-as-you-go style, and withdraw it at the end of the festival should they have some left. Another thumbs up because especially contactless payments made the transaction flow at all bars and booths a breeze.


One of the other brand new additions at this year festival is the opening of one of the previously closed stables next to Gloria and Food Court for a new area dubbed as KlubRÅ. This ultra artsy installation featured five-room complex ranging from a dark room with weird masks and people sitting around a TV, a giant bed on top of which a variety of sensual performance arts were on display (as well as a brutal Hexis concert), and much more. A very strange place that’s certainly intended for the more experimental arts types than the rest of us. PP




SIBIIR @ 18.30 on Rising

One would think that the metal crowd at Roskilde Festival would be eager to check out the first foreign metal band at the festival, even though some, including myself, had just wrapped up this year’s Copenhell. But when the Oslo five-piece entered the stage they were only received by a few hundred faces. It didn’t hold back SIBIIR as they already from the get-go started the hardcore-bombardment of the crowd. The first track of the high-energy blackened hardcore started out with a few hiccups (as to be expected), but were quickly fixed, and by the time the second track kicked in a small pit already emerged in the front of the crowd. Frontman Jimmy Nymoen was quick to react to this as he jumped into the crowd to get them into even higher levels of fury. It quickly became apparent that the high energy delivered by the band infected, not only the crowd, but also intrigued by passers who walked closer to check it out. After listening to SIBIIR on record I was very curious to check them out in a live setting, as they reminded me a great deal of Matyrdöd with their blackened hardcore expression. Their live performance, on the other hand, reminded me more of an Every Time I Die show mixed with black metal elements, and of course with a very energetic singer as well. This energy delivered from the front rows as well as the band continued throughout the show, unfortunately it never really reached a climax since they never got a hold of the rest of the audience. Whether it was because of a poor turnout, I am not sure. The few people that bothered to show up were treated to a solid show none the less, and after approximately 40 minutes, they left the stage. In a different setting, stage and time – perhaps in a small club, this show is bound to blow up big. Hopefully, when they return to Denmark, be sure to check them out, because this has potential to become one massive hardcore party! [7] RB


Tvivler @ 15.30 on Rising

Even though it’s nearing early afternoon, the crowd that gathered in front of Rising was even smaller than the one from yesterday. Same story as before: the band kicked the show off in best possible manner, and if you take the size of the crowd into account, it looked good. So good that the audience quickly answered with a huge mosh pit. "We can also do a wall of death – women vs. men, if you like!", singer Thomas Burø encouraged in Danish. It just goes to show how eager they were to deliver – and they did, just as they did warming up the crowd for legendary The Dillinger Escape Plan in Aarhus this past February. Their music is so compressed and intense so every fan of TDEP should feel right at home with Tvivler. It started out well for the show, with a massive pit and energy, but the crowd grew tired about halfway through. What could have been a somewhat poor concert overall turned out great thanks to the insane energy delivered by the entire band. Just like the day before, Roskilde Festival had managed to book a very promising band, who really showed they wanted to be here and play, but sadly it lacked the backing from the crowd they deserved. Even though the feedback from the audience wasn’t that impressive, there was no stopping Tvivler. Not even a blow, scratch or a kick (not quite sure what happened) to the head stopped Burø from going mental, as blood started to run down his forehead with just about 10 minutes remaining of the set. This underlines the chaos that surrounds this fairly young band, and perhaps longer down the line, these guys could be in line to fill the big shoes of the Danish metallic hardcore scene left by the departure of The Psyke Project. [7½] RB

Pom Poko @ 20:00 on Rising

Norwegian math rock band Pom Poko almost eluded me when I was checking out music for this year's festival as they have only released two songs so far on Spotify. As soon as I heard them, however, I knew I had to see them live. Their music is jumpy and melodic as well as highly accessible while also constantly featuring off-beats and difficult guitar melodies and drum patterns that sound hard to play indeed. Still, their sound is seamless and on stage, the group comes off as a bunch of playful kids who just want to have fun. Both on stage and in the audience there is dancing pretty much throughout the band's set, and especially vocalist Ragnhild Fangel jumps around with great energy. Her vocals are distinct and kind of punk in their light but stubborn attitude. Many of the band's lyrics, however, circle around the same themes and it gets a little too similar over the set as we encounter songs that seem to have only one line of lyrics throughout them. The single "It's A Trap" towards the end of the set comes off as one of the better songs here in terms of varying between a very melodic chorus and more spoken-word style verses that also give plenty of room for the guitar to freak out. Through the show, a big audience gathers and as the band finishes with a long jumping party of jams, I hear a nearby guest exclaiming: "Best show of the festival! Seriously!". I agree at the time but can also add that this show remains in my top 5 for the festival overall. [7½] LF


Baest @ 21.30 on Rising

When you take into consideration that the band has only existed for about two years, they have quickly become a fan favourite in the live setting – and this was clearly visible in the turnout even before the band emerged on stage. When they kicked the show off it became clear that many attendees knew what was about to happen. Even though Baest play old school death metal the faces of the audience were filled with grins as the dance floor opened up for an early pit; and you can see the excitement in the faces of the band members as well: everyone really wants to be here! "We are Baest from fucking Aarhus and we play old school ‘tractor-death-metal’", yells singer Simon Olsen in Danish. And this might very well be the reason for their rapid rise on the Danish metal scene: they don’t take themselves all that seriously, even though their style of choice is as brutal as it is. The concert quickly erupts into even higher energy as two separate (!) big pits form in front of the stage – a sight I have never personally seen before at Rising. And even though the energy on stage continues to stay at a high level with both intense headbanging, tight drumming behind the kit and the vocalist screaming his lungs out, the energy is even more insane amongst the audience who even pay their dues with a couple of crowd surfs (which is strictly forbidden at Roskilde Festival, mind you).

During their set, they managed to destroy Rising. I have never seen so much activity from a metal audience in the warm-up days. The deliverance by the young band was on a very high scale, but the crowd takes the metal cake this time around, which the security staff noticed since they had to call for backup to ensure everyone’s safety. Baest truly showed how one starts a metal party - and everyone loved it. Of course, they end things in true metal fashion as they demand the audience to form a massive wall of death – and the crowd obeys. Take a bow, ladies and gentlemen: Baest has entered the Danish metal scene in style, and they take no prisoners! [9] RB


Pardans @ 14:00 on Rising

The local group Pardans (meaning couple dance) is somewhat ironically named considering that their music is a cacophonic post-punk mix with both violin and saxophone to spice up their sound. Putting an experimental group like this on the small Rising stage in the middle of a sunny day doesn't exactly do wonders for their already chaotic soundscapes and while several people stick it out, it remains kind of an eclectic experience. Their vocalist paces the stage and spits out dark lyrics in a deep voice, while both violin and sax seem to bolt into free-form jazz impro next to the thundering drums whenever they feel like it. I'm impressed by the way these guys play together in a way that seems at once strictly coordinated and wildly out of control but the show itself doesn't move past this curious, eclectic stage. Under better circumstances, I’m sure they could provide a mind-blowing experience though. [5½] LF

Ştiu Nu Ştiu

Ştiu Nu Ştiu @ 20:00 on Rising

This Swedish noise/post-rock group has been on my radar for awhile and I welcome this warm-up day opportunity to experience their gloomy atmospheres live. Their music ebbs and flows and quickly builds up to an absolutely massive wall of sound tonight. They sound really good apart from the fact that their serene vocals are drowning most of the time. This is similar to the way their recorded music sounds, where the voice seems to be used more as yet another layer in the soundscape than as a purveyor of words, but tonight the balance seems to be even more in favor of the guitars which is a bit of a shame. As performers, even though they don't speak a lot, they are very good at staging their performance with different members of the band leaving the stage entirely when they don't have anything to play only to come back as they reenter the soundscapes. The raw energy they channel is mesmerising and the audience gives in to the noise while some are headbanging and others are just swaying. After a cycle of about 20 minutes of rising and falling sound, we get a calmer session with their vocalist in front before the set is slowly brought back up to the massive levels again for an epic finish. Only the sound mix stands in the way of this being a truly memorable performance, but I for one am not disappointed with this band I've heard so many good things about. [7] LF


A Day To Remember @ 17:30 on Avalon

"Hello, it’s me. The Big Stage. A Day To Remember are to play inside of me," the stage speaks to a surprisingly large crowd gathered at Avalon early on. It’s a gimmick, but it works, and our attention turns towards the scene right away. That’s how ADTR intend to keep it for the rest of the show as well come hell or high water. Their energetic, uplifting energy on stage and catchy pop punk melodies drenched in crunchy metalcore breakdowns could be enough on its own, but as we saw at Copenhell last year where they tried just that, more is needed to mask the moments where singer Jeremy McKinnon isn’t able to hit the higher notes of their expression, especially during "Homesick" songs. Not to worry. The show is characterized by a ridiculous amount of gimmicks ranging from big money production feats to light-hearted moments where the band’s objective has clearly been to push the fun/party aspect of their soundscape to its limits. For instance, the very first breakdown of the set triggers an explosion of serpentine confetti bombs into the crowd straight away. Hereafter, diagonal smoke cannons shoot across the front of the stage to create a cool smoke effect. Then giant beach balls are tossed into the audience for us to play with. And it doesn’t take long for ADTR to announce a competition they are running throughout the tour: the best crowd-surfer surfing on top of another crowd-surfer.

A Day To Remember

The audience happily obliges in hilarious attempts at prove the feat to the band. Speaking of which, whether it’s an impromptu wall of death or a huge circle pit, the growing crowd is fully into party mode at this stage. So when a Zebra-clothed dude is using an air-powered cannon to shoot merch into the crowd, or when the finalé of the show consists of a giant colourful serpentine confetti explosion above us, even the harshest critic of the band has to admit that the energetic mood of the show is infectious. Sure, "I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?" and "The Downfall Of Us All" expose Jeremy’s troubles with both the rhythm and pitch of his delivery, but that said, the humongous breakdowns during "Exposed" from the new album, as well as the huge sing alongs to the "I hate this town" bits of the melodic pop punker "All Signs Point To Lauderdale" are great moments that leave a lasting memory to our minds. Fantastic crowd interaction and energy that makes sure everyone leaves this show with a smile on their face. [8] PP

Idles @ 18:15 on Pavilion

Charged by the discontent sound of thousands of British people, Idles broke through the sound barrier earlier this year with their debut album, the highly left-wing "Brutalism". The insistent drumbeat by Jon Beavis kicks off the album-opener "Heel / Heal" before the guitars and vocalist Joe Talbot join. Once the raging bassline bursts in, the band should already have us in their grasp, but, unfortunately, they don’t. Something’s off in the mix, causing the sound to never fully embrace the listener, and what’s worse is the microphone often making a screeching noise when Talbot sings. Luckily, it only takes a few songs to fix the inferior technicalities, but the screeching noise keeps peeking in a few times still. However, by the looks of the (surprisingly big) crowd, you wouldn’t be able to tell as most people are actually giving the band a warm welcome, most clapping along or jumping up and down.


There’s not much to point fingers at in regards to the band’s own performance, though. The Tory-hating lyrics of "Mother", the massive outro of "Exeter" and the fierce guitars of "Well Done" all sees the show reach several climaxes despite whatever problems occur, and on several occasions Talbot expresses that the band’s happy to be here. Although their distorted mix of punk and post-punk is sour and politically charged, there’s a sense of warmth and welcoming that establishes a nice atmosphere in this world of right-wing politics. Let’s hope for another show with Idles on Danish soil sometime soon as today marks a pretty great show only hindered by factors out of the band’s reach. [7] MIN

Elias Bender Rønnenfelt in front for Marching Church.

Marching Church @ 20:15 on Pavilion

Marching Church used to be just another outlet for Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt but with the most recent recording, it has expanded into more than just a solo-effort. With trumpet, saxophone, extra backing vocals and a person dedicated to playing a cowbell next to a regular setup of guitars, drums and bass, the soundscape we are met with today is thus a complex one, constantly blending different genres to make a unique and dark atmosphere. With his wide hat and spoken-style bastardized version of a crooning lounge singer, Rønnenfelt easily reminds me of such great performers as Nick Cave and Tom Waits although the music reaches even further than that. There's not a lot of talk between songs from the stage and clearly the no-frills post-punk attitude is still alive and well here despite the forays into post-rock, jazz and soul ballad styles. It's a pleasant sound but also a trying experimental performance for the audience in the packed tent who can't quite keep quiet for the more drawn-out atmospheric parts of the music. Still, songs like "Heart of Life" and "Let It Come Down" are met with enthusiastic applause and the mysterious noir-like vibes slowly but surely creep through the tent and create a very special atmosphere that almost makes you forget where you are. WIth his dramatic movements, Rønnenfelt is an engaging performer and the show here tonight only makes me certain that this group’s music is worth experiencing in a more intimate venue setting someday. [7½] LF

Red Fang @ 21:30 on Avalon

With the release of their fourth album, last year’s excellent "Only Ghosts", the hype surrounding Portland, OR’s Red Fang felt justified at last. What it also achieved was to attract legions of new fans, as also evidenced by the strong turnout here, including lots of people who do not tick the usual boxes of a metal connoisseur. Somewhat against expectation, the show kicks off with the smash-hit "Blood Like Cream" off the stoner metallers’ third LP, "Whales and Leeches", and keeps the crowd thirsting for the latest material until the fifth track. It feels as much like a cheeky nod at us long-standing fans as a risky bet in terms of the newcomers — especially as both "Malverde", "Crows in Swine" and "Wires" are spruced up with extended, psychedelic jam segments — but the gamble is a success; virtually the entire tent is raging by the time the catchier "Not for You" is finally unleashed.

"I’m having a good-ass time!", exclaims the bass-wielding frontman Aaron Beam midway into the set, and his sincerity is unmistakable. He and his colleagues are on fire tonight, overflowing with passion, nerve and grit as they slab one thick groove after another unto us with unprecedented force. With a loud, hard and heavy sound mix to boot, the performance has this steamrolling quality about it that provides the perfect fodder for a large moshpit and inspires many a crowd-member to try their luck at crowd-surfing, which is ostensibly forbidden at this festival due to the tragic events of 2000. People are allowed to have their fun however, and Red Fang themselves appear to be egged on by the overwhelming enthusiasm of their audience, storming through an hour and 20 minutes of their repertoire including, of course, all of the classics à la "Sharks", "Dirt Wizard" and "Prehistoric Dog". There can be no more doubt: on the basis of this riveting performance, the Portlandians must now be considered among the genre’s royalty. [9] AP

Kevin Morby @ 22:15 on Pavilion

While most people are either watching the last part of Red Fang on Avalon or joining The Weeknd for a sing-along on Orange, I withdraw from my party to go see one of folk-rock’s brightest hopes in recent years, Kevin Morby. Although I didn’t find his latest album "City Music" quite as engaging as its predecessor, I’m still confident that I should show up on time. As I reach the outskirts of Pavilion, I see that I’m not the only one who’s decided to check out the praised musician on account of the pop-sensation a few hundred meters away, and after I’ve confined myself in the middle of the tent, increasingly more people show up and even overstretch the tent’s capacity. There’s a nice buzzing atmosphere inside, and right from the get-go people chant Morby and his band on. The set starts with the jamming "City Music", which, once it picks up speed, sees the crowd grooving along to its infectious rhythm. Unlike on record, the lengthy duration here only adds to its power.

Kevin Morby

Morby’s Ramones-tribute "1234" and the excellent "Aboard My Train" pick up further speed just before the show’s middle-part take us away from downtown – much in contrast to the build-up in "City Music" – and here is where the band truly shines. The ominous atmosphere of the jamming "Harlem River" is nicely complemented by the low lights that constantly change whenever one of Morby’s companions decide to crank out a guitar solo atop the rhythmic groove that works as the song’s consistent foundation. Afterwards, the excellent "Destroyer" follows and underscores the show’s focus on extended guitar play; where there used to be a saxophone blaring, the guitar takes over and runs alongside Morby who’s swapped his own guitar for a piano. The saxophone is usually a nice feature in the song, but the touring edition of Morby’s lineup must have decided to cut it. However, instead of being an impediment, the solo adds a red thread to the show that proves rock music is still alive and well. In addition, the show ends with the rocking "I Have Been to the Mountain" and a distorted "Dorothy" that sees the whole tent stomping their feet and sharing smiles. Tonight, Kevin Morby and his talented band brought people together for one of the festival’s earliest highlights, and you didn’t even know it. [8] MIN


Blood Command

Blood Command @ 14:15 on Pavilion

Technical difficulties cause a 20 minute delay for Blood Command’s set, but the sheer sense of urgency and immediacy that their set explodes into motion with "CTRL+ALT+DELETE" makes you forget about that straight away. Karina Ljone’s high-pitched, fierce screaming style is an acquired taste especially in a live environment, but her infectious energy on stage is not. She’s dancing left and right like a party maniac in her own world on stage, and slowly but surely, their material grows on the crowd and soon we’re all clapping and nodding along. The melodic segments off their majestic new album "Cult Drugs" sound brilliant live, thanks to Ljone hitting the catchy pop-driven melodies spot on and immediately after delivering piercing screams that put most of her male counterparts to shame. The fervent performance we’re witnessing on stage is exactly the kind of medicine you need to offer to the numerous young ladies watching: Ljone’s high-energy onslaught in the midst of a male-dominated genre of post-hardcore and punk is inspirational to watch, to say the least, even if she isn’t the only band member moving on stage. Their synth player, who doubles as a guitarist, maraca-, and tambourine-player, often rises above his amps to rock out, whilst a trumpeter joins late in the show for some chilling, Mexican-inspired instrumental segments. Still, the star of the show is without a doubt Ljone, who dances and parties her face off on stage with an impressive intensity, pulling the crowd along with her. If it wasn’t for a slightly more anonymous-sounding middle part of the show, this would’ve been one of the highlights of the festival. Even in its remaining form, Blood Command prove especially one thing: "Cult Drugs" is one of the better albums this year and it sounds even better live than on record, thanks to the relentless intensity its songs are delivered with. [7½] PP

Annisette Koppel of Savage Rose with some attitude - photo by Steffen Jørgensen.

The Savage Rose @ 16:00 on Orange Stage

Due to logistical challenges, this psych show that I had otherwise looked forward ends up being a three-song experience for me. Still, I feel like the most important vibes of the show are showcased to me in these last 20 minutes. Arriving just in time for the mellow ballad "What Do You Do Know", I settle on a patch of grass in front of the stage to listen to vocalist Annisette Koppel sing her way through it with her still impressive voice. Even though she is now 68 years old and there are hoarse edges to almost every high note she belts out, it still gives me instant goosebumps, not least when she seamlessly turns up the volume from a whisper or back down again. After this follows a session with the newer song "Freedom to Love" where the band launches into a free-form kind of jam session with Koppel encouraging the audience to yell out "Freedom! Love!" in what seems like an endless loop of hippie excitement. She also gathers her band for a little speech on the importance of these values in our society today and ends it by letting a white dove fly from her hands which receives great applause from the audience in front of Orange. For everyone who knows them as a political band, all this is not a huge surprise but it still has a firm impact as it fits the Roskilde profile, "Orange Feeling" and not least the iconic Orange Stage very well. Finally, they end with a quiet encore of the Charlie Chaplin standard "Smile", a song they have also previously released a version of on record. Despite my late arrival then, I still got a memorable experience out of this show, although I will refrain from grading it based on that. LF

Royal Blood @ 19:00 on Orange Stage

Royal Blood on Orange Stage? What on earth was Roskilde Festival thinking. Yes, they have received plenty of praise from press and fans alike, but have they really reached the critical mass required to play one of the biggest stages in the world? The answer, as we found out today, is a resounding nope. At the beginning of their set the field is almost embarrassingly empty with enough space to slalom a decently size car in between people outside the pits, although more festival attendees show up as the set progresses. Turns out, the duo’s equal part Wolfmother and The White Stripes hybrid of garage rock is an expansive enough soundscape to not feel completely out of place on the big stage. With a minimalistic light setup behind them, they make a hell of a lot of noise for a duo, and thankfully, don’t forget a little humour in the process.

Royal Blood

For instance, when their guitarist introduces the drummer, the latter walks in a slow, confident pace to the middle of the stage and stares at us for a while, before stating that when he was growing up in England, he wanted to be one man. That man is Peter Schmeichel, which the Danes in the audience get a good laugh out of. At one point, their guitarist retreats to the back of the stage and spends a good two minutes staring directly close-up at the cameraman sporting a surprised expression, which is of course projected to the screens outside on the field. It’s the little things that add up to something, right?

The longer their set drags on, the more convinced I become that they are basically Wolfmother-lite with a few references to Muse and Jack White’s various constellations. "Figure It Out", is pretty good and draws a cheering response from the crowd, and "I Only Lie When I Love You" only fortifies the former thought. On record, it sure sounds convincing. On the giant Orange Stage, the 55 minutes long (or short?) set less so, especially because it ends up sounding as if you drained all the energy of early Wolfmother songs and replaced them with fairly standard garage rock instead. Not bad, but certainly nowhere near an ‘Orange Feeling’ moment. [6½] PP

Oathbreaker @ 20:15 on Pavilion

Although I’d initially thought that Belgian hardcore/blackgaze band Oathbreaker’s set would’ve made most sense later in the evening – when it’d gotten truly dark outside – it’s nice to see that so many people have decided to show up to check this strange breed of inaccessible metal out. As expected, the show starts with the tranquil "10:56", which sees vocalist Caro Tanghe slither her soft voice across the wooden boards on which we stand. Suddenly, the drums tear a hole in the soundscape and the tremolo-effected guitars of "Second Son of R." take control. Tanghe herself starts shrieking like a hellish banshee, and the surprised look of awe I see on some people’s faces due to this sudden transition is remarkable. As a first time listener of Oathbreaker, the change might take you aback, but for us in the know, the sound unfortunately feels lackluster. The guitar is low in the mix, and thus it never really adds the wanted effect Oathbreaker’s music soaks you in; the feeling of being wrapped in a luscious blanket that’s suddenly being thrown into the ice cold water, unable to escape due to the pressure from all sides. It’s a shame, really, because the band is on fire. There’s an increased amount of energy and movement from every band member on stage than I’ve previously experienced, and it helps engage the overly talkative crowd a little bit. Especially Tanghe’s usual shift from headbanging like a fury to taking a knee or sitting on the stage while whispering quietly seems to make the audience increasingly more curious, but it’s never enough to stop the chattering happening all around.


Luckily, a little more than halfway through the set, the guitars get cranked up and I’m truly overwhelmed by Oathbreaker’s sound. What a band. "The Abyss Looks Into Me" from the band’s sophomore album "Eros|Anteros" is a nice surprise and the epic, closing guitars of "Needles in Your Skin" almost tears you off the ground and sends you levitating through the room. Fewer people are talking and starts to take notice of the brilliant band they’re actually watching, and Oathbreaker finally gets the setting they deserve. I can’t wait to see where the band will take us next as they’re definitely one of the best and most exciting bands of the scene at the moment. If only the sound throughout would’ve been just as brilliant as during these last 25-ish minutes, it could’ve been one of the best concerts of the festivals. Instead, I’ll have to merely grant them a [7]. MIN

Photo courtesy of Jacob Dinesen

Viagra Boys @ 00:30 on Pavilion

With time to pass before the evening’s last show, I stop by Pavilion to check out one of the myriad post-punk acts playing at this year’s festival: the Stockholm, Sweden-based Viagra Boys, whose name alone suggests they might be an energetic bunch. The music epitomises post-punk; the tempo is fast, the volume loud, the guitars fuzzy and the megaphonic vocal style dripping with apathy and irony. "We’re here to feel like shit and make you feel like shit," vocalist Sebastian Murphy insists, but judging by his tireless manner and awkward dance moves, this is far from his real intention. Indeed, the lazy and berating attitude experienced in songs like "Sports" seems to be little more than a smoke screen for disguising a band that is as decadent as they come. A perfect sound mix thus facilitates an unexpected party inside the packed tent, most people clearly oblivious to the lack of variety pressing Viagra Boys’ music. In the live setting, the band seems to be pretty formidable but one yearns for some daring in the song-writing department. [6] AP

High On Fire @ 01:00 on Avalon

As one of the most celebrated stoner/sludge metal bands in existence, one would have expected for High on Fire to attract a crowd of at least equal size to Red Fang’s the day before. But alas, these late-night shifts are rarely a blessing, as the Oakland, CA-based trio discovers; the Avalon tent is not even at half capacity when the opening track, "The Black Pot" (taken from the band’s 2015-effort, "Luminiferous" ), erupts from the PA. And to add insult to injury, those that did muster up the energy to turn up are visibly tired, with only scattered, tiny pockets of moshing interrupting the otherwise cross-armed appreciation every now and then. As a result, guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike and bassist Jeff Matz struggle to form a connection with their audience — even when classics like "Devilution" and "10,000 Days" (off 2005’s "Blessed Black Wings" and 2000’s "The Art of Self Defense") are slung out — despite no lack of enthusiasm on their part. Indeed, one cannot ask more of the two frontmen, both of whom seem hellbent on raising a ruckus and lead by their own, energetic example throughout the 11 songs presented. But as ever, in spite of the band’s reputation one wonders whether High on Fire really is suited for these bigger stages, where the intensity of tracks such as "Blood from Zion" has a greater chance of dissipating before reaching its intended targets. The lack of both intimacy and participation sadly means that High on Fire’s début at this festival never reaches a fever pitch. [7] AP


’68 @ 12:30 on Gloria

In a very nonchalant fashion, Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan both take the stage dressed in suits and get ready to crank out their experimental blues-rock. "Whether Terrified or Unafraid" and "This Life is Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" from the duo’s latest album "Two Parts Viper" both get things started, but not without a few detours. Right from the get-go, it's pretty obvious that Scogin’s new project’s live performance is going to be pretty different from the video’s I’ve seen of his previous band The Chariot; instead of uncontrolled, "off the hinges"-showmanship, this new duo focus on breaking down their music and piecing it back together while staring intensely at each other, creating an impeccable synergy rarely seen in any band. McClellan precisely but powerfully boulders away on his drum-set, both whilst standing straight or sitting down, while Scogin stands right in-front of him and delivers crunchy and distorted riff after riff which he then loops by use of his pedalboard. Both members with each their shoulder aimed towards the audience, they don’t really need to glance at us – their energy is so infectious that no words need to be said.


But obviously, words are going to said. Scogin’s dark, dry humor fits perfectly with the rather drowsy crowd, and minute by minute he manages to win us over with weird jokes and funny stories such as: "You guys should come along to our next show. It’s in Moscow, but you’re all invited!" and "You can find all of our music on MySpace and other places on the". Next thing you know, Scogin plays another sweet lick that he sends through the machinery, just to flip his guitar backwards to see if the audience is really paying attention to whether or not he’s actually playing anything at the moment, despite the constantly repeated lick he just delivered half a minute ago. The band toys with us and their music, and their impressive skill and flair for improvisation and synchronicity is praiseworthy – it’s almost like watching a jazz band that by tradition takes one of their songs and constantly adds something new to it. During the last few songs, we even get snippets of At the Drive-In’s "One Armed Scissor" and I believe I even heard a few chords from Weezer’s "Undone – The Sweater Song", only adding to the band’s playfulness.

When the band finally reaches its last song, "Track 1 R", Scogin loops the song’s main riff and starts taking McClellan’s drum-kit apart – piece by piece as McClellan still plays on. Huge cheers and much laughter flows through the room afterwards as the band thanks us all for coming out so early, and Scogin gets down to the front of the stage to greet the most eager attendees. I’m pretty sure the band’s garnered some new fans today at Gloria, and hopefully that means they’ll come back soon. ’68 took all of my expectations, threw them in a bag and shuffled the whole mix, thus creating something new. I wasn’t sure what I expected from the band in a live setting, but I’m glad the final result ended up like this. [8½] MIN


SVIN @ 14:30 on Gloria

When I saw SVIN last year at A Colossal Weekend, I was quite frankly taken aback by the band’s skilled musicianship and their flair for musical excursions. Unfortunately, today it feels like most of the songs the band’s playing have a template. It’s a few droning or krautrockish elements that are being repeated a few times, only louder and louder. There’s not the same adventurousness I liked about the band’s last show, nor the same progressive excursions. Except for the first few songs where the drummer sounds hollow, the sound is decent at Gloria, and the band has a surprisingly large audience, but it’s hard for me to stay focused throughout. The members are still talented, and, granted, now and then a solo, a drum-fill or an extra thick layer of saxophone kicks in, but I’m missing the element of surprise that constantly baffled me in 2016. Today, the band’s brought along a female vocalist, Mija Milovic, who contributes with screaming now and then, and although the addition is welcoming at first, she simply feels like yet another layer by the end of the set. SVIN’s performance today wasn’t bad by any means, but it just felt repetitive and ultimately a little stale, despite the obvious talents of the members of this experimental/avant-garde band. [6] MIN

Of Mice & Men

Of Mice & Men @ 16:15 on Pavilion

It baffles me that Roskilde Festival has all but ignored the post-hardcore and metalcore genre for so many years despite its surging popularity some years back and its continued support within the local scene here in Denmark. Today, they present one of the most hyped bands the genre has seen in awhile, so Pavilion is understandable rammed to its limits long before the band go on stage. And would you believe the crowd energy? Original vocalist Austin Carlile may have departed the band partly due to illness, partly due to creative differences half a year ago, but the people here are intent on making it happen and ensure a visceral mosh pit is in continuous motion. I count a total of five huge wall of deaths in the crowd, all of them self-organized, and plenty of push- and circle-pits otherwise as the band tear through the majority of "Restoring Force" plus a few other tracks. The kids sure are having a great time: there’s even a pogo circle pit at one point that looks like great fun. On stage, the band are bouncing up and down in equal measure, but are often too glued to their positions, which goes especially for bassist Aaron Pauley who has taken over vocal duties in Carlile’s wake. Worse, his scream is a little more monotone and less varied than Carlile’s charismatic clean/scream dynamic, which leaving me doubting whether they’ll be able to pull out another "Restoring Force" in the future. Still, he does a solid job in energizing the crowd and that’s really all that matters, right? Of Mice & Men’s metalcore / post-hardcore expression might be derivative of other older (better) bands in the genre, but you wouldn’t guess that based on the awesome crowd reaction today. [7½] PP

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen @ 17:00 on Avalon

You might’ve already read several headlines by now of American indie/folk singer/songwriter Angel Olsen and her remark aimed at the audience: Could you please do me a favor? Could you just shut up?", but I’m with her on this one. In the middle of a rainstorm, hundreds of people run for Avalon’s huge canvas to seek shelter from the rain only to ruin the experience for those of us who actually want to see the concert. A gang of elderly men starts singing Foo Fighters-songs, and women behind tries to shout louder than the music is. Wherever I try to go to find a safe haven, where I can listen to this wonderful artist whom I’ve been looking forward to, I’m let down by the obnoxiously talkative crowd. Even during Angel Olsen’s hit "Shut Up Kiss Me", there’s not real reaction from the crowd but the first few rows in front of the stage, and especially the softer songs are completely killed. Although Olsen’s strange persona tries to engage with us during the first few songs ("I’m inside Roskilde, now I want Roskilde inside of me"), it rubs off. And it’s a shame really, because the band’s doing a decent job, but you can feel Olsen’s frustration as the set progresses. Sure, the crackling Neil Young-esque guitars of "Sister" are so loud that they actually create an epic moment, but the following "Those Were the Days" die out right afterwards. Luckily, the dual-harmonies of Olsen and the keyboardist next to her establish some excellent melodies during the lengthy showstopper "Woman", which at least leaves me with a bit of comfort. I’m looking forward to a headlining concert of Olsen’s own in the nearby future, because this was far from satisfying. [5] MIN

Afenginn @ 18.15 on Pavilion

Perhaps due to the insane number of members in Afenginn, the show started out with a slight delay. I tried to count the members numerous times, but when the backup singers entered the stage later on, I simply gave up. Between 13 or 19 people were involved at some point, and just by that estimate they should have been given a larger stage, because it looked a bit cramped. Anyway, on with the review. This is my first encounter with Afenginn, so let me give you an idea of what Afenginn is and why they should be reviewed on this site. Picture a Balkan-esque band ala Gogol Bordello, but more progressive, and mixed with classical vibes and instruments, on top add your standard folk music. For example, the first song lasted for around 7 minutes of jamming before the vocals kicked in. You feel the Balkan-party is en route, but not before the 15th minute mark does the entire band join to get the party underway. By now it is clear that you don’t have your regular GB-ish band. The songs are long and I’m pretty sure I heard the dreadlock-wielding frontman say in the beginning that they would play only 4 songs the entire concert; you do the math.

It takes some time to adjust to their style of music, but if you manage to get into the music and really enjoy it, the Balkan/classical soundscape is magnificent, and even hauntingly beautiful at times. The audience seemed to enjoy it, but again, if you were looking for the GB-party it didn’t really come this time around. Personally, I found their take on Balkan music interesting, since I’ve never heard anything like this before. Half way through the 3rd song it finally kicked into the Balkan party that, by the looks of it, the audience had been waiting for, but still only resulted in a short applause. Next time around I know what to expect and I’m certain I would be able to enjoy it more, because this is not my last time seeing this band. It’s an interesting take on Balkan and folk music, and perhaps in a crammed club – with space for the entire band, mind you, people would hopefully be able to get into their very unique style of music. This time around the concert didn’t pass average in my book. [6] RB

Father John Misty @ 19:00 on Orange

Speaking of strange personas, next character up is the charismatic Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty, who’s been given the chance to take on the Orange Stage. As some of you might know, Tillman has a tendency of dropping acid or doing long, white lines before a show, and I can’t help but wonder what he’s up to today. Whatever it is, he’s doing a great job, because his agility and energy level is compatible to that of a twenty-year old gymnast as he slithers and jumps his away across the stage in his own dark and menacing fashion. Along with him on stage he’s got the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra (who played the Arena stage earlier today) who’re supposed to take the show to another level, but unfortunately the sound never really manages to triumph. Show-starter "Pure Comedy" displays Misty’s voice at its best, but the psychedelic space-voyage that the song’s ending usually provides – courtesy of horns and strings – takes a backseat in the mix. However, when Misty yells "Oh comedy, OH IT’S LIKE SOMETHING THAT A MADMAN WOULD CONCEIVE!, I’m happy that the tables aren’t turned.

Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty - photo courtesy of Christian Hjorth

Through the set, we’re treated to both new and older material, such as "Nancy From Now On", "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)", "When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay" and the excellent "Bored in the USA", but unfortunately the problem continues. Misty does his best at giving the performance his all, occasionally climbing fences and making pranks with the security, but not until the electronic beats of "True Affection" kick in I feel like the music’s really there – which honestly makes me wonder, wouldn’t the sound just have been better if Misty’s regular band had taken on their usual duties instead of being aided by the extra orchestra? Yes, if the orchestra had delivered the pondus originally intended, the show would’ve been immense, but instead it just leaves me a bit unsatisfied in terms of sound. As Josh Tillman closes the set with a combination of "In Twenty Years or So" and "Holy Shit", I honestly can’t complain that much due to having been entertained by the gorgeous voice and entertaining character that is Father John Misty, yet I feel like Roskilde missed out on giving the entire audience a show to remember for a long time. [6] MIN

Against Me @ 19:00 on Arena

What’s Against Me! doing on Arena, we thought before their show, fearing a disastrous turnout given the relatively small shows the band played in Copenhagen (KB18) and Malmö (KB) last couple of times. Turns out our fears were unnecessary: glancing backwards halfway through the set Arena was at least half-full or more by the looks of it, a solid turnout for one of the best bands punk rock has come up with in the 2000s. Good thing then the band delivers a great show as pretty much all punk bands have throughout the years (NOFX, Lagwagon, Strung Out, etc. Roskilde bookers, wake up please, the demand is clearly there!), curated through a fantastic set list that shouldn’t leave any fan cold, new or old. Plowing through the melodic material of "White Crosses", "New Wave" and newest album "Shape Shift With Me" is met with great response from crowd’s side, but the party really gets going for the faster and rowdier older tracks like "Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong", "T.S.R", "Cliché Guevara" and "Sink, Florida, Sink" among others. As usual, "Miami" from "Searching For A Former Clarity" is back-chillingly awesome, and the band even throws an extra goodie our way from that record in the form of "Pretty Girls (The Mover)".

Against Me!

"This song is about saving yourself, self-actualization, self-esteem.", Laura says in a rare pause from an non-stop performance where tracks morph into each other with no pause in between as is traditional in Against Me! Shows. There is only one other time we pause the music for crowd interaction, right before "Bamboo Bones" when Laura takes time to immerse herself into the size of the audience watching, and to tell us about the DIY background the band comes from: "If no-one wants to put our your record, you put it out yourself. If no-one wants to book your band, you book your own show. Thank you all for letting us be a part of this, but it’s not just about me and you. It’s about the sound guys, the volunteers, and everyone else who helps put this festival together". Wild cheers ensure straight after. The band finishes the set off with the aforementioned "Sink, Florida, Sink" and "Black Me Out", and looking back at it, the band can only be proud of their performance: energetic movement on stage, people singing along in the crowd, solid pit activity, and a boatload of simply awesome songs with basically no bad songs in between. A timely reminder that punk is not dead despite what people might tell you. [8] PP

Mammút @ 20:15 on Pavilion

After an intoxicating punk party at the Arena stage that I couldn't miss a second of, I speed through the festival grounds to make it to this much more atmospheric show at Pavilion. Because of the high I just experienced, I'm initially afraid that this icelandic rock group won't live up to it, but I am quickly proven wrong. Initially an all-female trio singing in their mother tongue, the expanded band now performs mostly English-language songs delivered in a distinct Nordic singing style that I can best describe with reference to dark melancholy and a kind of wailing way of drawing out syllables and individual notes. The indie/post-rock blend of music fits this vocal style excellently, as the guitars behave in a similar fashion as they weave intricate melodies together. "Salt" as well as brand new single "The Moon Will Never Turn on Me" make great impressions and in general, the band manages to keep up interest all around the tent throughout the set. They play a solid show without never really taking off into exceptional territory, mostly due to the open nature of a festival tent concert interfering with the intense way they build their atmospheres. Having only just learned of this band recently, I am however positively surprised and will for sure be present at their Vega show later this year. [7] LF

Hexis @ 21.00 on KlubRÅ

What a pleasant surprise! On Friday Roskilde Festival announced several club shows with various artists at their new initiative called KlubRÅ. Luckily for the metal crowd the maniacs in Hexis would finish it off. The setting was a small intimate stage you could walk all the way around and of course next to it: the RÅ bar. The area quickly filled with smoke as the distorted guitars kicked in. Coupled with the strobe lights it truly looked menacing. Since the stage was 360 degrees the band would sometimes face the other way, but that just added to the eerie atmosphere that is the music of Hexis.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Dinesen

The band is in the highest of gears, and the vocalist suddenly dives into a rapid stage dive not caring (or perhaps not noticing, due to the thick smoke) that only 10-20 people are standing right at the end of the stage. Even though the overall sound of Hexis is so massive, the wall of sound doesn’t drown in the mix, which is surprisingly good. The intensity and sound is so thick you can cut it, and the band is just going nuts on the small stage. I don’t know the songs well enough to tell them apart, but it didn’t really matter because the determination they were delivered with was so convincing. Even with the announcement being made just a week earlier, they managed to pull a fairly good crowd when you take into account that the small area probably had a cap at around 100. Coupled with their devil may care attitude the concert was a success. And even though it began to thin out in the crowd towards the end (due to Foo Fighters starting), the band kept the high energy and intensity ablaze – just like the raging weather just outside the club. [8] RB

Foo Fighters @ 22:00 on Orange Stage

Twelve years ago Foo Fighters played one of the most legendary concerts Roskilde Festival has seen to date where Dave Grohl rushed through the pits to climb a sound tower and play a solo during "Stacked Actors". It was a true example of Orange Feeling, a timeless moment that has become a benchmark to be compared against on the stage of all stages in Denmark. Needless to say, Foo Fighters’ return to the festival has been met with the kind of enthusiasm and high expectations that essentially makes them the de facto headliner of the festival ahead of the many pop and electronic bands on the lineup. And with more than two decades of arena experience and through the seemingly neverending charisma and impressive self-awareness of Dave Grohl, they deliver exactly the kind of argument for more rock bands, less pop bands at Roskilde Festival that has been needed for a while now. Because let’s be honest, not a single one of the other artists gathered this many people singing along in a collective community as Foo Fighters did, playing in front of an estimated 85.000 people jam-packed in front of Orange Stage.

Foo Fighters

With huge video screens beside and behind them, it didn’t matter where you stood, Grohl’s antics were readily visible to just about everyone on the field, as they kick off with an extended version of "All My Life". "Hey…. You wanna dance? You wanna dance? Wraaaaghhhh, here we go", Grohl screams with his rock rock star attitude, as the sing alongs get louder and louder. "Times Like These" and "Learn To Fly" follow in a three-part punch that basically delivers exactly the kind of an unforgettable Orange Stage moment that throwaway pop and electronic bands just can’t match.

"Do you like rock and roll, Roskilde?", Grohl teases us mid-song during "The Pretender". "Do you? Do you like rock and roll? I’ll give it to you… Taylor Hawkins, gimme some", he roars, turning towards his drummer in a well-rehearsed, yet natural moment of pure rock’n’roll that we’ve come to know them from. People all around me are singing along in unison - but "My Hero" is the absolute highlight in that department with tens of thousands of people singing every lyric to the song. It’s moments like these when you look at the various flags in the crowd, the slowly setting dusk that reveals the Orange Stage lights in all their glory, and the variety of people around you when you realize the true power of rock music on a stage like this. Generational anthems are aired that feel timeless so long after they were written, how many other bands on the lineup this year can say that? If there’s any proof we need less DJs and more of this, this is definitely it.

Foo Fighters

"How quiet can you get, Roskilde?", Grohl asks us, and we quiet down in impressive fashion. "I think I can hear Loorde over there", he jokes around during "Arlandria". And during old classic "Monkey Wrench" we get an almost-repeat of Grohl running into the crowd, playing guitar amidst the front pits.

Could they have skipped the pointless covers medley that included Alice Cooper’s "School’s Out" to introduce the band members that took almost ten minutes? Definitely. Could we have done with a little less extended versions of the tracks and fucking around with his rock star persona? Absolutely. But Grohl’s masterful control of his self-awareness and charisma, and understanding his role in the music industry, is nonetheless a sight to behold and makes for another unforgettable Orange Stage performance. "For 25 years I have been coming here, and I always tell people it’s one of the best festivals in the world", he tells us near the end. It feels genuine. And when "Best Of You" and "Everlong" finish the set on a high note, we’re left awe-inspired and bewildered over the continued relevance and power of Foo Fighters to live and breathe Orange Feeling anno 2017. [8½] PP

Cult Of Luna @ 01:30 on Avalon

With an even later slot than High on Fire’s the night before, Cult of Luna also find themselves with a smallish audience to entertain. But to their benefit, the Swedish post-metallers have always been a mysterious and detached sort of entity on stage, becoming lost in the sheer enormity of their music and seldom, if ever interacting with the people watching them. Starting with the gargantuan "Vicarious Redemption" off their 2013-outing, "Vertikal", the band shows more patience than I can muster, in building tension and letting an esoteric atmosphere slowly envelop the tent. But truthfully, it is not until "I: The Weapon", unleashed after almost 20 minutes of meandering, that one starts to feel engaged — and not until the subsequent "Dim" taken from the band’s magnum opus, 2006’s "Somewhere Along the Highway", that Cult of Luna has the crowd in a stranglehold. Indeed, the beginning of the concert is slow and ravaged by poor sound, but once the Umeå-born outfit gets its cyclone spinning, it is hard to feel anything else than awe at their ability to create something so cinematic. The stage is dimly lit from above and behind to reduce the six musicians to eerie silhouettes — conduits for the dark and colossal soundscape wrought by the likes of "Owlwood" and "Ghost Trail" (both taken from the "Eternal Kingdom" LP of 2008). It is an uphill struggle but as the minutes roll by, the performance grows more and more intense, draws us toward the eye of the storm until the aptly titled "In Awe of" rips through its climax and leaves the audience reeling in its wake. [7] AP


Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer @ 12:15 on Pavilion

The honor of throwing the morning metal-bash of the last day of Roskilde Festival – as is tradition – goes to the American grindcore legends Pig Destroyer this year. Since the band have never been to Scandinavia before, it’s honestly shocking that the festival’s decided to place them this early on the schedule, but at least a decent amount of people have shown up. During the first few minutes, the sound’s a bit off and all that transmits clearly through the mix is the triggered drum-kit by the impressive Adam Jarvis, but after we get some more meat on the bones, it’s a good old groove-party. When listening to the band’s songs, it’s easy to tell why Pig Destroyer’s such a renowned name within the genre; their mix of buzzsaw riffs, fierce rhythmic tempo-changes, horrific yet poetic lyrics and theatrical interludes by use of keyboards gives them a sound of their own, which is quite a feat in this genre. It takes a while for vocalist J. R. Hayes to loosen up, but after a while, he manages to jump around quite fairly, and so does the crowd. The remaining members don’t move around a lot, but at this technical rate I won’t hold them accountable. After the main set finishes, Blake Harrison on keyboards joins Hayes on vocals and performs the frightening "Gravedancer", which honestly would’ve worked better if the second microphone went better through the mix, but at least it sends the few moshing people into a frenzy. Ultimately, Pig Destroyer delivered a great set that could’ve used some more liveliness, but still satisfied fans’ needs for tasty grind. Top of the morning, Roskilde! [7] MIN

Kellermensch @ 16:00 on Arena

When I arrive at the Arena tent today, just short of 16:00, it quickly becomes evident that the show won't be starting soon. A crane is taking down some kind of line up high, presumably from the previous Emil Stabil show, and people are only allowed to gather around the edge of the tent itself. As it turns out, though, this alternative rock band is definitely worth waiting for, and after 25 minutes, we're let in and they take the stage with all of 9 live members. Between them they cover violin, cello, acoustic bass, electric bass, piano, organ, guitars, drums, and both screamed and clean vocals, so initially I am afraid that this will result in a muddled sound. Amazingly though, the mix seems to balance perfectly between noisy songs where everything layers on top of everything else for a massive atmosphere, and then more intricate pieces where more delicate guitar or violin melodies stand out in the darkness.

Kellermensch's Sebastian Wolff rocking out.

The setlist is divided between songs from the group's self-titled 2011 album and slightly more songs from this year's "Goliath". They start out with the calmer "How To Get By" that sets the mood with pained lyrics like "When you're tired of living / It's best to be afraid to die / So for now / That's how I'll get by". Afterwards though, the show really kicks into gear with the big riffs of "Don't Let It Bring You Down" and "Mediocre Man", and they as well as later on "Pain of Salvation", "Bad Sign" and "Army Ants" all get exceptionally great crowd reactions, but really the audience is ready to rock out from the beginning to the end. There's energetic activity across the stage throughout the show as well and especially vocalist and guitarist Sebastian Wolff captures the audience as he performs with a devil-may-care attitude and croons through these melancholic and sinister lyrics with a dark voice while throwing himself around the stage. Throughout the show, I'm amazed at the quality of the sound mix that lets every instrument be heard, and although I'm still only superficially familiar with the group's material, the intense show doesn't once lose my interest. As this show is now at least in my top 3 of favorite concerts at this year's Roskilde Festival, I for sure know what I'll be listening to for the next couple of weeks of my summer. [9] LF

Full of Hell @ 16:15 on Pavilion

The festival’s most extreme name, the all-around guys in Full of Hell, are here to show Roskilde a broad variety of what’s possible within the genre. As the introduction to the song "Deluminate" off the band’s newest – and excellent – record, "Trumpeting Ecstasy", fades out, the entire band fires on all cylinders, perfectly complemented by the perfectly rotten sound that blares through the speakers. Dave Bland is delivering the festival’s fastest and most fierce delivery on the drums, while vocalist Dylan Walker performs the most impressive delivery I can remember having seen in a long time; his range goes from guttural growls to rasping screams over haunting shrieks, sounding more like an army of hellspawn entities than any human being. Meanwhile, Walker even manages to jump back and forth from his panel of electronic devices that he uses to make inferior noise whenever he seems fit. On each side of the stage, we find Spencer Hazard on guitar (stage right) and Sam DiGristine on bass (stage left), both working like pillars that sustain the music’s relentless core. Hazard is the epitome of an endless onslaught of chaotic guitar playing and bassist DiGristine provides some extra movement on-stage while also helping with extra vocal-duties on several songs, such as "Crawling Back to God".

Full of Hell

"Fuck The Lumineers!", Walker yells every time a break appears and the loud sounds from Orange Stage peeks its head in. Full of Hell is just what the last day of the festival needs: a fucking blazing sound inferno that refuses to loosen its grip, even if the mosh pits up front aren’t quite as exemplary as one could’ve wanted and even though the festival’s primary target would rather listen to cheap indie-folk than this relentless four-piece. When the rest of the band slows down and Walker walks unto the edge of the stage alone to throatily scream at us that "men will fail… men will always fail!" during "Gnawed Flesh", it’s with a self-assurance that musician’s twice his age are still trying to gain – self-assurance that working your way from the bottom will give you, not having one crowd-pleasing hit-single. There are a few spastic, noisy interludes (courtesy of Walker’s strange electronic device) that seems to have the oblivious crowd outside the pits puzzled and the set honestly loses a bit of momentum occasionally due to this, but it’s not enough to shake the impressive band. During the set, Pig Destroyer’s Blake Harrison joins Full of Hell for a less intense, noisy spoken-vocal seance, but once again most of the crowd just looks bewildered. With a more devoted crowd in a more intimate setting, Full of Hell’s show could’ve been nothing short of fantastic, but instead it’ll be categorized as one of the most insidious concerts I’ve seen at Roskilde yet. [8] MIN

Rachel Goswell of Slowdive.

Slowdive @ 18:00 on Avalon

As Slowdive is an iconic shoegaze band that I've looked forward to seeing for a while, I'm slightly disappointed with the turnout in the Avalon tent which mostly has big gaps in the audience in the back. No matter though, as this just leaves more space for the rest of us to dream away to the serene sound of the group's songs. Heads are bobbing and bodies are swaying in time to the music all around the tent and cheers are yelled out as favorite songs are recognized. As serene and light as we start out however, as oppositely intense and heavily dreamy does the show get later and it keeps oscillating between these two vibes that go very well together. The Britons treat us to a few songs from around their catalogue, with most being from their new self-titled comeback album. "Crazy For You", "Catch The Breeze", "Alison" and "When the Sun Hits" thus make appearances alongside new hits like "No Longer Making Time", "Star Roving" and not least "Sugar for the Pill". They celebrate the fact that they're playing at a decent time this year as opposed to their middle-of-the-night slot the last time they visited Roskilde. A slightly later show would still have been preferable as the dark would then envelop the dreamy show and no doubt the experience will be more intimate on their headlining tour this Autumn. Still, their Roskilde appearance should satisfy most fans although it's not as magical as it could have been. [7] LF

Trap Them @ 18:15 on Pavilion

Although all the cards are right for crust-punk band Trap Them’s show to go down as something vicious, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not going to. During the slow show-starter "Kindred Dirt", which also functions as the album-opener off the band’s latest album "Crown Feral" from 2016, there’s a highly evident lack of guitar and bass volume, which unfortunately follows in the next song, "Hellionaires". Throughout Trap Them’s entire 45-minute show, only Ryan McKenney’s harsh voice and Brad Fickeisen’s intense drumming are truly audible in the sound mix. The excellent display at Full of Hell’s show is gone, and left are Trap Them, only shaved down to the bare necessities.

Trap Them

Although working the part as a notorious frontman well, McKenney’s delivery feels lackluster, as he doesn’t sing several of the words in the band’s songs. This wouldn’t really have been an issue if the two rather anonymous axemen were louder, but in this stripped-down version, it feels a little embarrassing. Being on tour and delivering McKenney’s energy every day has to be hard (he constantly throws himself into the pit and has several bruises), but it can only get you so far if the rest of the cogwheels aren’t working. Ultimately, Trap Them’s set at Roskilde Festival doesn’t reach my expectations one bit, and I can’t possibly be the only one who leaves the Pavilion stage slightly disappointed. [5½] MIN

Neurosis @ 20:00 on Avalon

Neurosis is well underway by the time I arrive at the Avalon tent, which has quickly established itself as a metalhead’s mecca at this festival. So as you might imagine, I feel the weight of shame upon my shoulders, coming to these post-metal legends straight from watching Ice Cube (ahem…) and if the expression on frontmen Scott Kelly & Steven Von Till’s faces is anything to go by, my tardiness is violently scorned upon. But despite my short tenure as the reviewer-on-duty here, I have no trouble capturing the gist of it; Neurosis is always fearsome live and although they lack the visuals of their previous Roskilde-concert, the ferocity with which they play makes me shudder. The extra noise and clang afforded to them by a festival pavilion has the Oakland, CA metallers sounding both menacing and monumental as they burrow through the likes of "Locust Star" (off 1996’s "Through Silver in Blood") and "The Doorway" (taken from their 1999-record, "Times of Grace"). This is cold, unforgiving stuff made even more punishing by the threatening movements and the grimaces worn by five musicians, and even though (symptomatically) the number of people in attendance is quite frankly an insult to the legacy of this band, there are no signs to be noticed that Neurosis is somehow put off by the circumstances. This is vintage Neurosis: furiously intense and, at times, beautifully grandiose. [8]

Anthrax @ 21:15 on Arena

It is difficult to imagine Anthrax dispensing more energy than they did, playing their 1987-classic, "Among the Living", from beginning to end in Copenhagen earlier this year. Yet faced with the largest crowd out of any metal band performing at the festival this year, the Bay Area icons somehow manage to up the ante and deliver one of their most electrifying shows on Danish soil. Whether pumping their fists in unison, surging to the edge of the stage to brandish their instruments, kneeling and rolling on the floor with crazed expressions on their faces or executing scissor-jumps, everything about vocalist Joey Belladonna and his cohorts — guitarists Jonathan Donais & Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante — screams euphoria and witnessing this, large swathes of the audience are drawn into mosh pits, crowd-surfing and million-dollar grins. Without exaggerating, the performance of Anthrax here is spectacular… which makes it all the more depressing to realise that whoever they hired as the sound technician, seems to have passed out, smashing his head into the mixer and spilling his beer on whatever knobs were still working.

Both "Among the Living" and "Caught in a Mosh" are completely drowned by an inferno of bassy rumble and it is not until the final stretch, ear plugs shoved as deep as they will go, that it is possible to distinguish the timeless melody of "Medusa" (off the band’s sophomore album, "Spreading the Disease" from 1985) and eventually the closing track, "Indians" (which is of 1987 vintage). It is such a pleasure and privilege to experience veterans playing like they never grew old, offering a youthful exuberance so often lacking in the sterile, super serious metal hopefuls of today. It feels unfair that what could have been one of the most legendary metal concerts in the 45-year history of Roskilde Festival should be hindered by something so mundane as a muddled mix. [7] AP

Arcade Fire @ 22:00 on Orange

After having blasted a slowed-down version of the title-track off their upcoming album, "Everything Now" through the speakers, Arcade Fire makes a daring move to open the show with their biggest ‘hit’, "Wake Up". Although many people are still finding their places inside the Orange Stage’s pits, they take part in singing the song’s signature "oh-ohs", cementing that Arcade Fire are ready to take on stages of this size. People who aren’t fans might not notice, but unfortunately the heavy main-guitar riff doesn’t thunder the way it’s intended to do, and a tendency among the set’s first half appears where the many different instruments among the seven-piece live band aren’t fully audible in the mix. It’s nothing horrible, the feeling’s still there and the important elements are present, but for a long time fan it’s a bit of a nuisance.

The set proceeds with the actual rendition of the ABBA-esque "Everything Now" before a surprisingly effective "Here Comes the Night Time" slowly makes waves across the field. When Arcade Fire’s latest single, "Signs of Life", arrives, Win Butler dives into the photo-pit, and although the actual song itself doesn’t really impress me the way "Everything Now" did, Butler’s dive is a nice gimmick that gets the crowd going. During "No Cars Go" Butler increasingly connects with us, and through the show you can feel his confidence growing as he wins over the crowd little by little. But it’s not only he who’s trying to win our hearts; the entire band is all smiles and especially the overly energetic Régine Chassagne sends us kisses behind her keytar. And then behind her drum-kit. And then behind her keyboard. Symptomatic for Arcade Fire’s performance, there’s a lot of movement and instrumental switches on-stage, which might hinder the sound guy a bit, but once the guitars of "Month of May" rages on and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" rings loud from the stage – with Chassagne’s wonderfully frail high-pitch piercing the bass – we seem to be in the clear.

Arcade Fire - photo courtesy of Christian Hjorth

The "Reflektor" title-track sets off an avalanche of amazing songs, which is preceded by "Afterlife" and "Creature Comfort" (also off the band’s upcoming record). "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" booms as smoke starts to rise from the stage while horizontal lasers seem to burn the setup, and once the colossal sing-along from "Rebellion (Lies)" reaches its peak, the band’s taken the night and stolen our hearts. After 85 minutes, Win Butler asks the stage crew if the band has any time left, and after receiving his yes the band decide to play "Neon Bible". Although not everyone knows the lyrics, it feels like everyone’s trying, and a wonderful sense of unity melts the pits in front of the stage together, collectively preaching the end of the world via the song’s cryptic message. And that’s just what a collective like Arcade Fire can do –bring people together, through the good times and the bad. A bunch of seemingly misfits who fourteen years ago created one of modern indie rock’s greatest and most critically acclaimed albums, "Funeral" and went on to become a huge stadium act while keeping both their aesthetics and musical integrity in place. Unlike their show at Northside Festival 2014, the quirks and overly pretentious shenanigans are gone tonight. On-stage stands an act who are streamlined, yet unique in all of their red and golden colors with a setlist so tightly and prominently stitched together that it couldn’t have been matched for the larger masses any better. It’s an act with something to say, and this time around they’re heard – this time around, the message doesn’t drown in superfluous noise. If only the sound had been spot-on for the entire show, Arcade Fire would’ve been untouchable. [8] MIN

PH / Mr. Peter Hayden Band @ 22:30 on Gloria

As one of the more interesting initiatives at this year’s festival, the final hours of the programme at the indoor Gloria stage had been dedicated to celebrating the rising tide of Finnish experimental music. The first out of three artists presented is PH (formerly known as Mr. Peter Hayden), whose crisscrossing between a myriad genres makes their music impossible to pigeonhole. PH themselves dub their slow and elusive, sample-soaked songs as ‘meta-rock’ to avoid having to use an abstract definition like ‘post-space-doom-rock’. Even the triangular and trapezoid screens that form a bow over the stage are sending static in capitulation and while the music is nothing if not challenging, the band manages to make it quite intriguing with a vivid light show and by establishing a kind of artistic distance between themselves and the audience. The four musicians spend most of the set in stationary poses, just in front of their respective spotlights to remain but shadows, but when occasionally the music does pick up the tempo, they are not shy about getting carried away by it and exerting themselves physically. Still, I am not entirely convinced, as while PH is an interesting (albeit not entirely riveting) live act, it bothers me somewhat that they seem to revel in being a hard sell and providing a steep learning curve for prospective listeners. [6] AP

Oranssi Pazuzu @ 23:45 on Gloria

Nevermind the fact that only us Finns can pronounce the moniker, Oranssi Pazuzu has been on the lips of virtually everyone since they released their breakthrough LP, "Värähtelijä", last year. Their unique fusion of black metal and psychedelic rock has earned the band countless accolades already and it has not hurt the quintet’s cause either, that they happen to be an enthralling live act, too. And if that was lost on anyone, what we witness tonight should provide a timely reminder; as soon as the perpetual, eerily hypnotic clean guitar played by Ikon throughout "Saturaatio" invites crashing cymbals, keyboard and a tremolo discharge to the mêlée, the entire band becomes embroiled in some kind of extreme séance. Each musician outdoes the other in being violently puppeteered by the music, yet at the same time, the collective seems to transform into a single organism, morphing, ebbing and flowing as one.

Oranssi Pazuzu is truly a spectacle to watch live, yet none of the effort would matter if the music then fell short and began to bore. But the thing is, these Finns are as prodigious at penning a tune as they are at the art of showmanship, and what they produce is something so rare as original. One simply cannot fathom of another artist capable of blending mesmerism and sheer terror with such grace as is the case on the likes of "Lahja" and "Vasemman käden hierarkia" — the stuff is beautifully deranged and, as already mentioned, the band’s performance is an exact physical manifestation of it. The nefarious shrieks and growls of frontman Jun-His are often accompanied by a messianic opening of his arms, whilst Ikon and bassist Ontto twitch, stomp and hurl themselves around the stage, with EviL slumping over his keyboards on the flank and Korjak beating the skins with hellbent determination. Indeed, this Seinäjoki-born ensemble brings us all to its thrall and concludes a metaller’s Roskilde Festival on a glorious note. [9] AP

Atomikylä @ 01:15 on Gloria

As the final act to grace the Gloria stage this year, Atomikylä makes full use of the extra minutes afforded them by delivering their trippiest session yet. Rather than creating songs in the traditional sense, the four musicians (Oranssi Pazuzu’s frontman Jun-His and bassist Ontto, and Dark Buddha Rising’s guitarist Vesa Ajomo and drummer Jukka Rämänen) challenge and feed off one another in dark, monolithic jams infusing black metal, doom and psychedelic rock, the first of which clocks in at nearly 25 minutes. Growls and shrieks by Ajomo and Jun-His do occasionally break the spell but by-and-large, the idea behind Atomikylä seems to be to completely and utterly mesmerise audiences by way of protracted improvisation — to follow the music however far, and in whatever direction it wants to go. The modus operandi of this ensemble is thus quite an acquired taste and it is easy to understand why all but the most hardened connoisseurs of psychedelic music gradually trickle out of the barn. Those that remain, however, are given an experience unlike any other, even if the group is sometimes caught in excessive meandering. [7] AP

Sort Sol @ 02:00 on Arena

Another older group for me to finally experience at this year's festival is the old alternative rock group Sort Sol who have the honor of closing the festivities on the Arena stage. Even though it isn't mentioned on stage until briefly at the end of the performance, the group is joined by a bunch of different star musicians in each their own way. These comprise Sunn O))) founder Stephen O'Malley, keyboardist Timm Mason, electronics master/producer Randall Dunn (who also mixed their new album), steel guitarist Maggie Björklund, singer-songwriter Lydmor, bassist Anders 'AC' Christensen, and guitarist Manoj Ramdas. Next to the regular members, vocalist Steen Jørgensen, guitarist Lars Top-Galia and drummer Tomas Ortved, these people make for us tonight a noisy and massive performance that more than anything paints Sort Sol as an experimental band who won't compromise for anyone although their songs are mostly in themselves pretty accessible. This is both a good and a bad thing. The sound as they burn through rhythmically firm songs like "Next Century" or "Siggimund Blue" is very loud, shaking us awake despite the late hour. Calmer ballads like the Lydmor-assisted "... Like A Trance Like..." and "A Stroke of Midnight" provide us with enchanting and dream-like breathing room at other times, and overall the band includes very different songs from across their albums in the set.

Steen Jørgensen of Sort Sol.

Their newer more electronically based sound dominates a big part of it though, and It doesn't always make for a coherent experience, as especially the crowd-dividing hit ballad "Let Your Fingers Do The Walking" cements at the end. They make sure relatively early, though, that the people staying around for the entirety of the set are the ones willing to open themselves to these very different musical expressions. For an extended period of time, they thus bolt into a massive guitar noise session that thins out the crowd to about half and that honestly drags out way longer than my tired mind can sustain at this point. In retrospect, it makes sense now that I know that Sunn O))) was involved in this show, but to a casual fan it only underscores how Sort Sol is a band with so much artistic integrity that it becomes a little hard to follow them at a popular festival show like this, and even one that in my mind at least was supposed to end by gathering the audience and not making them walk out in bulk. One part of me, then, finds it pretty cool that a band such as this, featuring something as obscure as a Sunn O))) member, can close a festival as popular and big as Roskilde, while another part of me is not so sure that it really was a success all things considered. [6] LF


And that, my friends, concludes the main part of the festival article. 40 reviews of rock and metal bands (plus many others seen, just not deemed relevant in this context), thoughts about the festival overall, and much more. As usual, everyone had a great time; the rain and mud on Friday didn’t dampen overall crowd atmosphere as much as we had initially feared. Plus weather gods were on our side as the predicted ragnarok of 70-80 mm of rain within two days never manifested itself in reality (as usual, proving DMI totally wrong in their prognosis).

Alas, all that remains is our traditional bullet point summary about what we thought was great about the festival this year, and what needs to be improved for future editions.

See you next year! PP


  • Well done with the mud: huge roads of wood chip (especially around Pavillon and Avalon) helped you through an otherwise muddy, slippery Saturday
  • Food options are still sublime compared to other festivals
  • Cashless festival: awesome addition. Queues moved faster.
  • Foo Fighters - a true Orange Feeling moment that felt timeless
  • Generally really good sound across all stages.
  • Beer cans sold unopened at Orange: GREAT addition. You could now buy as many cans as you needed to go to the middle of Orange Stage and not have to swim through for a re-up.
  • Beer Barn: great addition next to Arena. Will hang out here a lot more next time.
  • Although the metal bands were sparse, Roskilde Festival had booked some top notch bands like Cult of Luna, Full of Hell and Oathbreaker.
  • Less bongo bongo world music and nobody even noticed it was gone. Glad to see the money well spent elsewhere.


  • Perhaps the most aggressive pant collectors yet, super annoying when they trawl through packed crowds in the middle of concerts, or ask for drinks that aren’t even finished yet when you’re hanging out with your friends at a bar.
  • Camping chaos day 1: difficulty finding spots, some people were moved afterwards, etc. Too many pre-reserved camping areas means many camps had enormous difficulty in finding spots in the non-reserved camping
  • Wine sold out quickly towards the evening in the Orange Stage booths
  • More rock and metal sub-headliners needed. The undercard (Full of Hell, Oathbreaker, Pig Destroyer, etc.) was excellent, but bands like Mastodon, Deftones, Machine Head, etc. would draw in more fans of the rock and metal, and create some bigger shows within the genres.
  • The decreased festival area is starting to be an issue: way too crowded during the evenings since Odeon area has disappeared completely.
  • Bathrooms were in horrible condition on the festival site on any given evening. Absolutely disgusting way too many times.


  • People having trouble getting into the Festival Area: East on Day 1 was a disaster where people missed out on bands like ADTR, Vanishing Twin and Phlake

All photos by: Lykke Nielsen and Peter Troest, except where otherwise noted.

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