Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN - 24/3
Roskilde Festival 2014Previous Next
author PP date 10/07/14
From identity crisis just a few years ago to a renewed purpose and a clear mission is one way to characterize the evolution of Roskilde Festival recently. What at one point was in a serious danger of becoming a Sunny Beach party for electronic raves on the campsite has once again returned to its roots, to the hippie values and inclusiveness of the original founders of the festival, all this without feeling stale and dated in the process. The increased focus on the 'more than music' ideology has revitalized the quintessential 'Orange Feeling' that the festival has been defined by for decades now. It has brought diversity and variety back to the camping site, even if some of it has come at the cost of music lineups that are unable to compete against European rivals in an era where genre festivals are marching forward in seemingly unstoppable fashion. So today, my dear reader, I ask you this: what percentage of your decision to buy a 2000 DKK ticket to the festival is based on musical preferences only? 50%? Less? The truth is there are 50.000 people out of the maximum 75.000 tickets sold waiting in queue on Sunday, 5 full days before the real music even starts. Yes, people have always stood in queue long before the festival area opens, but the numbers are increasing every year, and it is already now clear that you could get by watching just one or two bands and the ticket price would still be worth it for the camping experience alone. To me, this is a worrying development and something that Roskilde Festival should address sooner than later. Do we really need another 2007-style rain year to send a wakeup call to the bookers when the following year will see ticket sales decrease drastically due to the perceived diminishing value of the camping experience as a part of the 'Orange Feeling' I talked about earlier? Food for thought....
That critique notwithstanding, Roskilde Festival 2014 was, once again, an amazing experience for everybody involved. The volunteers, the media, the fans, the bands, the organizers, and practically all people we spoke with during the festival were all smiles, save for brief morning hangovers (that were quickly cured with booze before 10am). So read along for our extensive article covering all sides of the blurring Roskilde experience from the queue through the bands to the anarchy-on-site that is Sunday evening/night. PP
For most of us, the Roskilde Festival experience starts sometime during the early hours of Sunday as we cram ourselves into packed trains from Copenhagen main station to make our way towards one of the camping entrances. Close to 50.000 people had booked tickets to one of the four waiting areas in front of the entrances. This used to be a source of absolute anarchy and chaos as you never knew when the fence would be toppled and you'd have to grab all your stuff and run. This usually happened at a random time between 2 to 14 hours prior to the official opening, so understandably the festival spent many years on futile attempts to heighten the fence, to build a double fence, to add more guards, and God knows what to solve the problem. Until the obvious solution finally dawned on them a couple of years ago.
You can't push over a fence that isn't there.
What seems like a completely illogical response to people entering the camping site early, the removal of the fence a few years ago completely solved the problem. Wristbands aren't issued before exactly 18:00 on Sunday, so there's no way to get to the other side without being on the receiving end of a 3500 DKK fine. Awesome. This approach worked beautifully in 2014 as well, with the exception of thousands of people being pushed through the gates at exactly 18:00 without being stopped for safety reasons. But rest assured, the festival deserves much kudos for solving its most annoying problem of the 2000s.
Now, let's focus on what is seriously becoming an issue for any bigger group of friends wanting to camp together. The moment the gates open, there is immediate rush, panic, and chaos as people strive to fight each other off for the most optimal camping locations. This means lots of angry shouting, unnecessary rudeness, and sometimes permanently soured neighbor camp-relations as people strive for the closest real world example of Darwin's survival of the fittest.
This needs changing. Urgently. And the solution is actually already there, at the 25,000 capacity Groezrock Festival in rural Belgium. Here, the campsite is opened meter-by-meter through a line of volunteers holding a rope. Until tents occupy the space that is currently open, the rope does not move. This is an extremely efficient system as those who wish to wait for a better spot can simply wait at the rope, and those who want to setup camp on the space already open can do so step-by-step, efficiently grouping their friends together. As an added bonus you can even show up a day later with 30 people and still have space for everyone to camp together. Not to even mention that the space on campsite is used far more effectively and tightly. PP
But once you're in, it's all good. You set up your camps, pavilions, prep your sound systems, grab your beers, and set out for a week long party with all your friends and strangers. This year, the gravel pit had moved once again, opening up more space in the G and L areas in East, which seemed to be the most popular locations aside from West. At H tower, Dream City occupants had already access to the camping grounds months earlier to build innovative structures and themed camps to compete for the camp of the year. H is extremely susceptible for mud on rain years due to its sloped hills and lower altitude in general, but it's a perfect location to showcase some of that innovative variety that I mentioned earlier. Here, you could find the Blastbeast.dk metal camp, be baptized in a church, go take a swim in a ball pit like a 5 year old, and do much more. They say people living in Dream City never visit any of the other areas of the festival because they've already established their own community in the weeks and months leading up to the festival. Hippie spirit at its highest.
Over at P you find the silent & clean area. If you don't feel like sleeping next to a 500W stereo system playing dubstep from 21:00 to 07:00, or if you think that the thrash is just too much, this is your home. Back over at K, a little closer, is the awesome swimming lake, which with its cold water is quite possibly the best cure for a hangover you can think of. And because of lower temperatures this year, it was never really that busy, until the last two days or so, keeping it cleaner and less disgusting than what is the norm. They do take hourly measurements though just to ensure its safe to jump in.
At West, you find all sorts of activities from a climbing wall to sports and a skate park. Their service center also has a bigger variety of food and other items than East, which makes it a popular spot for campers and visitor alike.
As something new in 2014, the festival warm-up stage has been moved from Pavilion to a stage of its own called Rising in East. This is a fantastic addition because it's no longer so freaking far from everything, meaning more and more people go check out the warm up music between Monday and Wednesday. It also makes Pavilion a much more special stage when the festival area opens because you won't have hung out there all week already.
As for the atmosphere, well, a quick stroll around the campsite I found at least the following styles of music played: dance music, electronic music, pop music, metal, rock, 90s music, hip hop, chart hits, and internet samples. I'm sure there are far more, but seems like the variety was well in check in this department as well. The sound systems ranged from incredible setups that looked more like clubs with flashing LED lights and DJ booths to tiny boom boxes and more elaborate boxes on wheels customized in colourful fashion. At the same time, I took note of some people trying to parasail with a skateboard, a pink fairy being pushed down on a shopping cart, a guy wearing a tinfoil hat with his smartphone taped on it broadcasting everything live 24/7 to his website, a Flintstones camp, and lots of other stuff you wouldn't believe if I mentioned here. 'You gotta see it to believe it'-sort of thing.
One of the smaller mobile garbage collection vehicles
In previous years garbage has been a serious problem. Sure, there's still waste everywhere, but with the added service of garbage trucks driving around a few times a day, voluntarily collecting your bin bags from your camp meant that the whole festival felt much cleaner than it has in years. At the same time, the pant collectors were probably the nicest and least threatening I've seen thus far, so the combination meant that the festival deserves a bonus mark for trying to solve the garbage problem. Next stop: install the DTU-engineered P-fence stalls that will remove the constant smell of urine near any fence or tree at the camping site. In a related topic, the toilet conditions have improved. There were more toilets, and they were emptied more frequently. Not once did I enter a stall that was totally disgusting or too full to use, or saw that toilet paper was out at any of the facilities across the campsite. Top dollar. PP
The camping area wasn't the only place that had seen significant changes from last year. Of course, the majestic Orange Stage was still present in its full, classic glory, just like the murky confines of the gigantic Arena tent, and the classic up-and-coming stage Pavilion. But in previous years mid-sized rock and metal bands have often played at the 5.000 capacity Odeon, which had been removed this year together with the world music stage Cosmopol. In their place, where Cosmopol used to be, is now Avalon, a miniature version of Arena, only in blue colour. Housing probably around 8.000 people at maximum capacity based on a rough estimate, it was to become the new stage where mid-sized bands of all genres would meet. An open tent with enough darkness to finally allow rock and metal bands to play in daylight while still allowing for at least some light show on the background.
At the food court area, the festival had a surprise waiting for us: a Michelin star rated restaurant. Yes, the hipsterism of NorthSide seems to have invaded Roskilde Festival as well, though to a lesser extent. All the classics were still present on the festival area otherwise: Dixie Burger (which you can only get during Roskilde Festival), the spaghetti place with a mile long queue, the Bagel shops providing a quick and relatively healthy sandwich fix for lunch, and the beef burger place near Arena providing expensive, but delicious beef sandwiches and burgers.
With two entrances near Arena, one in West, and one near the Apollo electronic stage in the middle of it all meant that the newly designed festival area felt a little bit smaller than before, which is absolutely a positive thing. You no longer had to worry about how to get from Odeon to the next show in Arena because it took 15 minutes to walk over, especially if someone popular was playing on Orange Stage, meaning it was easier to catch a variety of bands due to shorter distances covered. The bag checking policy was somewhat stricter this year, although that seemed to depend entirely on who was volunteering at the gate at a time. Sometimes, bags were thoroughly checked for no more than 1 open container of alcohol, and at other times, you could walk through unchecked, like most of last year.
Booze being brought into the festival area
And then there's the wine. Oh, the classic, sweet, disgusting boxed wine that only costs 75 DKK for a liter. By this time we're all sick of beer, and since a pint costs 38 DKK and is down your throat quicker than you can count to ten, many of us opt for the French way during the festival days. It's better for your stomach, too, though I can report back that it still doesn't prevent everything from slowly blurring together in the end.
But now, I won't keep you much longer. Enjoy our reviews - and before you ask: no we did not cover Outkast or Major Lazer or Trentemøller. We're a rock music magazine, after all, even if Mø might be stretching that definition somewhat. PP
The poster simply needs to be better with a 46 million kroner budget. The booking ideology MUST CHANGE from booking the quirky and experimental bands only in each genre, if the festival is going to continue attracting people especially if we get a couple of rain years in a row. If NorthSide or Copenhell continue expanding, or God forbid there come another genre-festival for pure rock names, what is Roskilde going to do? I mean, let's take a look at some of the bands that were DEFINITELY available this year that the festival missed out on:
The Offspring playing "Smash" 20th anniversary tour. The 1975. Jimmy Eat World. Boysetsfire. Lagwagon. Anti-Flag. Deaf Havana. Gogol Bordello. NOFX. You me At Six. Pearl Jam. Placebo. Dropkick Murphys. Motörhead. Amon Amarth. Madball. Ignite. Comeback Kid. Architects. Death Before Dishonor. Hundredth. Protest The Hero. Skindred. Avenged Sevenfold. Linkin Park. Aerosmith. Fall Out Boy. Alter Bridge. Bowling For Soup. Status Quo. Bad Religion. Flogging Molly. Opeth. Against Me!. Zebrahead.
Should I go on?
Some genres are being purposefully ignored. Punk rock. Hardcore. Emo. Screamo. Post-hardcore. Mainstream alternative rock. Why? With 160 bands you'd imagine about 25-30 being possible to fill from these genres. Even 15 would be something. Also, who cares if you book the same band every two or three years? People want to see it anyway. Look at how successful festivals like Groezrock and FEST are despite recycling their lineup every two or three years. People want to see their favorite bands no matter what. You'll also attract more of a music enthusiast audience to accompany the mainstream music fans. PP
To inaugurate Roskilde Festival's newest stage, The Rising Stage, Heimatt were invited to cut the red rope to the tunes of folksy rock reminiscent of Noah And The Whale and Mumford & Sons. The sun was shining; the crowd was relaxed and finally settled into their respective camping areas. Heimatt was a perfect start to a stage that has been created to promote the very best in upcoming bands in primarily Scandinavia. Opening with "Winter Noise", a song that proves Magnus Grilstad as a serious songwriter and versatile vocalist. "Everyone's A Sinner" was one of the most well received songs as the feel good vibes had the audience bouncing along with the tender tenor vocals. Unfortunately, Amalie Kristensens beautiful violin passages were muddled up in the mix, a real shame as the violin is one of the most original aspects of Heimatt's work. An interesting addition to the set was a commendable cover of kavinsky's hit "Nightcall", forever immortalized in the Von Trier film "Drive". The rising stage works well because it strives to give an authentic introduction to upcoming bands in an intimate setting and in the open air. Well done, Heimatt.  MN
Despite my general displeasure with Roskilde's booking efforts this year, it's a rare Monday of actually watching bands here in the festival's warm-up days. Upcoming Danish trio Get Your Gun marks my first early curiosity, decided based on BV's stellar review of the group's recent debut. They hold mass at the Rising stage where they deliver choppy, uneasy instrumentation with an added topping of haunting violin, while their singer/guitarist Andreas Westmark chants in a rambling low baritone. He looks iconic already, brandishing his guitar with urgency and swinging his combo of long blond beard and long blonde fringe around, while the band overall appears to me like a similar yet worthy alternative to Kellermensch. Bringing a ten man strong male choir on stage for parts to be hummed in eerie fashion, only underlines that here's a band that wants to be out of the ordinary, even if the afternoon sun and casual audience isn't the perfect base of reception for their characteristic style. [7½] TL
A couple of years ago I stumbled across a couple of Blaue Blume's songs online and I fell in love instantly with the amazing vocals and the delicate drum and guitar patterns. Thus it makes me very happy that the band finally gets the recognition and airplay they deserve in the wake of the release of their debut EP earlier this year, and this was one of the shows at Roskilde that I had been looking forward to the most. Judging by the insane amount of people in the crowd, a lot of other people felt the same way. Now, the standout element of Blaue Blume's sound is without a doubt the soaring, operatic voice of their lead singer whose range is just incredible, even though this is not always obvious as he stays in falsetto area most of the time. The music that backs him is constructed in a way that gives him the most possible space to unfurl his vulnerable melodies, but in an outdoor live setting like this, the music sounded almost too fragile as the instruments were played in such a restrained way and stayed so much in the background. Even though I won't get tired of listening to the characteristic vocals of this band anytime soon, it seems to me that it would have been a more interesting and intense live experience if the instruments had been allowed more space to supplement the vocalist instead of being just a firm and groovy background for him to circle over.  LF
Learning that Disarray Son was among the bands that would appear outside of the festival's official schedule at the independent dome stage was music to my ears, because their Rival Sons-like retro rock has always sounded like potential to me when catching them live. A rare deluge drenches the Roskilde field prior to the set and delays proceedings though, but when the band kicks off, the dome is nicely filled with people taking shelter and aching for some grooves. And grooves they get once the band kicks off, sticking to their shorter and faster material due to their limited 30 minute set (regrettably but understandably omitting my favourite epic of theirs, "Brave New World") while playing tight and loud from start to finish. It's much less artsy than Roskilde's own bookings, but that's clearly something the people here only appreciate, as the dome bounces from the word go, and after a romp that's short and sweet — in which especially drummer Lauge Heebøll's dynamic qualities are apparent to me — I doubt I'm the only one who leaves wishing the band would just release something already.  TL
Following Disarray Son's set I make a mad, drunken dash from the middle of the festival site to the skate park at the very fringe and its adjourned Red Bull stage, because I simply must re-see Reptile Youth, who dominated NorthSide's main stage only two weeks past and have mysteriously only been booked here at Red Bull. I say mysteriously because while I've only seen the band the once, it's clear to me that they are way too large for this and indeed, the skate park is rammed with people on and off the various pipes and obstacles. Sadly (and arguably inexcusably) the rain has caused even more problems here, destroying enough equipment to delay and limit the set to a late 25 minutes, and despite the best on the fly effort from Reptile Youth's sound guy, the volume is far, far too low when the band does eventually emerge.
It speaks volumes of the band's qualities then, when instead of things turning into a complete train wreck, they gradually turn around, as the group's irresistible dynamics and frantic live performance goes to work on the audience and eventually wins us over in relief. It takes half the miniature set, but coming across "Dead End" and into "Heart Blood Beat" and finally "Speeddance", the obstacles are all but hurdled and the skate park's landscape is a frenzy of bodies bouncing and shuffling in a massive, gleeful confusion. Leaving the set, newcomer to the band LF comments that people seemed like they were ready for at least 45 minutes more Reptile Youth and so, while the circumstantial drawbacks restrain the grade from reflecting it, this marks a second triumph in as many times I've seen the eclectic electro rockers from Copenhagen. Better hold on tight to that throne of yours Veto. [7½] TL
Kindred Fever is a band to which I had no prior introduction, thus my experience was based on a clean slate painted by first impressions. The minimalist set up on stage featured a drum set and two guitars leaning on stands, meaning my expectations were that some post-rock duo would appear and either be viciously boring, avant-garde, or extremely impressive as is the case with bands like Japandroids. To my surprise, Kindred Fever perform a brilliant show of power, conviction and no-frills rock'n'roll. Jarle Langåker plays a mean guitar with a focus on delivering a penetrating punch with suspension-bridge tightness, while drummer Linn Olsen plays a focused, yet minimal rock'n'roll backdrop, she also occasionally brings out a trumpet to add some theatrics. Songs like "Tabula Rasa" display KF's ability to sound much larger than a two-piece and actually managed to conjure up some moshing amongst the audience. A cool rock show spanning influences of stoner, surf rock and post-rock!  MN
With Tuesday looking depressingly barren except for the Say Lou Lou show in the evening, LF and myself are well on our way through our second carton of wine (or was it third? Either way the cumulative effects will later cause us to miss said Say Lou Lou set) and with nothing else to do, we opt to check out My Heart The Brave based solely on having seen the name around and been intrigued. The moniker covers an electronic indie pop solo project, like an Owl City but with more airy vocals, but the live setup features extra conventional instruments as well as the main man and his keys. Regrettably the set turns out to be a rather pedestrian affair, with the style sounding like the kind of unambitous filler pop that our domestic radio hosts tend to squeeze in forgettably between bigger hits, when trying to accommodate P3's requirements for representation of local talent. The band performs competently but without charisma or a sense of saying anything but banalities between songs, and with such a mediocre first impression, we soon leave hardly impressed and only barely entertained. Yawn. [5½] TL
This marks the third time I've seen psychedelic noise-rockers Narcosatanicos this year, and as the two earlier experiences have been pretty intimate club shows in dark rooms with only the band's psychedelic and hectic background videos to light the room up, I was very curious to see how their music would fare in a setting like this, outside and in daylight. As it turns out, they did pretty good. In the beginning the soupy vocals and the eclectic saxophone were nowhere near loud enough in the mix, but this was corrected quickly, and afterwards, the full experience of their chaotic music was close to being as intense as ever. What this band is really good at is setting an almost apocalyptic mood that I can best describe as what I imagine to be the soundtrack to a bad acid trip, simultaneously describing a mysterious and intriguing inward journey and a feverish and dangerous angst of unknown things moving too fast outside yourself. As such, their entire set feels like one long story that circles around itself, but with moments like the ominous "Salt" that stand out on their own. All in all, I was positively surprised that their music worked so well in this setting even though it wasn't quite on par with the more intimate shows I have seen them play before. [7½] LF
In the most DIY effort that I'm aware of at this year's festival, Aarhus rockers Dance With Dirt and their friends in Turbochild have planned sets using their own minimalist gear setup under the neutral canopy at Agora K. Despite some scattered rain drops falling around the time, a solid group of curious listeners have gathered in semi-circle around the band. Regrettably most of them remain seated at the quartet's feet, which is a position poorly suited for giving the group's catchy, energetic rock the proper reception. Being the veterans of previous uphill battles however, the quartet initially kicks off unfazed, and things look good until the microphone suddenly starts to cut out - a problem that ends up plaguing the whole set seemingly at random, much to the chagrin of singer/guitarist Magnus Jacobsen, who continually sees his best attempts at dynamic crowd encouragement foiled by this problem. Still, good songs always prevail, and with more than enough of them to fit this modest half hour set, Dance With Dirt still gets heads nodding while powering through to an end where guitarist Kristoffer Veirum spazzes out while soloing on the grass floor in the midst of the front audience. Respectable effort under tough circumstances.  TL
Caribbean calypso vibes, surf rock, dub and psychedelia from the cold Norwegian north? Of course I immediately sign my name up to review this interesting quintet who are booked befittingly for an afternoon sunshine-blessed show. Being a big fan of Caribbean music, Bloody Beach caters to my taste for relaxing music meant to be enjoyed in a laidback fashion with swaying hips and a cold rum cocktail. Their music is full-bodied and bass heavy with occasional passages of psychedelic gritty rock that brings back thoughts of the forefathers of Roskilde, such as Isle Of Wight and Woodstock. There is something brilliantly authentic about their sound, as if it easily could have been released 40 years ago, but still somehow remains fresh. Their show at the Rising stage was exactly as expected, plenty of 60's nostalgia, mixed with the best of modern Scandinavian indie folk, not unlike our local boys in The Eclectic Moniker. Props go out to their bassist who managed to carry their smooth sound throughout the set. [7½] MN
Having no previous familiarity with Turbochild I nonetheless stick around to check them out, if for no other reason than out of respect for their part in this Agora K DIY show. Playing directly after Dance With Dirt, comparisons are ripe at hand and in Turbochild's favour they either have more fans showing up or the people are now sufficiently warmed up after DWD, because a significantly larger portion of the audience is on its feet and moving. The band plays no frills rock'n'roll in the vein of your Lucers or your Airbournes and as such display a bit too little in terms of ideas that I'd be curious to check out on record, but their contagious and energetic approach goes down a treat with a now jolly audience that soon even sends up a crowd surfer or two. It's a fun set, but still, material weighs heavy in my book, and compared directly to Dance With Dirt the songs here just have noticeably less in terms of edge and memorability. [6½] TL
Hexis have long been one of the hottest and most active live names in the Copenhagen underground, and for their Roskilde Festival concert they had prepared something special. The entire stage is enshrouded in smoke at times, complementing their droning atmospheric passages and build ups nicely. Here, their slow song constructions borrow immensely from the strengths of The Psyke Project, and do wonders when they are placed in immediate juxtaposition with chaotic hardcore passages. Enormously heavy barrages of riffs are supplemented by synchronous headbanging on stage, as well as back-and-forth wavey movement from their vocalist who fortifies their brooding hardcore sound with demonic shrieks. It's a very atmospheric and immersive show, which sees little to no crowd interaction, a perfect way to deliver a show like this in the late hours of daylight. The last song is clearly the highlight to be mentioned here, as here vocalist Filip Andersen vaults himself into the crowd while screaming and holding his mic stand high above himself in the air. On stage, the rest of the band engages in crazed, energetic movement that is awesome to behold, leaving behind only one regret: why didn't they do this all show along?  PP
Electric Wizard are considered somewhat of a cult band in some doomy psychedelic circles, but tonight on Arena they are playing on a far too big space and showcasing little enthusiasm on stage to impress. Their droning expression crawls forward slowly in the company of guitar solo wizardry as the leading element in most songs, with many songs taking forever to get going before capturing your interest. As a result, the band looks like they are nailed to their spots, and instead let a feature-film style video screen grab your attention with an insane story that's probably what doing shrooms and LSD at the same time looks like. Sadly, their performance is so monotonous and samey after 30 minutes that I ditch it in favour of Outkast, because after all, if you've played thirty minutes that has mostly consisted of guitar wankery and doom hybrid without anything else to keep me interested, it's hard to appreciate them much longer. Decent, but way too long-winded and boring on stage.  PP
Future Of The Left
I'm not going to lie, I was meant to watch Outkast at Orange as my first full show in the main festival days, but the field is so rammed with people that waiting around for the phenomenal "I Like The Way You Move" soon seems silly next to heading to Pavilion for some punk rock, so after braving the masses I arrive while Future Of The Left are little under halfway through their set. Having happily forgotten that I've actually seen the group support Against Me years ago, I spend most of the show refinding the band's angry punk rock in a stylistic area between Pulled Apart By Horses, Billy Talent and occasionally also Mindless Self Indulgence when they employ keyboard. Their on stage dynamic is remarkable, with their guitarist looking like an awkward middle-aged guy wearing what looks like a traditional Asian tunic of sorts, while their blond female bassist looks like the stuff rock magazine cover shots are made of. And while their noisy, riff-driven romps have people up front moving happily, their front man Andrew Falkous — who looks like young Henry Rollins to my intoxicated eye — fires razor sharp humour bullets at Metallica fans in particular, explaining very pedagogically what a keyboard is and advising that they start taking regular showers. Their material is not the most nuanced (boiling down to songs with keyboard and songs without) but they have enough bite and the band has more than enough attitude to keep me engaged to the noisy end where guitars are slid across the floor for maximum feedback. If you're a fan of intelligent, sarcastic punk rock then this was a show I hope you didn't miss. [7½] TL
Considering that nothing else of interest is on, that I'm already at Pavilion and that AP recently spoke highly of Bombus' most recent album, I stick around to check out the Swedish stoner rock quartet — And fuck me am I glad that I did, because the band's music, which I'm more inclined to classify as some sort of "iron age hero metal", sounds to me like the music Conan The Barbarian would listen to while riding to battle (that is if he rode a muscle car in which all gears on the gear lever were fifth gear). With all three axe wielders brandishing their weapons wildly atop the monitors, the sound is like Motörhead clashing with Primordial in gladiatorial combat, with harmonized riffage lashing out atop rumbling bass and bidding our heads to bang. The manly vocal choirs fit the whole thing like a gauntlet, and with the only knock on Bombus' set perhaps being a lack of variety, fans of theirs can justifiably question just how much variety you would actually want from badassery such as this. Most headbangable (sorry Nails, you get second place) and in my book tied for best set overall this year. [8½] TL
All one-day passes automatically sold out when The Rolling Stones were announced to play this very Thursday evening. The band, led on by none other than Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger has its loyal core of fans that will travel, pay or do anything to watch the band live time and time again, so my expectations were actually higher than usual for "oldies" playing the ever-so-famous canopy stage (that the festival actually bought second hand from this very band in the 70s) - I am here thinking of colossal let downs championed by Guns N' Roses’ massive fail in 2006. Most rock listeners of my generation have the to-be-expected devotion to the band, yet their recognition is mostly limited to the biggest hits. The mixture of the two audiences was hard to predict, but everyone seems to be in good spirits as the set kicks off with "Jumping Jack Flash". This song is followed by hits like "Let's Spend The Night Together", "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)", "Wild Horses" and "Honky Tonk Women" but the show then loses more energy until the very end where almost all the fireworks are lit at once (also quite literally) to The tunes of "Gimme Shelter", "Start Me Up", "Sympathy For The Devil", "Brown Sugar" and an encore in the shape of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and the classic hits "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".
Jagger lets no one believe in the absurdity that he has hit the 70's as his voice is still from smooth to rough as needed for this caliber and scope. Although he serves wonderfully and with great energy as tonight's host, the set suffers from its own massive two and a half hour of rocking. Especially the middle of the show, where only fans could really shout along, takes its toll on the energy levels. It's hard to understand why the band doesn't use their hits as smaller energy bombs when the band plays mixed audiences with different levels of investment in their catalogue. Also, the nineteen songs the band ends up playing are actually not an overwhelming number in comparison to what smaller bands with lesser catalogues can get through in an hour. One of the more hyperbolic review headlines the day after the show said that the "band's Viagra had failed". I'd be prone to say the band should maybe be more generous when handing said Viagra to its audience. Overall The Rolling Stones deliver as they are expected to, but in spite of good sound, great use of lights and enough sequins to "shine a light" on the entire audience, the light fades in and out too much to fully dazzle us and although the most impressing last 30 minutes of the show were memorable, I’m not sure the full two and a half hour were.  HES
Even though Bastille has a tough spot in the schedule tonight, competing with The Rolling Stones on the way smaller stage of the festival, Arena is fully packed as I sneak out to check out a few songs. I've seen the band perform live before in Store Vega, Copenhagen 2013 and I remember being impressed by the band's newer songs that seemed darker and more rocked out than the very poppy, yet well-written "Bad Blood"-LP. Sadly, this gig is a bit of a déjà vu, as the setlist has barely changed since I last saw the band. The only thing changed is that the Imogen Heap-like "Get Home" and the City High-cover "What Would You Do" have been cut to make room for a few more new songs that unfortunately doesn't promise as much as when I heard them in Vega.
For someone who is watching this show for the first time, all the party-tricks are likely to be working as well as they did on me for the first time. People seem very much entertained. The show draws to an end in this weirdly choreographed dream-I-have-dreamt-before-way with front man and Bastille-personification Dan Smith taking to the floor, singing amongst the fans during "Flaws" and the expected dance party of DeBarge-cover "Rhythm of the Night" (stylized as "Of The Night" in the Bastille-universe) and lastly megahit "Pompeii". Although the set is almost the exact same as the band has been playing throughout the last year (at least according to Setlist.fm), Dan Smith seems oddly unaffected about repeating himself over and over again and the sheer joy and excitement of the crowd makes me wonder: How does one grade a déjà vu?  HES
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals
We all know Phil Anselmo from his work with Pantera and Down, but his solo material isn't anywhere on the same level in terms of musicianship. Although his muscular stage persona entertains in between songs with macho-man stuff like burping into the mic, grabbing a student cap to put on his head and saying it looks ridiculous, and falling on his back on stage as if he's too drunk among other things, the songs are unfortunately extremely boring. The pit might be going crazy at the front to the excruciatingly heavy riffage and deep growls, but musically these songs offer very little else than an insight on the diversity of music Anselmo is capable of doing. Sure, a few Pantera songs sneak into the set like "Death Rattle", "Domination / Hollow", "Hellbound", and "A New Level", as well as an Agnostic Front cover "United & Strong", but it's not enough to lift my opinion of Anselmo's set tonight. His ultra manly style of speaking in between songs is entertaining, but the songs are just not worth it.  PP
Les Claypool is best known as the frontman and bass player of the eclectic rock band Primus but the setup of his visit to Roskilde this year was something a little more laid-back, namely his project Duo De Twang which features himself on bass and his childhood friend Bryan Kehoe on guitar. They were both seated on stage for the duration of the set while they played their groovy mix of folk, country and hillbilly sounding music, and for a lot of people this combined with a casually witty Claypool seemed to be just what they needed at this time in the sunny afternoon, as the tent was completely packed. The duo played through various of Claypool's compositions from his bands, both old and new, while also playing a number of covers, the most memorable being a country folk rendition of Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" placed towards the end of the set. It was a strange experience but also the song that most people in the crowd seemed to connect with as they got grooving all over the packed tent. Generally Claypool had a very relaxed approach to the songs he was playing, making the overall experience more akin to a show off jam with two insanely talented people than a real band performance with a sense of direction. And of course it is amazing to see a legend like Claypool tap and slap his bass like no one else and even play through the intro of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" on it, but most of the songs he played had more or less the same expression and rhythm, and I ended up feeling that a creative talent like Claypool could be expected to change it up a little even when he has just two instruments to do it with. As it was, the show felt very much like a treat for the proper fans but not an overly intriguing one for the curious, potential ones. [6½] LF
Having recently discovered a relevance in country music that was previously all but neglectable in my eyes, via Jason Isbell's 2013 album "Southeastern", I had looked forward to his set with his touring group The 400 Unit with anticipation. So when the Alabama native takes the stage with his friends, I'm ready with vodka drink in hand, and soon enough the band gratifies my interest with re-worked full band versions of songs both recent and older, most of which show a sublime tenderness and carefulness in their arrangements and progressions. Relatable, down-to-earth narratives escalate in patient increments, with both the cat's paw instrument handling and Isbell's deft vocal delivery sounding masterful. It's hard to not miss the frailty of the mellower album versions of songs like "Cover Me Up" and "Stockholm" and my heart breaks a little over the omission of the amazing "Elephant" in favour of the boring but upbeat "Super 8", but it's equally hard to fault Isbell and the band for wanting to meet the festival audience halfway, especially when they do it with the expert musicality put on display here. It seems to me it's guys like these that shape and sustain country music way past what I would have thought was its expiration date.  TL
After Jason Isbell, I have time for a stint with Warpaint who, based on name-spotting alone, seems to be a hip deal these days. With an all female cast and a post-punk reputation I fret for a Savages version two, but fortunately I discover immediately upon arrival that this group is a lot mellower and more melodious — more The Cure post-punk than Ice Age post-punk — and for that I'm initially grateful. They are however not particularly charismatic or ambitious in their on stage appearance, which means their rather airy and relaxed atmospheres are left to impress on their own. For that, the four or five numbers I catch, including the single "Love Is To Die", sound a bit too comfortable in as calm clothing store background music, and thus concluding that the hype around the band is either premature or just disconnected from the live experience, I leave shortly after to catch a bit of a break before my next assignment.  TL
Moving in as far as I can get under a rather full Arena canopy, I'm anticipating delicate and danceable dream-pop from the Californian Haim sisters. The fool's on me though, because when the three women appear it's with guitars and bass in hand that are amped up enough to add searing power to their otherwise casual compositions, and the band wields those instruments with overpowering confidence. The subtleties of the lyrics drown out in the noise but the groovy energy of the songs is only amplified while the sisters rock out, one with more authentic stage presence than the other, making it hard to know where to look and summoning all kinds of errant thoughts about girl power and feminist iconography. It would be misguided to hold the show hostage in discussions of any such notions though, because Haim simply proves completely captivating in the role of pop musicians that rock and roll when a live opportunity arises. Eyes are glued to the stage all the way across the tent, hips are swaying and applause is delivered generously and while these ladies are already pretty good on album, listening to them at home could in no way prepare one for the performance they deliver here. Roskilde's best along with Bombus in my eyes. [8½] TL
A certain sense of anticipation lingers in front of Orange Stage despite not even being half full for the return of Deftones to the festival for the first time since 2006. With so few relevant rock names on the bill it was to be expected that the legions of fans that showed up before the Tool concert in 2006 wouldn't be here, but none of this matters because as consistent as Deftones are on record, they are even more so live. Their previous performance at Copenhell in four years ago was a magical experience in the darkness, and although their set on Orange Stage doesn't quite match up, it still showcases them as one of the most unique and awe-inspiring bands in rock music for the last two decades. Chino explodes from the side of the stage straight to his elevated platform so that he can see the crowd better, often kneeling down and screaming his lungs out in an expanding and far-reaching manner that echoes across the huge field in a back-chilling manner. All thoughts about the lack of a crowd disappear from our minds as we watch his passionate performance unfold itself into immersive emotion and explosive energy on stage. The setlist leans heavily upon "Koi No Yokan" at first, but "White Pony" and "Around The Fur" songs are well represented with "Lhabia", "Digital Bath", "My Own Summer (Shove It)", "Change (In The House Of Flies)" and many other timeless classics in rock music. Whoever thought Deftones might be getting old and out of shape is definitely wrong - a great setlist and an energetic performance proves they are still a must-see band every time.  PP
Apart from Deftones, the only other metal headliner was Rob Zombie and his grueling companions. Fronted by the king of horror himself, Rob Zombie is somewhat of an icon of heavy metal culture, not so much for brilliance in songwriting but rather for his proclamations, public figure and entertainment value as a performer. The actual music can be described as industrial heavy metal with roots in the deep south. It is incredibly redneck, to put it bluntly. Nonetheless, his shows are nowhere near low budget, so for the entertainment/showtime value of their show, I was actually quite excited to see what this legend has to offer. A rather sparsely populated Orange stage stood to receive the headliners and after the usual anti-drugs campaign is shown, hell was ready to spawn upon the stage. Opening with "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy", Rob Zombie shook the grounds with an immensely heavy sound and the chugging riffs had the audience begin to eagerly throw the devil horns up. Following up "Superbeast" is played to accompanying fireworks and the characteristic eerie industrial inputs started to give slight chills down my back. "Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown" set off the first proper sing-along of the evening and Rob himself started to eagerly contact the audience. It wasn't long before he had graced every part of both the front pit fences and the secondary ones, all the while, guitarist John 5 shredded his heart out to a solid ten minute guitar solo. Fans of old White Zombie hits were treated to songs like "More Human Than Human" and "Thunderkiss 65", the latter of which really showed how much Rob Zombie has changed his expression over the years. As a massive inspiration, Alice Cooper was of course hailed through a well executed cover of "School's Out", which had people singing with plenty of energy. Despite the brilliant stage show and larger than life presence of the man himself, Rob Zombie still remains a band that has not impressed in any way on record. Most people arrived here to headbang to the admittedly awesome track "Dragula" which also provided the highlight of the evening. I commend Rob Zombie for continuing to provide a horror show of such grandeur after so many years. At curtain call Zombie brought out a large Danish flag to wave around to the audience, which was a little lame, but it had people cheering extra loud.  MN
Last time I saw post-rockers Mogwai was in a huge, seated venue where I ended up just leaning back in my chair with my jaw on the floor, and I was worried that their absolutely immense soundscapes would not work as well in a tent like this since I wouldn't be able to just float away in my own world and get lost in their compositions. Fortunately I was proven dead wrong. The experience was if anything more intense than ever, not least due to the supportive blasts of the lighting which in combination with the loud music came at me like a wall hammering on all my senses. At this time of the festival, it was almost too much for me considering the long, hot day that went before it, but even though I already considered Mogwai a pretty impressive act before this, I was still surprised at the level of energy their music contains and is able to convey to its listener, and it is definitely not the last time I'll let myself be blown away by them.  LF
I hadn't initially planned seeing American atmospheric black metallers Vattnet Viskar, but upon AP's recommendation I decided to check them out. After all, what's better than melodic, immersive black metal music when the clock strikes midnight in the darkness? Turns out that this is the only appropriate timeslot for the much hyped underground band, as their entire show could be described in a single sentence: strobe lights amok. Sure, the band's movement on stage was also impressive for a black metal band, and the instrumentals were spectacular especially during the highly melodic tremolo passages, but their usage of colour and strobe lighting in the darkness is what made their set so memorable. The flashing light show was a sight to behold, encompassing the entirety of Pavilion into patterns of blue, white, and black in rapid-fire sequences, rivaling the insanity of many electronic artists playing at this year's festival, which is saying quite a lot considering the spectacle of Major Lazer on Orange Stage this year. They certainly made a convincing case for why they are one of the most critically acclaimed underground bands within the genre right now based on just one full-length and some EPs.  PP
Having followed the Danish indie folk pop band Hymns From Nineveh for a while I was surprised myself that this is in fact the first time I got to see them live, and even though it was a tough time slot to get ready for, I am very glad I did as experiencing their heartwarming set was a very gentle way to be eased into a new day. The show they played at Roskilde this year was first and foremost extremely forthcoming and started out as a warm celebration of summer and human connections, with the singer being all smiles and slightly goofy dance moves. At first this annoyed me somewhat, as their music intrigues me the most on the more fragile songs where the lead singer's delicate voice flutters and almost breaks over and over again, and I imagine I could listen to just that side of their music for an entire set. What struck me during their performance however is how well integrated this vulnerable side of their music is with the more forthcoming, happy-go-lucky side and as the set neared its end I was positively surprised at how well structured the flow of the whole thing had been. Definitely a good way to start the day.  LF
Fire! Orchestra crowd
Finding ourselves on the lookout for adventures on early Saturday after Hymns From Nineveh, LF and I opt to check out the ambitious Fire! Orchestra show, in which over twenty musicians are assembled on stage for what proves to be a session of fairly avant-garde jazz. To begin with, a female vocalist with a powerful clean voice does hers to guide the listener through the experimental soundstage, but after the first ten minutes or so she is substituted by a bearded male singer whose gravelly singing would sound more at home in rock or metal. Here it becomes easy to lose track, because the often frantic instrumental layers in no way cater to anyone but the hardened fusion-jazz listener, and with no screens or cameras to direct focus, nor any room for much on-stage movement, any individual excellence to be noticed from either of the orchestra's members is also likely to only be visible way up close. If there is a meaningful atmosphere or message to be followed here then I deem it beyond the grasp of most casual listeners, and with so many presumably talented people on stage, it strikes me odd that this is the most interesting stuff they've come up with. So we leave after about half an hour feeling roughly the same as having seen your typical experimental, noisy post-hardcore band, who claim integrity even when all they do is kick up a meaningless ruckus. Jazzfreaks.net then? Not any time soon. [4½] TL
Lately there's been a swell of re-uniting bands throughout the Danish rock-scene. In 2010 it was Danish 90's cult-band Dizzy Miss Lizzy's turn to once again play the Orange Stage together, while this year a band from the same generation has their turn: Psyched Up Janis was originally formed in the 90's by later-to-become the guitarist of The Raveonettes, Sune Wagner, along with Martin Bjerregaard and Jakob Jørgensen. Psyched Up Janis released three albums before finally splitting up, after playing a farewell show on the very same stage that they are playing today. This was in 1999.
Psyched Up Janis
The band opens with their most cult-famous track "I Died In My Teens" and the title unfortunately carries an omen for the rest of the gig. The sound from where we stand is terrible; Wagner's voice is completely drowned out by distorted guitar. We try to move a bit to see if better sound is achieved elsewhere and luckily we find a spot where our ears are not completely torn apart by treble, but Wagner's voice remains hidden very low in the mix - not being very punchy to begin with and sadly we miss out on the most charming part of Psyched Up Janis' sound: The juxtaposition of Wagner's androgynous voice and the masculinity of the noisy, grainy overall soundscape. Although there is no way to blame any member of the band of being lousy as their instruments, the sheer monotony of the failing mix is only caricatured by the massive amounts of smoke bellowing over the stage and the lack of involvement in their eyes. And even though some songs like "Special One" and Evil Beauty" rocks up some nostalgia in me, the show still seems lackluster from beginning to end. Even the old fans sit down for a joint in the grass rather than pay attention.  HES
Helhorse vs. The Psyke Project
Much has been said about the collaborative effort of Denmark's most exciting metal bands Helhorse and The Psyke Project in the press already. Innovative. Groundbreaking. New-thinking and original. Those are all valid terms to describe their combined performance on stage, but not ones that do the set justice. The Avalon stage is packed from Danish metal fans and why wouldn't they? How exactly does the Southern Fried hardcore of Helhorse function with the crushing and chaotic mathcore-turned-blackened progressive hardcore of The Psyke Project? Would they play at the same time? Against each other like TPP did with As We Fight some years ago? The show starts with Helhorse on stage displaying some of their renowned live energy, with vocalist Mikkel running like crazy all the way behind the confines of the stage on each side. Slowly, their music shifts into heavier elements with TPP's drummer starting the transition on the second drum kit on stage. And before you know it, we're in a TPP song with the rest of the band members smoothly and seamlessly changing one-by-one without interruption. The change of genre is done so subtly that had you never heard of either band, there's no way you would've even noticed there are two bands on stage at any point. That is, until the end, where TPP's chaotic hardcore takes over, with Helhorse entering stage simultaneously, with both bands performing two songs together (one from each band, seemingly modified to fit each other's sounds better). Here, Mikkel is going crazy by the barrier, eventually crowd surfing whilst screaming, whilst Martin and the rest of TPP are showcasing why we've been calling them the best live band in Denmark for soon half-a-decade on this site. But perhaps more importantly, this is a showcase of innovation and an injection of new-thinking into the Danish metal scene which has been in dire need of something inspirational like this for a long time. The amount of hard work and rehearsal sessions that have gone into this spectacle can probably be counted in the hundreds of hours if not more. Respect.  PP
Manu Chao is without a doubt a man I had been yearning to see for more than a decade at Roskilde. I literally jumped out of my seat in glee when I found out that he was to bring his politically-tinged world music/Latino punk to the Orange stage. This time being supported by the rather new four piece constellation, La Ventura, it was clear that Manu Chao is going back to his Mano Negra roots of punk attitude and humility. It still baffles me that a large amount of people do not recognize his significance as one of the biggest visionaries in world music and thereby a great inspiration to artists, literally, all over the world. Manu Chao sings mainly in Spanish, English and French, but he is also known for making verses in Portuguese, Galician, Arabic and even Wolof of Senegal. His inspiration comes from his nomadic travels across the continents, which eventually earned him such astounding popularity, that he has played to audience reaching over 100,000 attendees. An extremely politically active person, a lot of his songs are those of revolution and change, but despite whichever political orientation you behold, one thing can be certain, almost everyone can dance to his music like there is no tomorrow. His show at Roskilde Festival opened with "Mr. Bobby" a tribute to another visionary of stupendous importance, Bob Marley. As the set continues, it is clear that the quartet likes to fuse songs into one another and thus provided ample time for the audience to understand the sing-along value. Everyone at this show would know what I mean when reminiscing the everlasting "Oioi oioioyooo" chanting. People who expected to hear the hit singles like "Bongo Bong", "Me Gustas Tu" and "Clandestino" were not disappointed one bit as they were all performed with lengthy variations. Manu Chao himself was in a smittingly good mood and despite the fact he can be difficult to understand, we all enjoyed his approval when he smiled and pointed a finger to one temple, saying "Crazy Roskilde!" It was however some of the less popular songs like "El Viento Viene" and "Se Fuerza La Maquina/De Noche De Día" that really managed to bring the experience to an almost surreal level. I may be hopelessly biased as a Manu Chao fan and therefore I behold the rights of others to disagree, but to me, this was one of the best shows i have ever been to.  MN
For some reason I've always had this knack for missing or somehow leaving this band's gigs untimely, but tonight is not one of them! Reasonably placed in the middle of the field in front of Orange Stage many a drunken teenager and mildly intoxicated adult find themselves waiting to get a glimpse of the giraffe - and boy do we get to see it! Back in the days this band was introverted and punkish in their attitude, mainly playing for themselves and giving less than a rat's ass about the comforts of their audience. But before us stands a way more extroverted Alex Turner who seems to have lost all of his barriers and along with them most of that gorgeous Sheffield-accent (I miss it!). The band has also moved from basement-style light equipment to a full-on stadium style backdrop sporting the artwork of the recent "A.M."-album in pulsating neon. All of this tells us that the band wants to engage with its audience, and at the same time Alex Turner sports this Dylan-from-90210 bad boy attitude that would make most of the audience fight for just one bit of his attention - men included. This weird game of cat and mouse does not make this set less interesting – although I would not put it against anyone to interpret it as arrogance. I’m not sure that it’s not.
The more bluesy tracks like "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair" and "Crying Lightning" only build up the tension between audience and stage. The tension is relieved through the band’s Myspace breakthrough-hit "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor". All the way through the show the band teases by playing different intros for songs like "Arabella", "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" and "Flourescent Adolescent" - this teasing only works because the band is so tight, with not one string is brushed out of sync. The more minimalistic songs from the recent "A.M."-release, that this scribe was not personally a fan of, work surprisingly well in this setting. Fittingly, to the ballad "She's Thunderstorms" towards the latter part of the show a light but persistent rain starts, but very few move to seek shelter and keep their lighters lit and raised. Even as the band lets us wait for more than five minutes in the rain the cheering and clapping barely ceases. As the light from the two massive sound towers turns into spider'ish lasers the rain shimmers in the light beams as Turner chants along the lyrics of "One For The Road", "I wanna Be Yours" and "R U Mine". Can’t think of a better time to have not missed this show.  HES
While Arctic Monkeys are putting on the most active live show I've seen from them by a light year, I'd decided prior to the festival that I would also check out the hyped indie/noise-punk group The Men, even despite my relatively modest appreciation for this year's "Tomorrow's Hits". It struck me that the Titus Andronicus-ish notes of jubilant Americana in especially their faster songs had promise and indeed, is during these parts that the band is best, while playing at their most energetic. As for the performance otherwise however, The Men don't solicit much praise pulling the unambitous "regular, quiet indie blokes who just play" routine on stage, and especially during more downbeat songs their musical ideas feel less inspired and you get the impression that their hype is somewhat of the "emperor's new clothes" variety. [6½] TL
Cult indie legends Interpol last guested Roskilde Festival in 2005, and while their performance was decent back then, it didn't leave much of a memory behind. Tonight, their dreamy, laid-back and somewhat arrogantly tuned interpretation of classic 2000s indie rock hits straight home in the midnight darkness of the Arena stage. Though there isn't much movement by default, it is clear from the little that the band does that they are performing with genuine passion and joy of playing on stage. What has often been considered boring music on record especially in recent years looks like a total revitalization and re-energized version of itself tonight, with the band letting their songs speak for themselves. Rightly so, because with the sheer amount of Placebo reference they throw into their 90s inspired laid-back expression, we're all just watching in unison, appreciating just how good these songs work live against all odds.  PP
I stumbled upon Sleigh Bells in the late hours of Saturday night after an astounding show by party masters Major Lazer. Without much prior experience, I decided to give Sleigh Bells a decent chance to prove their worth in the massive Arena tent which was painstakingly empty. Sleigh Bells is fronted by Alexis Krauss, a fiercely charismatic lead vocalist that sings in a very peculiar fashion, often reminiscing works by St. Vincent albeit with a very industrial touch. The visuals presented a black/white theme proving to perfectly compliment the timbre of the riffings played by guitarist Derek Miller. Newer tracks like "Bitter Rivals" and "Minnie" from their newly released album were warmly received and Alexi’s stage presence continued to keep the attention of the audience. It was a joy to see a band that looked like they really were enjoying playing at late hours and to any sized-audience. Another highlight was "Infinity Guitars" and the addictive "A/B Machines". The music itself is not necessarily groundbreaking, but it was a good seal on a night which included a lot of other great shows. [6½] MN
"It's rude to drink alone", Carcass vocalist Jeff Walker spouts while throwing beer cans into the crowd near the beginning of their set, in what turns out to be a set where light-hearted humour meets brutally punitive (melodic) death metal in equal measure. "A bunch of wimpy English bands are playing here today... Kasabian couldn't find a distortion pedal even if they tripped over one. Between us, The Black Dahlia Murder and Nails there's nothing really going on here today". He's right. For the metal fan there isn't much on offer today, but to be honest, what follows these rather arrogant yet hilarious remarks is a dominant display of power. Thick, rumbling death metal swallows the entirety of the Arena crowd in sheer quality musicianship with an occasional dabble into melodeath in the process - those of us that are here know we're experiencing something special despite the tent being less than half full. With a set ranging from 25 year old songs to stuff from the critically acclaimed "Surgical Steel" from last year, Carcass put on a professional, incredibly entertaining metal performance that doesn't have a shortage in energy nor brilliant riffage to bang your head to. Can you imagine a death metal crowd slowly clapping their hands in unison much like you see to softer pop concerts? Like I said, something special was brewing in the exhausting warmth of the hottest day of the festival. "COME ON, YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!" he shouts at the hung-over and tired crowd that doesn't live up to his expectations of a cheer on multiple occasions, which may sound arrogant, but he's right. The craftsmanship in these songs is nothing short of awe-inspiring, displaying why Carcass are thought as one of the pioneering and most unique bands in the genre. The songs are simply very, very good, so Walker has every right to be arrogant and slice across pretty much every band playing this festival, including those "garage and electronic bands, go see that fucking shit if you're not interested in this". For the 75 minutes that the band perform, they deliver my highlight set of the festival and one of the most memorable ones all week. [8½] PP
The Black Dahlia Murder
Considering how incredibly sparse the heavy metal/hard rock lineup has been this year, it pleased me to see that Roskilde had booked the critically acclaimed The Black Dahlia Murder to provide a healthy dosage of carnage on the final music day. Considering that most people were viciously hung-over and keener on relaxing with movies and chamomile tea than liters of beer and bludgeoning metal, TBDM had still brought the party brigade and no one was going to escape it. Their melodic death metal awoke the masses from the slumber and before long, circle pits were forming in many different formats, even one with a racing wheelchair in the dust. Vocalist Trevor Strnad had an inexhaustible energy and carried the crowd from start to finish in a stellar display of crowd control. Musically speaking , The Black Dahlia Murder play Nordic melodic death metal with a sense of American extremism, a perfect combination of melody and brutality, yet with an attitude towards experimentation. Truthfully, one of the best metal shows this year. Songs like "In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me" and " Moonlight Equilibrium" were some of the definitive highlights. [7½] MN
Once more in lew of better things to do, checking out the indie rock of Deerhunter at Arena becomes a prudent option, again simply because theirs is a name one feels like having seen before. At first I'm encouraged because their goofy looking front man Bradford Cox takes a more forthcoming tone with the audience than what could reasonably be expected from indie/slacker rock groups (See: Yuck) but it takes only a few songs to make his approach redundant because the band's lax attitude quickly shows in their minimalist, poppy songwriting. The idea seems to be to stick to proven, mellow indie rock tropes with the occasional bit of guitar flair for a bridge section and then hope a hit comes out of this once in a while. The truth is that one or two very well might if one sticks around for enough songs, but the attitude of “do the same boring thing over and hope to strike gold” wears through my patience in roughly four songs and I leave early, wondering what the point of being a band is if you have no intentions of being more than exactly on par with the mass of your genre’s typical contemporaries.  TL
While I was underwhelmed with Kasabian when they last visited Orange stage in 2010, the show seemed to awaken my awareness to their surprisingly large catalogue of catchy songs, and while the band seems like a brit-rock alternative that often goes unnoticed here in Denmark, they have years and years of experience with stages this big from other shores. That experience is undeniable as they tackle the dwindling Sunday afternoon crowd seeming completely confident and comfortable, opting to focus on the full pits that are there instead of the holes between the scattered guests watching from further back behind the barriers. As opposed to many lesser brit-rock siblings, Kasabian has - on top of the band’s curious psychedelic undertones - a selection of riffs and vocal hooks that are straight up irresistible, and thus while you can debate their depth, their music is exactly the kind of stadium-friendly rock that rings true across the windy plain in front of Orange. Hits like “Empire”, “Underdog” and “Lost Souls Forever” blend with “Days Are Forgotten” and a heavy dose of tracks selected from new album “48:13”, and people around and in front of me largely bounce up and down periodically with satisfied smirks that seem to say “ohhh yeaahh”. On the festival’s toughest stage, in one of its toughest slots and on its least visited day, Kasabian proves a class act and a fitting, returning booking for Orange.  TL
Mø with her energetic, soulful electro pop has boomed during this past year, and even though she played a much larger stage than last time she performed at Roskilde, it was difficult to get anywhere near the edge of the tent when I approached it to check out what all the fuss is about. During the hit song "XXX 88" she was joined on stage by Diplo of Major Lazer whom she collaborated with on that very track, and who played Orange Stage the night before, this being somewhat of a testament to exactly how far she has already gone with her career. You might ask of what interest she could be to a rock fan, and to me the answer is that her compelling attitude and punkish energy on stage is more than enough to warrant interest. Watching her perform was an amazing experience in itself as she grooved around the stage dressed in a white skirt and top, using her entire body to sing her addictive melodies. Her vocals rang clear and her harmonies were spot on throughout the set while the relentless beat of her RnB heavy songs boomed underneath with just the right amount of energy to make most people present move to it. Mø went crowd surfing more than just a few times, and even though she told us she wouldn't say too much because she was overwhelmed by the amount of people present, there was an intimate connection between her and the crowd through the music alone. The fact that her presence still reached way outside the tent points to just how much charisma this young woman has, and I'm sure we'll see some even more impressive things from her in the future. [8½] LF
I was brought up on soul and funk. My dad always made it clear to me where rock and roll came from and how the old timers really could and did rock it. Now it's funny to see rock and roll reversed on this festival by first The Rolling Stones taking us back to the birth of rock'n'roll literally rising from the ashes of 1960's soul and then going all the way back to a guy who was only twelve when he started rocking some 40 years ago.
As Stevie Wonder enters the stage however, there is not much boy to the old, plump man, with a receding hairline and a handheld keyboard hung around his massive torso, clad in African print. It's pretty impressive alone that the man finds his own place behind the mic, but as frail and vulnerable as he looks there, not too many meters away, contrastingly sharp and young does his voice sound as he opens with his passed Motown-colleague Marvin Gaye's soul-ballad "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)". Unfortunately the funky rendition is broken up by a speech on God. Now I've seen Christian metal bands preach less and the audience isn't all that impressed either. The set continues however with the two reggae-inspired tracks "Master Blaster (Jammin')" and "Higher Ground". Then comes the sing-along-songs and even though Wonder is able to command tight call-and-responses to both choir and individual instruments, the call-and-response between audience and Wonder never really peaks. I have observed the standard Danish audience-person to be way more of a "clapper" than a "singer". In other cultures I have seen the opposite. But when Wonder tries to elevate the pale Danish clapper into a choir of multiple tonal voices, the thing kind of implodes into vocal chaos. I'm sure it worked better up front with the more devoted fans, but back where I am standing (10m from the pit fence) no one seems to fully know what is to be sung at what point.
The middle bit of the show drowns in boring 80's funk, but small glimpses of light do shine through in the form of a Beatles cover "Day Tripper", "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "Living for the City". In between we get rants the rants on racism and more God-stuff, but it seems extremely hollow with the introduction to "Part-Time Lover" being so super sexist, it hurts my irony muscle. All in all I wish more time had just been spent on the music. Wonder delivers vocally on every song, his voice is as fresh as when he was twelve, but it seems some of the brains, some of the music and some of the good tracks have gone. May I remind you he gave us the same preaching speech in Parken 2010, but then ALSO gave us "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing", "Isn't She Lovely" "Human Nature" (cover) "We Can Work It Out" (cover) that were completely missing from this set. Although we finally get “I Just Called (To Say I Love You)” and “Superstition” delivered by one horn, one sax, four choir members, two guitars, one bass, one drummer and one percussionist – I still feel cheated leaving the show.  HES
Armed with the first of a pair of Irish coffees I will depend on to keep me standing in the dying hours of RF ‘14, I show up at Avalon with mixed expectations for The Horrors, considering both my positive impressions when I last saw them live, and the boredom I experienced trying to get into their new album “Luminous”. To begin with though, it’s the first memories that are invoked when The Horrors prove just how surprisingly active they can be on stage, moving about with a swagger that many seasoned rock stars would envy them. The sound is pretty good, and the band seems fairly cool with having only solicited a modest audience here in the middle of Stevie Wonder’s set. As the hour drags on however, the mixed qualities of the band’s material start to become apparent. With hits like “Sea Within A Sea” and “Still Life” The Horrors have proven that they can be a legitimate alternative to the more typical brit-rock band and still have potent songs to show for it, but especially with the newer songs from “Luminous”, it feels like their bassist, guitarist and keyboardist just won’t get out of each other’s way, leading to reverberating layers of mellowness that drains the music for dynamic energy. It’s a good example of a band that could probably be huge if their songwriting didn’t insist on being so damn strange. [6½] TL
The other day I saw a news article about a middle aged man who sustained brain damage from headbanging too much at a Motörhead concert. He would've probably died within the first five minutes of Nails, whose brutal mixture of punk and grindcore is as headbang friendly as metallic music comes. Though there's not much happening on stage per se, chances are you aren't even seeing the stage because of the neck movement their music demands, especially in a live environment like this. They display decent movement on stage nonetheless, and comment on how cool it is to have a festival as diverse as this supporting metal music, and give a few shout outs to Black Dahlia Murder and Carcass who played earlier today. But in the end, their set is not particularly memorable. It takes all the way to their last song before we see any major movement on stage; here guitars are played off hips and all sorts of other ridiculous things, but in my opinion it's too little too late, because musically Nails don't have that much to offer. [6½] PP
When Drake calls in sick, and it don’t look good - Who’ you gonna’ call? Who can pull out an Orange-closing headlining set with just a few days notice? The answer is White, Jack White, and we who have remained probably mostly have because we know so, having seen the White Stripes and Raconteurs front man hold court here already back in 2012. Despite this, I’m still re-struck with mild surprise, because to my knowledge, Jack White still has - across his various projects - fewer legitimate big hits than for instance the Arctic Monkeys, so how can he be called upon to close of Orange? The answer is that he can do so because the man seems to sweat genuine rock’n’roll in a manner that looks natural and unrehearsed as soon as he steps up into the blue spots that illuminate him and his band for most of the evening. So while the unmistakable hooks are indeed fewer, the prowess on guitar and piano in tonight’s main character is way high, and the nuances of bluegrass that sneak in - via lap steel and acoustic guitar among other things - add a sense of progression to the set, which means that you can mostly get your groove on even when you have no idea what songs are played. In a rare display of “not being too cool for your average festival fan”, White’s set includes “Fell In Love With A Girl” and ends with “Steady As She Goes” and “Seven Nation Army”, the latter of which is already such an instant classic that you’d be hard pressed to find much bigger anthems to safely send the last Orange patrons out and home from the festival with a bounce in their step, despite most of us being completely dead tired at this point.  TL
By the time you're reading this, you know what I'm talking about. The nostalgia-filled memories of all the hilarious things you did at the festival. The girls or guys you kissed with. The new friends you made. The stupid stuff you engaged in that you regret but would do again anyway. The time you participated in speed dating or crowd surfed towards the Orange Stage. Post-Roskilde Blues, is what the syndrome is colloquially referred to, although the scientists prefer the term 'alcohol withdrawal'. Either way, it's with a bittersweet sense of happiness that we look back at the week spent on a field in the middle of garbage and stench of bodily odors. Imagine what people at refugee camps would think if they heard you actually paid close to 2000 DKK to live in such conditions.
And with that said, I leave you with our traditional 'The Good, The Bad, The Ugly' section where we basically classify what's hot and what's not for this year's festival. History tells us that many of the negative points we mention at the end of our articles are remedied for the year after. Maybe it's common sense, or maybe there's someone listening. PP
* Garbage collection service. Huge improvement from previous years. More of this please.
* High quality food if you were willing to pay the price.
* Still no rain for the 7th year in a row.
* Stage choices. I don't remember any concert that would've been placed incorrectly. We all remember some of the electronic music shows at Arena, or Arctic Monkeys, or Fedde Le Grande at Cosmopol in previous years. Great job.
* Volt. This thing keeps impressing me. Everyone has power for their phones all week long, and the social media made records using the hashtag #RF14 as a result.
* Official app. Probably the most extensive festival app we've encountered.
* Rising Stage. Great location for East campers, and proper size for the warm up bands.
* Toilets. Great job at cleaning and keeping them in tolerable shape
* Atmosphere. Variety is back at Roskilde. People from all backgrounds and music tastes partying together. No more Sunny Beach feeling.
* Cool secret shows like Dance With Dirt by the lake, Förtress at the Dome, the Red Bull side-shows.
* Friendly pant collectors. No conflicts here.
* Avalon stage. Great idea to open up Cosmopol and remove Odeon.
* Get-A-Tent areas now close to the festival instead of in the middle of bumfuck land on the other side of the parking lot.
* Focus is shifting away from music to the overall experience. You could spend the whole week partying and not care about who's on the overall lineup. Lineup needs to improve.
* Scheduling. With so few rock (and related genres) playing, why are they all crammed within 2-3 hours every day? If Groezrock can avoid clashes with 80 of the best bands in their genres on four stages, so can Roskilde.
* Lack of Mobile Pay. The moment your breakfast wagons take mobile pay, the moment I'll buy them more often. Almost no booth takes mobile pay. Who has cash with them in 2014?
* The opening of camping area is still utter chaos and leads to fights and disagreements amongst festival goers.
* Lineup for rock music fans. Deftones isn't worth 2000 DKK by themselves, and hence the Orange Stage is half empty. Where are all the truly relevant rock bands that are hyped by the national independent media and the huge international medias like Kerrang!, Rock Sound, AltPress, AbsolutePunk, PropertyOfZack, etc? The lineup was an outlier in this sense.
* Entrance booking closed for people with tickets: If you sell tickets online for entrances, how is it possible to block people from entering the waiting area? This happened at least at East 1 almost an hour before doors opening.
* It took some people four hours to get out of the festival area on Sunday. More buses, more taxis, more trains needed BADLY.
* People raiding empty tents for spare parts and even full tents on Sunday evening already around 8pm while people are watching shows. Needs more guards or the festival needs to end earlier on the last night.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR