Roskilde Festival 2008

author PP date 20/07/08

I've been attending Roskilde Festival every year since 2004. But not until this year have I been able to truly appreciate the "orange feeling" atmosphere that the festival so eagerly tries to promote, mostly because I've now had the chance of visiting several festivals around Europe which more than clearly lacked the same feel good atmosphere that Roskilde Festival has every year, rain or shine. The ability to spend Sunday to Wednesday partying with your friends in your own camp (as well as other camps) is what makes this festival different from others, as it creates the kind of atmosphere where everyone is equal, whether you are a man or a woman, a Dane or an African, Asian or South American, tall or short, fat or thin... no matter what you see when you look in the mirror, the people at Roskilde Festival welcome you with open arms, sharing their booze and friendship gladly. Whilst other festivals are just about music, Roskilde Festival is about so much more than that. This, on top of the fact that in the last couple of years the festival bookers have pretty much failed every year, is the reason why I hear so many people stating that the four day "warm up" before the band's is their favourite part of the festival. In a year like 2008, I found myself agreeing 100% with this statement.

Once again, if you weren't at the festival and don't plan on attending in the future, you might want to scroll down straight to the reviews, as for the next couple of paragraphs, I will be talking about things very specifically related to this year's festival. Otherwise, keep reading in order to get the most out of our Roskilde Festival 2008 coverage.

The Queue

As you may or may not remember, I encouraged all of our readers to take part in the queuing experience in our preview article. You see, the warm up days after the queue are so great year after year that we tend to forget about the painful experience that is queueing, or in other words, standing in line for the better part of eight hours (discounting the bit where you just sit down and enjoy some drinks). It sucks every year, but it seemed like this year, last year's problem had only been multiplied. The festival had attempted to make the queuing an easier experience through a maze-setup which would lead people towards the ticketing booths in an organized fashion. At this point I'd like to ask you guys a rhetorical question: what do you think happens when you place over 10,000 people to queue at the east entrance? Already around 10pm, the queuing system lost all purpose as people simply broke through the separating fences, creating a chaotic line for god knows how manyeth year in a row. You'd imagine the organizers had learn something and would've doubled the amount of check-in booths from last year's trouble... but no. Everywhere around me there were people screaming for water because of the extreme temperatures they had to cope with whilst getting towards the check-in zone. Not to speak of the insane boredom we had to live with due to standing alone in line for a few hours, since it was pretty much impossible to keep your friends close to you with people pushing from all directions.

As opposed to last year, the festival had a massive display standing next to the queue, giving "vital" information like "don't push" etc for the guests. I'm sure I'm speaking for everyone in the queue when I say that by the 800th time of seeing the same message pop up, I was hoping for some change. Even the person taking care of the display must have fallen asleep, considering how windows update forced the computer running behind it to reboot, triggering lots of laughter and amusement across the crowd. But here's an idea. Next year, the festival should open the massive queue screen for the public. What I mean is, make people pay for, say, 0.25DKR per message that will then be added to the screen, thus making it function as a real time chatroom of sorts. I don't know about you guys, but I can imagine a ton of funny messages I could've sent on that screen during the most boring moments in the queue. And definitely make sure that once people have stood 12 hours in the queue and first get into the limbo zone at somethingpast 3 in the morning, don't allow people to break the goddamn gate before 4 in the morning. That's over two hours earlier than last year and is really unfair to people who aren't in the limbo zone yet even though they may have queued since the afternoon.

The Camping & Activities

If you were at the festival, you'll already know this, and if you weren't, you'll probably have heard your friends bragging about it. This year's warm up week (as well as the actual festival weekend) had the best weather we've had this decade (bold statement without having attended pre-2004 - it was just that good). The sun was out for the entirety of the week, with as much as 0mm of rain throughout the week, while temperatures were reaching towards 30 degrees Celsius by the end of the warm up period. Despite having spent 90% of last year swimming in one massive lake, I found myself wishing for at least a little bit of rain just to offset the retardedly strong sun and heat that woke everyone up around 9:30 each morning. The festival had to even deploy watering trucks across the camping and festival area to keep the amount of dust to the minimum. Those who attended in 2005 - it was even dried and warmed than that year.

As for the camping in general, everyone who visited camp seemed to be having a great time. Or maybe they were just pretending, I don't know. But on a serious note, we had well over 40 people this year, with many first timers in our camp who definitely raised the bar for next year. The exact amount of drinks that were consumed in the Rockfreaks camp is probably not something we should publish in order to maintain even the slightest bit of credibility for the magazine, but let me just mention that as myself, PP, TL and two other guys arrived with 240 cans of beer in total, they were destroyed in exactly 3 hours and 40 minutes. Just look at that beer tower in the picture. Hopefully this will induce even more of you readers to attend or visit our camp next year, as we absolutely love meeting all of you guys and to have arguments about why we are right and you are wrong. Just kidding.

But lets jump on a completely different subject: the extra curricular activities at the festival this year. Visiting agora M, you would be able to try on some ice skating (on hard plastic), which wasn't anywhere near a real ice skating experience but nonetheless a source of hilarious moments. Visiting Agora H (if I remember correctly), you were able to take on the hardcore gamers in FIFA Soccer on Xbox (PS3?), play Counter-Strike or some racing game, or if you're freak like me, play guitar hero and get dominated by people who have absolutely no life (getting a 424 note streak on expert in the most difficult song of Aerosmith edition is absolutely ridiculous even though I'm pretty good in the game myself). If you weren't into the electronic sports as they say, you could either watch the football European Championship final on a big screen, or easily jump into the artificial lake or enjoy a tequila sunrise at the bar near Agora K. Alternatively, if you felt that the weather was becoming slightly too warm, you could've participated in annual naked race in camping area West.

Let us not forget about the bands that played during the warm up session either. Based on what I wrote above, though, you can imagine that we didn't spend too much time checking out the up and coming bands at the festival, but even so, rumour had spread our way that Slagsmålsklubben, a Swedish electro-club act, would put up the biggest party you'll ever have seen on Pavilion Jr. scene to date. Now I realize that's a bold statement to make, but I've honestly never seen as many people at the warm up concert as during Slagsmålsklubben. Despite arriving well on time, there was no chance we were fitting underneath that tent, as there were about four or five times as many people outside. Not that it mattered though, as people were dancing in a frenzy as far back as I was able to see (and I'm pretty tall!). ([9])

Booking & Schedule

Alright, so this is the part where I rant about pretty much the ONLY negative aspects this year's festival had, the only reason why I wouldn't rate this year's festival 9½ or 10 overall. Lets just start with the obvious: band booking. Although it's not always publicized in the best way, Roskilde Festival has a musical theme each year, a focus on a specific genre, if you will. This year's focus was electronic (etc) music. Bands like Radiohead, Battles, Enter Shikari, Holy Fuck and many other much more underground names were on the bill, essentially making Roskilde Festival the place to be this year if you're into the electronic genres. In this respect, the festival did a very good job on booking bands specifically related to this genre. But nonetheless, you were left wondering where bands like Nine Inch Nails (among others) were considering they had free dates around the festival days.

Additionally, considering the disaster that was last year's water-chaos, the festival had promised to spend 20 million Danish crowns extra on booking bands this year, an increase of over 100% from last year's budget unless I've misunderstood something. So the big question is, where did all the money go? Sure, the festival had Slayer, Judas Priest, The Dillinger Escape Plan and a bunch of other metal names, but what happened to rock names like Foo Fighters or The Hives? Whilst I love all the three aforementioned bands, I understand perfectly clear why the festival ended up over 10,000 tickets short this year: I just haven't experienced the Orange Stage half-empty during two of the biggest headliners the festival had this year. The metal fans were all there, just as the electro fans were there for Chemical Brothers and the real oldschoolers for Neil Young, but even so, none of these bands were able to pull the kind of crowds that Tool, Deftones, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Black Sabbath and many others have done in the past three years. I'm also sure I'm not the only one who is complaining about the lack of punk rock every year, with Anti-Flag being the only punk band this year (a 300% decrease from last year). This is kind of weird considering for the last three years, the punk bands have never scored lowly in our reviews (and we are not alone, trust me). Lagwagon put up one of the funnest shows of 2006, Against Me! demonstrated just exactly why they are considered one of the best live bands of the world last year, and Anti-Flag put on a performance worthy of top3 rating this year.

But as if the lack of great bands wasn't enough this year, the people deciding over the schedule decided that it was about time to really piss people off. When you have so many big bands on the bill (I could count them with 2 hands out of the 180 or so), why on earth would you place the main attractions on at the same time? I would love to know what went through the minds of the bookers when they decided to put The Dillinger Escape Plan, Neil Young and My Bloody Valentine on at the same time. Do they not have the faintest idea about how diverse today's music fans are in their tastes? There's a reason why many of these bands are as big as they are, because everyone likes them. The same applies for scheduling Anti-Flag on at the same time as Enter Shikari with Slayer starting their set only an hour after their set. At a festival like Roskilde, the people who go to an Anti-Flag show will also go see Enter Shikari and Slayer. And before you complain about the difficulty of scheduling because of band's schedules, I have to note how at Rock Am Ring, I saw over 30 bands that I consider to be amazing, and only had to miss two or three that I really wanted to see. So it is possible to schedule bands properly, it's just a mystery why Roskilde Festival seems to fail at it time after time.

Nonetheless, enough rambling, lets get on with the actual reviews, shall we. PP

Thursday 3. July

Clutch @ 17:30 on Odeon

After having heard from numerous friends that Clutch was a band to be checked out, I decided to let their opening of the Odeon stage be the opening of my musical experience at this years festival. They come on strong and tight, rolling through their hard rockin' material like it's no sweat. Odeon's pretty packed, and the people seem to dig the show, understandably, as Clutch has got enough groovy passages to go around. For me though, towards the middle of the show the set starts to feel a bit flat, as there doesn't really seem to be any variation to the band's formula. They're the kind of band who come on, do what they do and do it well, but when the novelty has worn out, there's little more to get excited about. [7] TL

MGMT @ 19:30 on Odeon

MGMT, the duo from Brooklyn, New York has turned into a full band for live shows. This usually means a transformation towards a more regular rock show from the more melodic alternative strands they otherwise possess. MGMT played on Odeon with a crisp and clear sound, and the band had a huge stage presence during the show. As a result of this, their stage performance was strong, despite the band's tendency towards doing little more on stage than staying stationary. The band had a very good presence in the tent and managed to create a very electric atmosphere, which no doubt was felt even by the innocent bystanders on the outskirts of the tent and was definitely most obvious with the crowd happily singing along for several songs. There was definitely a great harmony between the band and this no doubt was the main contributor towards the amazing atmosphere. MGMT have a very unique sound; in particular the voice of the lead singer is very high, so much so that several times during the concert I had to remind myself that it was in fact a male rather than a female lead singer. All the atmospheric glamour aside, the gig was not perfect, especially lacking in fabric connection at the beginning. The transitions between songs were initially quite poor, leaving a disjointed impression until the band managed to thread their songs together into proper transitions, for what did become a very good gig overall. [8] JM

Bullet For My Valentine @ 20:30 on Arena

There's a couple of good things to be said about Bullet For My Valentine's set at Arena this year. First off, the downgrading of the show from Orange is one of the few things the bookers managed to do right this year. Secondly, while Arena isn't exactly packed today, it seems that the crowd that's gathered are actually into the band and giving good response, and finally, while the sound is far from crystal clear, it at least has a good punch to it, making you feel the songs pound your chest in a satisfying manner. That being said, I've grown to be disgusted with this band. I used to love them, but there's something about the way they handle themselves that make sick. With a recent album that quite frankly sucks the big one, there doesn't seem to be any reason for the band to believe the retarded amount of hype they're given from their major label. However, Matt and his pack act larger than life, and more importantly, much larger than their own material. Pair this with the fact that the lame "We came to fuckin' rock" comments sound so contrived it makes me want to vomit, and you might be able to follow me when I say I want to nominate Bullet for "Bullshit act of the year" - And to all the people who loved it to bits I can only say; Wake up and smell the shit you're being served. [4½] TL

Radiohead @ 22:00 on Orange

Before the festival, I had predicted Radiohead's show to be the best one at Roskilde, because I thought their electronic experimentation could entrance the entire Orange stage crowd into a tranquillized, magical bubble, where people would stand hypnotized as the band would deliver their all time classics one after another. About 80% of the people at the show can now take a stab at me and say I'm no Nostradamus when it comes to predicting band performances. I say 80%, because the 20% in the pits and right outside surely had an amazing time, while the rest of us had to suffer with the idiotic decision of breaking up the video-feed into nine small bits, making it impossible for anyone standing a bit further away to see or understand what the hell was going on stage. Add to the fact that because of the new noise regulations at Orange stage (the volume must not exceed 104 decibels), people were talking loudly and ruining some of the band's most beautiful songs, instead of having the music all-encompasse the entire Orange stage area the way I had imagined it to do. In the end, we ended up standing quite far back without having the faintest of clues what was going on stage, except for the constant croon of Thom Yorke, which, to be frank, sounded really boring live as opposed to sounding as amazing as it does on record. The 'big name' disappointment title this year goes to Radiohead, for sure. [6] PP

Friday 4. July

Raunchy @ 12:00 on Odeon

Danish metalheads Raunchy were gearing up for a Roskilde Festival appearance in support of an album, that is easily a contender for the album of the year award, and almost certainly the best record to come out of Denmark this year. Understandably excited and eager to play their new songs live, the band put on a performance that puts them straight in the big leagues, with energetic live show and awesome use of the brand new Odeon light set up this year. But it wasn't all roses and happy faces during their show. Allow me to ask a question from anyone who saw the show (or the band itself, for that matter): what on earth is the purpose of the keyboard guy other than just to play samples? Even during the most elementary of keyboard melodies, it seemed as if all of it was coming from a sample track and he was simply pressing on the keyboard to get the next sample coming out. The same applied for pretty much all of their clean vocals at the show: the main vocalist distanced the microphone from his mouth to a distance which surely wouldn't have registered any audio, and the keyboardist was spotted at least three times turning his face away from the microphone even whilst the clean vocals were sung precisely like they were on the album. Raunchy, I understand that you guys wanted to put up a great show with perfect sound to celebrate your first ever Roskilde appearance, but come on. The small glitches and fails in some of the impossibly beautiful vocal melodies are part of the experience, and at least make you about ten times more credible. That being said, though, every other part of the band, the screams and growls, the pounding drum work, and the slashing guitar work, was delivered with passion of a band that knows it's released something timeless recently. [7] PP

Job For A Cowboy @ 13:00 on Pavilion

I was planning to see Job For A Cowboy in Metal Town, but apparently fate wanted it otherwise; wanted to preserve the surprise, and so ailed the band, forcing them to cancel their performances just prior to Roskilde. And as much as I'd like to have seen how these young death metal up-shoots handle a big stage performance, what they showcase in the Pavilion tent today has me thinking they've got to be more at home on a tiny, intimate stage. Because for the good part of an hour, two thousand eyes are glued on Jonny Davy unleashing hell on Dyrskuepladsen. Taking breaks only to catch their breath, Job For A Cowboy pound through almost their entire catalog, including more underground material like "Entombment of a Machine" and the absolutely monstrous closer "Knee Deep" from the band's debut EP, "Doom". The quakes that ripple from Brent Riggs' bass slapping and Jon Rice's double-pedaling feel like punches in the stomach, but when the instruments fall silent and the ground rumbles from the sheer weight of Davy's vocal, I find myself humbled in his presence. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there's something overwhelmingly powerful about Jonny Davy's stage persona. Whether it's his gestures, or the sheer satanism of his looks; I don't know, but one thing's certain: these guys deliver the most menacing, gut-wrenching and just downright evil performance of this year's festival. [8] AP

Band Of Horses @ 16:00 on Arena

To anyone who has been keeping track of things of late, the show Band Of Horses put on at arena couldn't have been a surprise. Harvesting fans by the boatload with super-sonic singles "The Funeral" and "Is There A Ghost", there's a reason people are talking about them as the new Coldplay, and effectively, Arena is packed with people who want to see if the band can live up to their hype live. Long story short though, they only succeed momentarily. Band Of Horses is a band who has 3-5 songs that are absolutely brilliant, and when they play them, the effect and response is massive, but nothing can hide the fact that spread out over a set of about an hour, there's going to be some material that sounds like filler between those brilliant highlights. It's not that anything they play is flat out bad, it's just that the experience ends up feeling somewhat bumpy when the material seems as inconsistent as is the case. [7] TL

Rotten Sound @ 17:00 on Pavilion

Apparently Rotten Sound have accumulated somewhat of a cult status in Finland - and in being the only Finnish band on the bill this year, these grindcore/hardcore fusionists weren't a band I was prepared to miss. But in expecting inhumanly fast technical proficiency I am wrong, because these dudes don't live up to the promotional hype in Roskilde Festival's information booklet. In fact, it's hard to even grant them that grindcore stamp, because the political bullshit that Keijo Niinimaa blurts out in between songs is more characteristic of hardcore punk, and the d-beat drumming and low-fret guitar work do little to shatter this impression. Sure, there are a few songs here and there that are faithful to the grindcore genre, but the aforementioned social critique is so contrived it's hard to swallow. Throughout the set I find myself wishing Keijo would shut the fuck up and get down to some music, only to be disappointed at yet another standard hardcore track. [4] AP

Veto @ 18:30 on Arena

Let's just put it out in the open. Veto was one of the most superior and awesome bands performing on this years festival. Coming on Arena and receiving a downright massive response, the band seemed to grow from their usual stature into a band of a size having no trouble filling out the entire tent while reaching people outside of it as well. Okay, so there was a slight problem here and there, hitting cues and getting samples rolling, but once the music was playing, it insisted on grabbing hold of the audience, entrancing us and, needlessly, making us further susceptible to the words of singer Troels Abrahamsen. I say needlessly, because in both the case of Veto's lyrics and Troels' voice, there's so much strength that the expression could strongarm the most loudmouthed of punk rock acts. Every song is delivered as urgent and seemingly important as the last, and it serves to the band's credit that they are capable of lifting tracks that I would otherwise have expected to make out lulls in the set. Very fuckin' good. [9] TL

Kings Of Leon @ 19:30 on Orange

Like I stated in the preview article for Roskilde, Kings Of Leon is supposedly a fuckin' big deal, and listening to them perform on Orange stage, it's hard to miss why that is. Unphazed by the enormous size of the stage and the vast crowd, the band sound almost as good as on record as they play through songs, that even people around me who claim not to know the band are nodding in recognition. Personally I find it delightful to discover that here's a singer who's capable of doing live what he does on record, and all in all, it's hard to put a finger on the sonic side of Kings Of Leon's performance. Easily accessible without ever coming even close to being vulgar, they have the soundscape covered, however, when it comes to their visual presentation, there isn't much to look at. Sure, if you're used to seeing pop rock bands only, you might not find anything wrong with their appearance, but veteran gig-attendees will support my claim, that in a live environment, a good band is one that rocks out on stage, giving us the impression that playing their stuff is more than a job to them, and at that task, Kings Of Leon pretty much fail. I say pretty much, because after having watched them for a while, I decided to sit down, seeing as the show obviously didn't require the attention of my eyes. Pretty good nonetheless [6½] TL

Mogwai @ 21:00 on Arena

Mogwai are considered the main band in their genre, post-rock as it is sometimes referred to. They are known to play quiet and reflective songs, which can sometimes be very long. The 5 man Scottish band is known to give a show more easily described as a journey. Despite not having the pleasure of the entire show, I was privileged to share part of this journey. I felt the quiet and reflective atmosphere throughout the tent and yet I didn’t feel as engaged as I had hoped. It was nonetheless a very nice contrast to some of the heavier music that I otherwise endured during the festival. I may have enjoyed it more had I been sitting in a comfortable chair relaxing with a nice drink, but as it was, I was left standing in a somewhat ambivalent state. As the music continued to stream towards me, however, I felt less and less engaged and ended up wishing for some engagement from the band. Overall, though, it was a very pleasant encounter and for those that did not have the opportunity or perhaps even the desire to pass by Arena stage that Friday night, I can only recommend a taster of their music: Pleasant and good, but unfortunately not more than that. [6] JM

Battles @ 00:00 on Odeon

Battles was one of the bands I was most excited about before coming to the festival. Even though I only knew the songs they had posted on Myspace, I could see how their show during the midnight darkness could become a hypnotizing one, one of those where you'll just end up moving yourself into the rhythms of the music while departing entirely from the physical world. And that's precisely what happened during their show, as the packed Odeon tent transformed into a The Mars Volta kind of telepathic jamming experience. Not that Battles were jamming, it's just their style, but it often felt like that and I mean it in the best way possible. Seeing this band perform live is probably the closest experience to being on hard drugs I've had to date. [7½] PP

Saturday 5. July

A Kid Hereafter in the Grinding Light @ 14:00 on Pavilion

Having heard only good things about A Kid Hereafter's grindcore side project, I decide to catch their show, once again in the Pavilion tent (I'm spending more time in there than at any other stage it seems). Now, the hype that surrounds this strange act isn't exactly massive, but when there's hype for A Kid Hereafter in the Grinding Light, it's usually the best sort. And surely enough, everything this group's been praised for is what happens in Pavilion. Thirty or so shorter than short grindcore tracks and a whole lot of amusing moments later I'm still cracking a smile about the sheer entertainment value of A Kid Hereafter's stage persona. Whoever came to this show expecting serious musicianship must be sorely disappointed - and curiously enough, the amount of audience in the tent grows exponentially as the show progresses, reaching it's absolute climax with the infamous "Epic Eternal", a three-second, one-chord song that still manages to room drums, bass, dual-guitars and even vocals. [7] AP

The Grand @ 15:00 on Arena

One of the beauties of Roskilde Festival is that they never really have a strong enough lineup to keep you busy all day long. That's why every year, I end up checking out bands like The Grand, whom I've never even heard by name but who have the potential to surprise, and surprise is what they did as well. Their style of music is hard to describe to start out with, as it varies between the poppy end of garage rock and ultra-experimentalist stoner rock, far surpassing the creative dimension of QOTSA. They fired either three minute rockers with catchy choruses, or occasionally wandered into ten progressive pieces, complete with endless repetitions and frenzied keyboard parts. Although their set had lots of rock n' roll attitude, a vital ingredient was missing the whole time: this band just doesn't have enough good songs to sustain an hour long set - which effectively is the biggest problem with all the "small names" at Roskilde Festival every year. Nonetheless, for the material that they had, they kept me entertained the entire hour. [7] PP

Tokyo Police Club @ 16:00 on Saturday

Tokyo Police Club have been famed as the successors to The Strokes and seem to have a personal restriction on the length of their songs, as these rarely go beyond two minutes. Now my question on the day was whether these apparent successors were ready to step up to the challenge and whether they would have something new to offer. The show started without any bells or whistles and was a very straight forward rock show with no real surprises. The band had a very crisp execution, and for the most part, clean transitions, showing signs of both good communication amongst the band but also good stage performance skills. The vocals were clean but sometimes I felt they were too long compared with the music, but of course this is not directly the fault of the band and yet still a part of their show. The band definitely is likened to The Strokes for a reason, with their sound ever reminding its listeners of the particular style of The Strokes. The band was quite lively on stage and it was good to see the band enjoy itself, with the lead singer almost throughout plastered with a happy grin on his face and the keyboard player going absolutely mental in the background. The lead singer had a peculiar fascination with getting everybody to clap, which despite the repetitiveness, actually did help improve the crowd interaction and overall atmosphere. The crowd interaction throughout however seemed strained and forced. The lead singer several times made uneasy chatter and the otherwise good stage transitions were turned into unnatural breaks between songs. This however seems to be evidence of a young band rather than anything particularly flawed with them. With a set of 22 songs in one hour, they really need to ramp up their song list and especially throw on some more crowd pleasers. That said, however, I think this is a band with huge potential. Overall it was a very good performance from such a young band, however in the view of making a fair assessment rather than letting my grading become irrational and emotional, I am afraid I cannot give them top marks. They still lack the complete ability to handle the crowds and interact smoothly throughout the show. I am however not in doubt that this is something that will no doubt come with further experience and therefore despite not giving them the high marks that the Roskilde Festival’s newspaper gave them, I want to make it very clear that I enjoyed their show, even though I believe this is a much more professional and fairer assessment of their show. [6] JM

The Fashion @ 17:00 on Arena

The Fashion is a Danish band currently working in the States to become the next big thing, however, upon getting offered to play Arena, they decided to come back home for the one occasion, and seeing as I absolutely love a couple of their old songs, I decided to check their set out. One thing about them is for sure: you definetely can't blame them for not trying. With a lead singer who's constantly dancing around the stage, encouraging the afternoon crowd to participate more, and one up beat indie/power-pop dance-track after another, the show has party-potential. However, it's quite clear that variation really would work wonders for The Fashion, as the only real highlight of the show comes in the form of their three best songs "Let's Go Dancing", "Cut It Up" and "Roller Disco Inferno", all delivered one after another right in the middle of the show. This results in the rest of the show feeling like a downward curve, especially since the words of "Take The Money And Run" are delivered on top of high notes mixed so high they hurt my ears even through the earplugs. Alright but nothing more. [6] TL

Judas Priest @ 19:00 on Orange

To be honest, I didn't expect much more from Judas Priest than a bunch of old farts playing songs that were cool in the 80s with about no stage movement at all. After all, the dude's are like 60 years old or something, how good could the be? Wrong. First of all, seeing Rob Halford slowly creep around stage looking like something out of a Dracula movie was scary as hell. Second of all, his voice was freaking amazing. It's unfathomable how strong and freaking evil his voice can still sound even after fourty years of rocking out. His shrieks echoed around the entire field, whilst his outfit probably had more leather and metal bits than most other metal bands will have during their entire career. What I'm talking about is a dude so freaking metal at his 60s that you can have nothing more than respect for him. To name just one of the many memorable moments from their show: he gave a new meaning to the word "crowd control" during his operatic "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah" moments - think The Ramones, only ten times bigger, and ten times more metal. Combine that with an awesome setlist of killer speed metal songs, and you have one of the best performances at Orange Stage this year. The fact that he brought out a massive motorcycle for the encore was the icing on top of a sweet tasting cake. [8½] PP

The Dillinger Escape Plan @ 21:00 on Odeon

Before the festival, I wrote that I expected The Dillinger Express (as the announced called them, fucking retard) to pretty much destroy all of Odeon stage so that after their show, nothing but rubble would remain. And without exaggerating it a single bit, it was pretty fucking close. When the guitarists weren't busy jumping off insanely high platforms while throwing themselves around in a frenzied chaos, they jumped into the crowd guitar first. It tells a story when after the first song they had to pull out an unconscious dude because vocalist Greg had pounced on him from the stage. What I'm describing here is the craziest fucking live show I've seen in my life, with band members flying around the stage as if they had rocket engines attached to their backs. Uncontrollable movements, full on insanity contrasted by soothing jazz sessions before everything exploded into pure anarchy on stage. The Roskilde security personnel were in trouble as just after the second song, one of the guitarists (or was it the bassist? hard to tell when so much insanity is going on) tried to launch himself into the crowd, only to be held back by a security dude who received a few well-aimed punches in the face. All I can tell you, is that after you see The Dillinger Escape Plan, any band who stands still will make you feel like they should just get off stage. Easily the best show at Roskilde this year together with Anti-Flag's show. [9] PP

Neil Young @ 21:30 on Orange

The biggest Canadian name at the festival and a long standing rock legend, Neil Young had a lot to live up to. He is one of the great legends that has influenced many great names, he sits among the Bob Dylan’s of this world when it comes to success history and music influence. He is a musician that has explored many genres from folk, rock, pop and even very briefly the electronic genre. He is one of the old classic rockers who was famous for his live jam sessions and awesome guitar playing. Thus was the setting set for a concert with high expectations. It must be said he started a little slow, but not in terms of music quality yet nonetheless he didn’t seem as passionate as expected. However I do believe he left no one disappointed by the end of the show. Perhaps some like myself were left with the horrible dilemma that after he had already played 2 hours my feet were aching after a long day with many shows and yet despite this you couldn’t help but want to hear more. He delivered several amazing guitar solos and was seen on several occasions just having a good time with his band. The personal highlight of the show was when the camera caught him in the middle of a solo turned towards his other band members with a massive smile on his face with sweat dripping down the side of his face. To see that immense joy in playing from a musician that has been doing festivals and gigs for as long as he has is truly very rare and yet very rewarding. The show was also penetrated by this sheer joy and involvement, which I have no doubt the audience felt, at least in the pits and undoubtedly also the majority of the field in front of Orange Stage. As had been rumored he played several Beatles songs in his encore. The show was plain and simple captivating, and I was only left with an even greater respect for Neil Young as a musician after the very engaging display he put on. However, he could have interacted more with the crowd in my opinion and this therefore leaves his performance just a little short of the perfect mark. [9] JM

The Chemical Brothers @ 01:00 on Orange Stage

What do you get when you place The Chemical Brothers in front of 50,000 festival goers under the influence of some euphoric substance? A party. A huge party; one that even Tiestö's rave night last year couldn't parallel. During the two hours of non-stop electro, I hardly even catch a glimpse of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons from behind their on-stage equipment, not to mention raving lunatics jumping, moshing and dancing in front of me, behind me, around me (granted, I only saw half of the show). But a Chemical Brothers show is first and utmost about the music, and not about what's on stage. And so for two full hours the area before Orange Stage transforms into a club, complete with breathtaking visual effects: lasers, digital images, holographic creatures - you name it. The sound is loud and clear; so loud, in fact, that the entirety of the show can be listened to with ease from our camp. Now, I'm not a fan of electronic music so I might not know what I'm talking about, but the set does seem somewhat polarized and repetitive, and while that's fine as it is, it's just not that out-of-the-body experience, say Tool was able to create in 2006. [7] AP

Sunday 6. July

At The Gates @ 14:00 on Arena

Swedish metal Gods At The Gates had reunited for a bunch of festival shows this summer. Roskilde Festival did the only right thing imaginable and booked them, to the joy of all Danish (and foreign, for that matter) metal fans out there. It's just too bad that the band didn't live up to the expectations live. Part of this was due to the muddy sound that they experienced, which buried all the guitar melodies underneath the pummeling drums and thumping bass. But even bigger part was their boring stage show, which saw all the instrumentalist dudes just standing still, maybe doing the occasional head bang here and there. But it was really only the vocalist who was the life of their show, running from left to right, inducing sing alongs from the front-crowds even if us at the back couldn't hear them at well. So although the band played all their classics, with "Blinded By Fear" predictably taking the title as the best song of the day, they didn't really convince me overall, mostly because of their boring stage show. These guys need to see Dillinger play live. [6] PP

Path Of No Return @ 15:00 on Pavilion

Seeing this band for the second time in less than a week my words on Path Of No Return's lack of diversity material-wise sound louder than ever. It doesn't exactly help either that the band fails at establishing any sort of connection with the audience, and though it's primarily due to an uninterested crowd that's unfamiliar with the music, it still hurts. These Swedish dudes do everything in their power to compensate though: the volume is on max, and especially the drums have a good, solid punch to them. And if there's one thing to praise these guys for, it's an intense, captivating live presence. The guys fly all over the place, jumping off and into speakers, screaming and generally paying royalties to such masters of entropy as Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. But until the band refines their catalog to include those true gems that everyone can recognize, there's little to keep a crowd interested for the entire duration of the set. [6] AP

Enter Shikari @ 16:00 on Arena

When Enter Shikari come on, they are faced with a challenge put to them by the incompetence of Roskilde's booking department. As much as I like ES, the crowd they pull on this Sunday afternoon would have been a good swap for the one that closed Fedde Le Grand's set in Astoria on Friday evening. Never have I ever seen a frontpit as empty as the one I was standing in during their show. However, the band does the only right thing under the circumstances. They work even harder than normally to get a party started, and they are largely successful. More people are drawn to the tent, and the frontpits are in constant movement. When the guys aren't too busy actually playing their songs, they're cartwheeling through the air, crowdsurfing the pits or giving us lessons in retarded dance moves. On several occasions, vocalist Rou takes the mic on adventures so far from his amp that it's unplugged, and a technician has to re-attach it, effectively marking the only thing you can even remotely complain about in the band's performance. Even the lack of people in the pits ends up as an advantage, as the circlepits the band instigates have the room to be fuckin' massive, even if they are composed of few people. In conclusion, it's evident, that like most good bands, Enter Shikari isn't as liked in Denmark as they deserve to be, but if they continue to give shows like this one, that might just end up changing soon enough [8½] TL

Anti-Flag @ 16:00 on Odeon

Whilst Enter Shikari was having immense trouble filling their tent, Odeon was filled with both Anti-Flag fans and people curious to see pretty much the ONLY punk rock name at Roskilde this year (hint hint, organizers, the tent was full, book 10 times more punk bands next year!). And these people didn't come for nothing, because Anti-Flag easily surpassed any other show I've seen by these guys before. First of all, they took to the stage and played at least five or six songs before speaking to the audience at all, and these were all biting punk rockers that got the mosh pits going. Then they proclaimed that were all a big family, regardless of race or culture, and how much they appreciated what this festival stands for and made everyone clap for it. The security guards were already having trouble with people dancing maniacally in the mosh pits to the songs, and then their worst nightmare came true: Anti-Flag announced they wanted to make history in Roskilde by having the biggest circle pit the festival has seen (probably as a revenge to the security guards holding them back from being too close to the barrier). And it started expanding.... and expanding.. and expanding.. until it was so big that I was afraid people were about to hit the support structures of the tent if it got any bigger. Certainly the biggest one I remember at any Roskilde Festival so far. At this point every single security guard was helplessly standing at the barrier, probably going through different nightmare scenarios relating to Pearl Jam in their mind, but there was nothing they could do. As soon as the song got going, everyone in the circle started rushing towards the centre of the circle, creating effectively a circular wall of death (even though the band just wanted to make a circle pit), and that's when the crowd absolutely exploded. From this point on, everyone was moshing, and there was so much dust in air from the ground that people had trouble breathing. None of this mattered though, as the band had the crowd participating at all times, whether it was fists in air or massive singalongs in "Turncoat". At one point, Justin even told the crowd to just scream as loud as they fucking can, so that "people outside of this tent will think 'what the hell is going on over there, it sounds like something amazing just happened'". Closing the set with the brilliant "Die Die Die Die Die for your government" mass-singalong was a great idea as well, because as the band left the stage with people chanting their name, about half of the crowd re-assembled near the merch stand for the meet and greet session with the band. Roskilde Festival, every year you book one punk band and they are always among the top5 performances that year, so why on earth don't you book five or six more big punk acts instead of booking all the useless crap that you do most of the time? They don't even cost that much. [9] PP

Slayer @ 17:00 on Orange Stage

No introduction should be needed for one of the most influential metal bands, or simply just one of the most influential bands of our time. But why the fuck must the metal headliner always play bathing in sunlight? Metal is about everything evil and should be played in the dark. That being said, there's little to complain about during 75 minutes of old school Slayer (just two songs from newest album "Christ Illusion" were included). I don't remember experiencing such excellence in sound on Orange Stage before - perhaps with the exception of Tool - not only is it loud as fuck, it's also crystal clear. Every bass drum-kick; every blistering note of some guitar solo; and every lyric sounds like it's just been recorded in a studio. From what I can see, the stage show isn't too wild, but this does nothing to reduce the entertainment value of Slayer's set. The dudes simply look mean and metal as fuck, and supplement this with music that's even more so. "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood" - need I say more? Without a doubt the metal show of Roskilde 2008, and for me the perfect conclusion to a near-perfect festival. [9] AP

Final Word & Recommendations

Other than for the terrible scheduling and booking, though, this year's festival gets top notch character from this magazine. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and the several new additions to this year's festival were great. Not just the ability to spend only 25 kroner on a sandwich bigger than the head of most people (causing immense lines in the morning), but also the explosion village and the ice skating rink provided entertainment for money's worth during the festival. Nonetheless, there's no such thing as perfect (even though our rating scale begs to differ), so here's our collective list on things that should be improved for next year, in no specific order:

- The queue. Add about three or four times more points where you are given wristbands for the queue day, so that people don't have to stand without water / toilet / food for 12 hours or more in order to secure a good camping spot. Alternatively, allow people to exchange their tickets to wristbands a few days before the warm up begins.

- The booking: please book some rock bands next year. The metal was awesome this year, but come on, comparing this year's lineup to pretty much any other festival would leave Roskilde blushing and turning away, especially when Roskilde Festival has one of the biggest band budgets out of all festivals in Europe.

- The scheduling: for any band that's even relatively "known", be it in their own country or in Denmark, make sure that there are no bands playing simultaneously other than unknown local acts. People WILL want to see these bands. Don't put a punk band on at the same time as a hardcore band, put on a punk band whilst a rapper is playing, for instance.

- Choice of tents: Having Gnarls Barkley play at Orange Stage whilst Band Of Horses fills Arena up to its limits is just plain wrong. Or having Enter Shikari play at Arena and have only a few hundred people show up, while Slagsmålsklubben fills five or six times the size of Pavilion stage.. it just doesn't make any sense. And lets not even get into the Fedde Le Grand situation where they had to stop the performance because of too many people in the tent. More research is needed on this department.

- Official newspaper. Instead of hiring to do reviews in Danish, please hire professionals who actually know something about music and/or live performances. Almost every single one of their ratings were wrong , and I don't even want to mention the sheer amount of grammar and spelling mistakes in the English version of the festival news paper reviews.

Anyway, to end this review on a good note, this year's festival dried up last year's horrible experienced already by the third or fourth day. Even though the lineup was among the worst in the festival history, the execution and the atmosphere at the festival were better than any other time I've attended (since 2004). Overall, great job and see you next year! We are already counting days at this magazine, and we will no doubt be closely following any official or unofficial announcements about next year's festival. Keep an eye on this space.

Written by PP, TL, AP, JM

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