Roskilde Festival 2015

author PP date 10/07/15

Roskilde Festival is as much an institution in the European festival circuit as it is a cultural icon in Denmark. Despite recent advances by genre specific festivals such as NorthSide and Copenhell, and threats from more mainstream newcomers like Tinderbox, the festival continues to sell out year after year despite offering what most media pundits view as an inferior lineup to the competition. But that’s because Roskilde Festival continues to offer Denmark’s youth a gateway into the world of music. It reminds us that music is not only about energetic performances or mass sing alongs, but also about community, about the art, about the message, and about experiences. With 80.000 partout tickets sold and another 40.000 volunteers, one-day tickets and media personnel present, it is arguably the cultural event of the year nationally. No other event will empty the parks and streets of Copenhagen, Århus and Aalborg in the same manner, leaving those without a ticket behind in cities that suddenly feel deserted and less vibrant than before.

It’s worthy of a debate if this is the purpose of Roskilde Festival overall rather than to offer the most killer lineup of the summer like Hellfest, Groezrock and Reading/Leeds do on a consistent basis. Here at we take a middle ground approach. The camping festivities during the warm up days are great fun, but the truth is that all too often are we left wandering from stage to stage during the festival days searching for something relevant or brilliant (preferably both at the same time), stumbling on mediocre or average artists that would be far longer down the lineup poster on any equivalent festival in Europe. With 160+ acts on the roster each year, it’s dumbfounding that it isn’t possible to book about 40-50 bands with both fan and critical acclaim on top of the so-called "new music discovery" that the festival so fondly promotes. Food for thought - I’ll leave you with that for now. Next, we’ll go through the usual analysis of the festival and camping area, before we head down to the reviews. Feel free to scroll down if you want to skip all that. PP


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You don’t have to go too many years back to remember a nightmarish queueing experience that resembled more leading cattle to slaughter than a civilized queue experience. With the crowd separated from the festival area only by a fragile fence that could be toppled at any second, you had to be ready at all times in order to not lose yourself under the masses as they started moving forward.

Today, that memory feels like ancient history. With mandatory entrance booking for a symbolic fee of 5 DKK and an addition of an extra two entrances on the east side, the festival has been able to restrict the amount of pressure at each entrance to a much more reasonable state. Since there is no fence to topple, everyone queues in a community-like fashion in the best spirit of the festival all day, and the doors open exactly at 16:00 instead of some ludicrous time in the middle of the night like in the good bad old days.

But this is where the anarchy begins. It’s every man/woman for him/herself as the rush begins through the vast campgrounds to secure the most optimum spot (and space) for your camp. It’s still a horrible experience where you lose all your friends, fight with everyone around you because someone is coming to claim real estate you believe is yours, which ultimately leads into a sub-optimal filling of the camping squares with unnecessary holes in between tents. The festival could do good to learn from Groezrock’s far more organized way of opening the campsite, although initiatives like Clean Out Loud and other pre-booked areas are a step in the right direction already.


Once you’ve passed the opening ritual, you begin to notice just how vast the campgrounds are if you are there for the first time. With space for 100.000+ ticket holders and volunteers, it takes a good 20-30 minutes to cross the site from East entrance to West entrance, and about the same from the southernmost point up to the entrance to the festival area.

Needless to say, state of the art facilities are out of the question with that amount of people, yet the festival does an excellent job year after year in providing for your basic needs. Both East and West feature a well-equipped service center where most daily needs can be taken care of whether you need a new sleeping bag, groceries, new clothing, or just food. The latter area in particular has seen vast improvement from the previous year, with especially East service center featuring small pop up food wagons like the taco truck, which served delicious pulled pork tortillas for reasonable prices. If you fancied to cook your own food in a real kitchen - for a meager 50 DKK you had entrance and ingredients available, including some instruction, at service center East. Neat concept.

Arriving already on Saturday means you have four days of...well, to be perfectly honest, doing pretty much nothing else than hanging out, drinking, and partying across the campsite. For years now, we’ve seen custom design sound systems grow in size as if there was a competition for the most power hungry system possible, and this year as no exception. A couple of the stereo systems we saw could easily qualify as camping wagons in size: these were usually the locations where people gathered to party all night long to the tunes of electronic music and deafening bass thumps alongside a wealth of glow sticks.

Bad for the environment, you might argue, except there has been a radical drop in solar panel prices during the last twelve months, largely thanks to advances in China and Obama’s Recovery Act funding for renewable energy programmes in the US. Let’s just put it it this way: I’ve never seen this many solar panels across the camping area ever before. And not just in Dream City - a creative area where you can get access a month in advance to build something unique - where you saw arrays upon arrays of solar panels to power an entire village, but also in the general area. It wasn’t unusual to see 200W+ panels powering medium sized systems. I don’t see this development to cease in the coming years. Going green, as they say.

Down south, you have the swimming lake offering a perfect cooling effect on sunny mornings when you wake up in a tent with sauna-like temperatures inside. Of course, hot and cold showers are available in basic containers, but nothing beats doing a front flip into the cold water in the mornings. Signed by yours truly.

There’s much more out there I just can’t cover in this space, but let’s just say it’s absolutely worth it to come four days early to enjoy the atmosphere and meet new friends. Just be prepared that your old ghettoblaster isn’t going to cut it any longer. PP


It’s Wednesday. The gates to the festival area open and the first crazed people compete to reach the Orange Stage pit first in what is an annual tradition. We opt to casually stroll to the area instead, and spend the next four days not just watching music, but marveling at the diversity of activities on offer on the inside. Aside from the stages (Orange Stage, Arena, Avalon, Gloria, and Pavilion), there’s a wealth of things to do from shopping opportunities, workshops, poetry sessions, and a breadth of food options available. It’s basically like a small city with its own little quirks.

This year, we took particular note of the much improved food court, which featured gourmet style options from cultures near and far. Pretty much everything here was delicious, but especially the Korean food (Bulko) and the chili was practically restaurant quality. That’s spectacular in a festival environment. The only minus was that on the sunny days, it was unbearable to be inside and wait in the queues because of the bad ventilation inside.

If you’re not so much a foodie but rather a drinking type, the festival continues to offer a brilliant selection of cocktail bars. The classic ones returned once again: Gringo Bar has a nice terrace to complement their criminally strong cocktails and a Mexican beach vibe, Sauna Bar offered a chance to have a bucket of water poured on your head for free. You get the point. There are dozens of unique and interesting cocktail bars on site, all of them serving surprisingly high quality and well-made drinks, considering this is a festival and all.

The music and standing up can get to even the most hardened of festival veterans. This is also an area where Roskilde excels by providing a multitude of hangout areas where to hide from the noise. House of Rock, for instance, featured a quiet room with sound isolation so strong that if you sat down in there, you actually forgot you were on the festival altogether because of how silent it was. Impressive, especially since it was near the Pavilion stage where music was actually playing at the time.

It’s small details like these that set Roskilde apart from most other festivals. But, I won’t keep you much longer. You ought to explore it yourself one day. That the festival information booklet is 130 pages long really says it all. PP


The Vintage Caravan

The Vintage Caravan @ 18:30-19:15 on Rising

Rumour had reached our ears ahead of the show that The Vintage Caravan are supposed to be an awesome live band even if psychedelic rock melodies are not your thing. Damn straight. Armed with classic rock solos, retro rock approach, and a truckload of groove, these Icelandic psychedelic rockers display headbang fueled energy on stage. Every riff, every feeling, every note is perfectly translated across into the crowd, and after a few songs, their dynamic energy becomes irresistible and the crowd is sold. Whether it’s their hair constantly flowing up and down the best Dave Grohl style, or the trio’s natural ability to play off each other on stage, the band looks like the most convincing band in the world. In between songs, it’s all about the humorous banter. "We’re going for a quiet one… it’s going to be ‘Raining Blood’.", their vocalist says and pauses, before continuing with "Oh no, it’s not.". It’s a balladic song in the beginning - the first one of its kind so far in a set that’s been characterized by pure rock’n’roll energy that rivals Dave Grohl - but naturally transitions into a rowdy rock’n’roll song right after. This while the band is literally bouncing everywhere on the stage - seemingly all at the same time. The solos are larger than life with the band living every note like it’s the last one they’ll ever play, the interaction is constantly laugh-out-loud funny "YOU GUYS READY TO BLABLABLABLA?" and genuine, and generally the band showcase a pure joy of playing live music. It’s simply awesome throughout - and the crowd response is equally massive. This is how to play a goddamn rock’n’roll show and fire up the crowd. [8½] PP

Black Book Lodge

Black Book Lodge @ 23:00-23:30 on Rising

We’ve long known Black Book Lodge to be Denmark’s response to Mastodon style progressive rock/metal hybridism, best characterized by their clean vocals that draw equally much from Muse as they do from the aforementioned seminal band. That also means their best songs are those that are most expansive and atmospheric in their nature, because their dreamy nature fits perfect against the dusk that’s setting down on Roskilde right now. It begins to rain slightly so curious onlookers begin to disperse, leaving only the metal fans left pretty much, which is certainly not helped by the band’s stand still performance. At the end of their set we’ve heard a few decent tracks but lacking in the big-stage glory of their more famous counterparts, so we’re left with a feeling that nothing is really going on that can’t be achieved with a good pair of headphones listening to, for example, their newest EP “Entering Another Measure", from which we get to hear a few tracks tonight. [6½] PP


The Attic Sleepers @ 14:00-14:45 on Rising Stage

I discovered The Attic Sleepers as a co worker in passing mentioned "these friends he had in a band". I thought I'd give it a go and put in on my Spotify list and soon I realized this wouldn't be a brief encounter, but rather quite the love affair. Others seemed to share the sentiment as Danish radio station P3 started putting the lead single off the band's first EP in their daily rotation and many Danish festivals added the band to their line ups. Now all of this happened on the basis of the band's first and only EP "Lanquin", so understandably I have my doubts as I join the pretty full crowd in front of Rising Stage: Does the band have enough material to play a full set? And will that material be on the same level as on the excellent "Lanquin"?

One of the most memorable things on the EP was vocalist Mathias Barfoed's incredible vocal range and emotive stylings and I am very happy to hear, that his voice can live up to my hype in real life as well as Barfoed gently moves from regular pitch and into falsetto, sometimes effortlessly reaching bone chilling heights. Lucky for the band, the sun is shining bright and the rays portrude through the stage smoke forming a perfect backdrop for the The Attic Sleeper's etherial folksy sound. The set is a great mix between the known and the known, but I most thoroughly enjoy "Lines" with the opening lyrics "You remind me of the things I should forget", the bombastic "Burning" and the band's hit "Airport" as crisp guitars break the slightly drum-heavier set. The band shows another level of themselves and the bookers at festivals around Denmark can rejoice; The Attic Sleepers is also a great live band. [8] HES

Audience from later on in the week in front of Orange Stage

Molly @ 15:30-16:50 on Rising

Uh-oh. What could’ve been an awesome show that restores punk rock of the 90s kind to Roskilde is plagued by sound problems. The band’s music is only coming through the backline it seems, which dampens their otherwise gravelly-styled punk rock. Grunge undertones are vividly on display as well through their singer Matte Hill’s charismatic, scratchy voice that draws your mind towards a certain Eddie Vedder with a nod towards Dave Grohl, which naturally leads into a sound that’s best described as early Foo Fighters style alternative rock played at punk rock speeds. The crowd is miniscule at this point in the afternoon, however, and the lingering sound issues don’t make it any easier to get into the band. Most of the instrumentation is drowned underneath the vocals, which has me thinking: this guy has a fantastic voice, but would it not be better served with a slower rhythm section? That’s not a statement I make lightly considering my usual tendency to say the exact opposite. Either way, the band try to salvage what they can through occasional energetic jumps during the instrumental segments, culminating into the guitar being played against the triangular Rising stage structure in the end, followed by what is arguably their best song “People", during which the crowd gets a chance to strum guitar freeform towards the end as the band enter the crowd. Good ending, but sound issues and too much standing still vs. energy makes this show merely decent. [6½] PP



Ruined @ 17:00-17:45 on Rising

Ruined open their set to a miniscule audience, yet a sparse pit opens up straight away near the front as a response to the band’s high energy onslaught on stage. Massive jumps comparable to the Big Air snowboarding contests characterize their set, as does a constant pacing back and forth as is typical in the hardcore scene, whereas musically they feel like a less melodic version of Comeback Kid. During one of the songs near the middle, everyone in the crowd suddenly begins headbanging relentlessly as the band race through high tempo tracks, but that’s about all that can be said right now. The songs, at least live on first impression, are as generic and textbook as they come in hardcore, and fall quite far short of international standard in the genre. As a result, we’re left with a feeling of a forgettable show musically once the band is done after just 30 minutes into their 45 minute allocation. Playing fast and playing textbook hardcore riffs with jumps on stage isn’t enough to catch my attention. [5] PP


Yung @ 23:00-23:45 on Rising

Yung is one of those bands that has wide appeal to the Pitchfork audiences because of their grungy and noisy interpretation of punk rock, and as such, the Rising stage is more packed than it was for any rock band this year at the start of their performance. Their songs sound more or less identical from one another in the truest punk rock spirit, and combined with their upbeat nature, they get the crowd going rather quickly. People are dancing all around the audience, and why shouldn’t they? Even though Yung stand mostly still, each of them delivers the catchy garage punk with a sense of euphoria and energy in their performance. More importantly, they prove that upbeat punk rock has the capacity to reach the regular Roskilde audiences - your everyday music fans. More of this type of music - in great quality as well - is regularly on offer at UnderWerket, BETA, and elsewhere in the small venues are Copenhagen, so where are all of these people normally? So here’s the thing. Soundvenue and co are the culprits in hyping up music because it’s cool and edgy, so people are here as much to be seen in order to say "I listen to punk rock" as they are to hear the music. Yung’s performance is solid, but reasons to be here for most people are not approved from where we stand, especially because on more than one occasion the band recalls riffs by Alkaline Trio and Blink 182 within their music, which are elements found in most pop punk and melodic punk bands as well. [7] PP


The Minds Of 99

The Minds of 99 @ 18:30-20:00 on Orange Stage

As TL was pleasantly surprised by The Minds of 99 at Northside, I decided to finally go see the band live. Although the band has played a tsunami of shows lately, something has always been in the way and I am both pleased to finally squeeze the band into my schedule but also worried: The band is playing the opening show at Orange Stage, a prestigious, but unthankful slot. I have seen many a band break their neck on this stage over the years. The band generally does fine - no necks are broken, but very few are stretched in awe among me in the crowd.

Generally the band is not doing poorly, the stage is just way too big for the introvert, dark and sombre mood of the music - at least with the very little stage show that is added to the mix. A spray of confetti makes the sleepers in the grass stand up for a bit, but they quickly return to their spots in the shade again. The reverb on vocalists Niels Brandt’s microphone just creates more distance between the halfly engaged crowd and the band than it probably would have done if the stage was more intimate. Oh Orange opening gig, once again to take them in at spew them out like the post of Uriah you are. [6] HES

bob hund

bob hund @ 19:00-20:15 on Avalon

Otherwise upbeat is the mood at Bob Hund (stylized “bob hund") at Avalon, where the Swedish indie/soft punkers are having the party we missed out on at The Minds of 99 at Orange stage. The love for playing is evident as vocalist Thomas Öberg is shouting out in Swedish terms that I will not try to translate. The band has an almost cult-like following and it is pretty clear that most of that cult is in attentance - or perhaps the beer has just been poured more freely at this side of the festival plain. The music is an eclectic mix that wikipedia explains as a mix between “Pere Ubu, Kraftwerk and Pixies". Myself I taste a wiff of the legendary Swedish “punker" Magnus Uggla from the 70’s. It is by any stretch not the self importance that is top priority here, neither is sounding good really - but in the end that kinda makes for pretty great entertainment. [7] HES


OFF! @ 17:30-18:45 on Avalon

Opening this year’s festival from a rock’n’roll point of view is the old school hardcore revivalists OFF!, featuring none other than the legendary Keith Morris of Black Flag flame on the vocals. Their piercing, short bursts of energetic hardcore have taken the world by storm during the last four years on “First Four EPs", “OFF!", and 2014’s “Wasted Years", which has earned them a spot at this year’s Roskilde Festival. They kick off with “Void You Out" and follow it quickly after with “I Got News For You", both of which demonstrate that hardcore need not necessarily change from its origins to sound awesome. In between tracks, the always charismatic Morris shows off his quirky traits through some peculiar banter that ranges from asking us to party like vikings to telling us to buy their merch while name dropping Karl Marx in the process. It’s hilarious because it’s so weird, and also necessary because the band’s rapid fire hardcore pieces last barely a minute at a time so after every five or six tracks it feels only natural to have a pause. Especially because the stop/start nature of their music can otherwise start to wear you down. “Over Our Heads" and “Poison City" are early highlights, whilst the closing trio “Black Thoughts", “Darkness" and “Upside Down" ends the 29 song set with a bang. In between, there are moments where the band are not able to capture the audience entirely. "We have lightning next to our name so we play loud music", Morris says wittingly, but they certainly do not show it on stage. Aside from a few jumps here and there, there isn’t very much movement on stage at all. It’s a weird contrast to the high-energy assault of their song material, which should invite for a crazed, frantic stage performance by its nature. That’s why the band fails to capture the crowd aside from the few highlight moments mentioned earlier. As is often the case, hardcore of this type is just very difficult to execute in a festival environment versus an intimate club. [6½] PP

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ 20:00-21:15 on Pavilion

There is no shortage of instruments or members on stage for the most bizarrely named band at the festival, with three guitarists, two drummers and a harmonica / shake instrument player all involved in the seven-strong orchestra that is these Melbourne, Australia-born psychedelic garage rockers. Neither is there any lack of enthusiastic attendees in the absolutely rammed confines of the Pavilion tent; all of whom seem in festive spirits now the music segment of this festival has properly begun. The setting is thus promising, and when the proceedings commence to the tune of “I’m in Your Mind", the promise is well and truly cashed in by a band of musicians whose ecstasy of being able to play here seems to find no limits. From the word go, the vast majority of the audience is off its feet, dancing and bouncing to the irresistible rhythms and bright melodies that characterise the ‘Lizard Wizard’s music. It’s hypnotic, like some sort of psychedelic séance time-machined from Woodstock ’69 to present day.

Stu Mackenzie in the heat of hypnotising the audience - photo courtesy of Jacob Dinesen

But unlike so many bands in the genre, content with gazing at their feet and letting the music and lights do the talking, this septet is one brimming with energy - especially frontman Stu Mackenzie, who’s headbanging, guitar-gunning, tongue-exposing and assuming wild expressions for the entire duration of the 10-song performance. The crowd is boiling and no wonder: not only is the band’s soundscape ridden with texture and awesome instrumental interplay between the seven musicians, the band’s showmanship is so fixating, their energy so contagious, that if some part of your body isn’t moving… well, you must be paralysed. Truly, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is a band that must be experienced in the live setting in order that the full wealth of musical ideas at play should come to life, and after an hour-or-so of oboe, maraca, tambourine, synth and sample infusions into an already rich instrumental foundation, they have my attention. The most surprising and wildly entertaining concert at this year’s festival without a doubt. [8½] AP

The War On Drugs @ 23:00-00:15 on Arena

Last year, "Lost in the Dream", the third album by Philadelphia, PA indie-rockers The War on Drugs, was met with universal praise, including by our psych aficionado Bo ‘BV’ Kastaniegaard Vinberg, whose review of said effort you can read here. And if there is one thing you should trust, it is this man’s voice, especially if the record lies outside of his usual kaleidoscopic preferences. Yours truly therefore had no option but to defy the early wake-up call for work the next morning (yes, some of us did not have the luxury of holiday), and head for the cavernous confines of the festival’s largest tent Arena to investigate how the movement toward a more Americana-inspired sound on the aforementioned release would translate in the live setting.

Moody lighting for The War On Drugs

It is a pleasure to see that despite conflicting with Pharrell Williams, one of the biggest artists to have been booked this year, the tent is nearing maximum capacity and that actual applause can be directed at the quality of the sound mix, often so lacklustre here. The ‘War’s weapon of choice is a casual and somewhat distant demeanour on stage - befitting the breezy, dual-synth laced soundscape, yet creating an undesirable divide between band and audience - as well as a barrage of songs that honestly, have little variety in the rhythm section, but the lyrics of which are nonetheless reciprocated in thunderous unison by a mass of silhouettes who all seem to know the words to songs like “An Ocean in Between the Waves" and “Eyes to the Wind". It is as impressive to witness as is the inspired deployment of the full might of Arena’s lighting rig by the band’s technician, but even so, the concert never gets edgy. The War on Drugs know how to deliver a professional concert, but there is a pressing need for more oomph, and the unexpected.

The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel lost in the dream…

For me personally, the best moments are produced in the lengthy instrumental passages housed by a number of the tracks, with harmonica and saxophone at times woven in for spellbinding effect; the rest of the audience, however, seems most pleased by the high energy of the singles which provide ample opportunities for bouncing up and down. There isn’t much movement on the stage though, and while I find myself intrigued by the coolness (in every sense of the word) of it all and occasionally even lose myself in the soundscape, I never feel truly energised and instead find myself craving for more intimacy, and more gusto from the band. [7] AP


Every Time I Die @ 13:00-14:15 on Avalon

For all the talk about Roskilde supposedly being ahead of the curve when it comes to new music, it’s shocking how rarely they manage to capture bands at their most relevant and most exciting phases. This time they’ve hit the nail in the head though as Every Time I Die are one of the better bookings in recent years in terms of what’s actually happening in the music scene at large. Widely considered as one of the most important hardcore bands of the last decade due to their chaotic nature merged with southern flair, it’s no wonder there’s a lot of people at Avalon. But to see the huge tent almost completely packed at 1pm? That’s a surprise that even throws away Keith Buckley once they’re through the first couple of songs, which by the way see them throwing guitars high up in the air and swirling around the stage like maniacs. "This is a surreal feeling", he says, before explaining us that the whole tour was built around this festival when they were booked about a year ago. It’s the last day today, and the band make that clear to us with a hard-hitting performance that reads among the craziest Roskilde has seen since The Dillinger Escape Plan played here. The show is marked as a ‘high energy’ show on the Roskilde schedule, and no wonder. Buckley looks like a hardcore version of Dave Hrohl on stage as he bangs his head like a lunatic, whilst the guitarists continue to vault their instruments high up towards the rafters. To say that everyone is going batshit crazy on stage is an understatement on this one. “Roman Holiday" sees Buckley request for crowd surfers as there have been none so far, clearly not aware of the consequences that has to your wristband at this festival. "Who’s gonna be the first one!?", he shouts, before one brave soul sacrifices his festival privileges for us. He then sends a tribute to Tuborg for the refreshing cold beers, proceeds to make fun of us for paying for expensive beverages on this side of the barrier. "Hey, start a band, then it’s all going to be free from there onwards", he shouts, and the crowd roars.

Every Time I Die

The energy displayed by the band on stage is infectious. Simultaneous jumps, manic runs across the stage, and piercing southern hardcore anthems ensure there’s something going on at all times. In between tracks, Buckley continues to jokingly mock the crowd: "This song was voted the national crowd surfing anthem for four years in a row now. Pour over like lemmings!", he shouts, still unaware of the rules at the festival. Shortly after we get to hear “We’rewolf" from “The Big Dirty", which sees a small sing along, and Buckley down at the barrier throwing high fives at anyone coming closer. "No Son Of Mine" and “Idiot" continue the chaos in the crowd. The latter sees an absolutely massive circle pit that culminates into a wall of death shortly after. Good stuff. Finally, the band finishes with “Bored", but that’s not where the set ends. You know you’ve been playing like a crazy animal on stage when you projectile vomit everywhere on stage after your last song, which is exactly what the ETID guitarist did at the end of the set. Roskilde, take note here. This is a great booking and shows you actually understand what is going on in the scene instead of the hipster Pitchfork crap that nobody actually listens to. [8] PP

Ryan Adams @ 17:00-18:30 on Orange Stage

Our writer Tim ‘TL’ Larsen has been unable to cease preaching the virtues of country singer-songwriter Ryan Adams and his music, so at the behest of his arguments, the middle aged man marks the beginning of the festival’s second day for me, and what better way to soak in the baking afternoon sun than to the tune of some mellow true-American songs? With a full band behind him, there is a rock’n’roll-ish feel to these proceedings that reminds me, if only a little, of Bruce Springsteen and - via something peculiar about his looks as well as the American flag with stars exchanged for a peace symbol draped over an amp - a slew of Vietnam War protest musicians from the 70’s. There is something life affirming about this stuff, a sensation no doubt aided by Adams’ grounded personality, and one cannot but have the utmost respect for his effortless transference between guitar, harmonica (sometimes the two simultaneously) and Hammond organ - not only has he written all of the music, he has the multitude of skills required to play all of the instruments involved in the composition.

Ryan Adams imitating the early 70’s peace protest shows

But while standing on the half-empty field watching Adams isn’t exactly a chore, one cannot but help wonder if the performance isn’t better suited for a more intimate setting. His raw yet affected voice and the instrumental detail, too, seem to vanish into the afternoon air rather than drill their way to the hearts and minds of the audience, just as the lapses into awesome jams never reach the level of intensity they no doubt would in, say, a club setting. Indeed, Ryan Adams delivers his mixture of road-trippin’ bangers and slower emotive songs a tad too relaxed and with too little volume, with the inevitable result that most people (outside of the front pits, which are nowhere near full) seem more interested in casual conversation with the music buzzing in the background, than standing mesmerised and taking in Adams’ music. A rather sluggish showing from a musician I expect can do much better. [6] AP

St. Vincent @ 18:00-19:15 on Arena

For most people, Roskilde Festival is as much about musical exploration and the expansion of one’s horizons, as it is about watching bands one has seen, heard or at the very least knows. Taking photographer Jacob Dinesen’s recommendation to heart, watching Tulsa, Oklahoma based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Anne Erin Clark aka. St. Vincent against my original plans is, to me, part of such exploration, and, arriving at Arena which is attended by a sizable crowd, she does not disappoint. Call it what you want: art rock, baroque pop, indie, trip-hop… St. Vincent is a woman of many talents, unafraid to let her eclecticism blossom. As such, it is hard to place the distinct inspirations from whence her music is distilled (Sufjan Steven, whose touring band she was once part of, certainly doesn’t fit), but if I were to hazard a guess, then both Björk and Massive Attack surely feature on the palette.

St. Vincent in one of her more organic moments - photo courtesy of Jacob Dinesen

Pigeonholing her music is beside the point, however. More important for the purpose of this review is to praise the sublimity of her voice, the avant-garde ideas she has when it comes to writing music, and her strangely robotic movements, so fixating to behold. St. Vincent knows how to clutch the audience and keep it in her palm, through a mixture of charisma, deviance and innuendo that somehow sends my thoughts toward Alicia Vikander’s Ava character in the excellent film Ex Machina. Inorganic though her antics may seems, rest assured they are very deliberate, and when the music does call for it, she is perfectly able to rock out with passion as well. Her live band, comprising multi-instrumentalists Toko Yasuda and Daniel Mintseris, as well as drummer Matt Johnson, do an impeccable job at fleshing out the instrumental aspects of St. Vincent’s music, but their role in the performance is secondary and they remain very much in Clark’s shadow for the duration of the set. She is the focus. I do not linger until the end of her set, but from the hour or so that I have seen, here is an artist with that extra notch of personality and unique talent to deserve everything that has, and will come to her. [7½] AP

Florence + The Machine

Florence + The Machine @ 19:30-21:00 on Orange Stage

Florence Welch is the centerpoint of Florence + The Machine not only by name, but by energy. With a backdrop of animated mirrors, the valkyrie enters the stage dressed in all white like the God-like creature she is. Reaching notes beyond most regular vocal chords as she jolts from one end of the stage to the other as she twirls her hair, without one single breath showing exertion. The day has been windy at best and the gusts does throw the sound around a bit, but we are all too mesmerized to really give a damn. The folksy set is dominated by nothing but Florence and her Patti Smith like energy, outshining her incredible choir, a section of horns and the entire band as she does pitch-perfect but improvised versions of “Ship To Wreck", “Shake it Out" and the brilliant “Cosmic Love" from the even more brilliant album “Lungs". “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" goes from being a song to the anthem a hymn as the entire crowd joins in for the chorus. The set suffers slightly from a middle section that contains a few too many “new" songs like “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" for the crowd to stay 100% in the ecstasy of the strong opening, but finished off with bombastic hits like “Drumming Song", “You’ve Got The Love" and “The Dog Days Are Over". I think Florence and her machine convinced a lot of newcomers today to start paying more attention to the band and fans were probably as convinced as ever, that this Florence Welch has got the love. [8½] HES

Mastodon @ 20:30-21:45 on Arena

In 2011, coincidentally the last year that I attended this festival to the full degree, Mastodon was billed alongside Prince as one of the consummate headliners, and handled their slot on the Orange Stage with huge finesse despite only filling half the field, not least because the sound system there is unreal. It was triumphant. Now, four years later, the band has been downgraded to a sub-liner on the lesser Arena stage, infamous for muddling the sound of heavy music, yet better suited to a band not yet capable of drawing 70,000 people on their own. It is thus with mixed expectations that I arrive in front pit (naturally), eager for any opportunity to watch one of my all-time favourite metal bands perform live. Sadly, my worst fears come to fruition when the quartet steps on stage and “Tread Lightly" explodes from the speakers like a running blender full of cutlery.

Troy Sanders of Mastodon doing limbo…

The suboptimal sound conditions have a visible effect on guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds’ mood, whose face expression emanates pure rage and spells merciless revenge for a sound technician not even guilty of the crime. But one thing catches my eye: never before have I witnessed Mastodon expending such levels of energy as is the case here, with even the customarily reserved guitarist Bill Kelliher rocking out alongside his pals, swinging their instruments and surging toward the audience like the Wildling warriors they were cast as in an episode of the television show Game of Thrones recently. Never before has the band’s passion translated to such visible displays of madness as tonight; gone is the shoegazing and the introspection - in their place are musicians owning the stage.

Needless to say, the audience reaction is near fanatical, even if the majority of mosh participants are clueless when it comes to timing a circle pit (during the slow, mystical intro to “Chimes at Midnight", really?). Somewhere to my left, feathers are pluming from pillows and snowing onto the crowd there and all of this has the makings of a fantastic show against all the odds - until the PA system cuts out completely unbeknownst to Mastodon. What follows is a rather comical experience of Mastodon continuing like it’s nobody’s business (their monitors are still functioning) and crowd hysterically waving its hands in a plea to stop them until the sound has been restored. It’s a major hiccup, and in its aftermath, even the significant improvements to the audio mix in songs like “Black Tongue", “Ember City" and “Megalodon" is not enough to stop the inevitable: this is to be the most disappointing experience I’ve had with Mastodon. Even the amusing sight of Hinds taking a piss behind his amp mid-song whilst continuing to play “Aqua Dementia" doesn’t help.

Mastodon’s Brent Hinds succumbing to a poor sound mix...

Nonetheless, the sheer determination of Hinds, Kelliher, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor to triumph again at Roskilde Festival in spite of the circumstances earns them my deepest respect. And once the ominous intro to “Crystal Skull" sounds from the speakers to announce the coming of the closing trio, all of that disappointment is suspended for a moment. “The Czar", played for the first time in years on this tour, is then unleashed in a formidable rendition, before fan favourite “Blood and Thunder" predictably sends the front pit into violent ecstasy. Even so, however, it is difficult not to imagine how breathtaking all of this would have been without the atrocious sound. Sigh, an opportunity unwittingly foregone. [7] AP

Muse @ 22:30-00:00 on Orange Stage

There are very few rock bands left that are both relevant and capable of filling the enormous surroundings of Orange Stage in 2015. Foo Fighters are one of them, and Muse is the other obvious candidate, despite them having assumed the role of the Roskilde House Band together with Nick Cave in recent memory. Tonight, they show us why they are totally deserving of all the praise in the world and why the big rock show is not dead. Opening with the “drill Sergeant" intro that leads into new track “Psycho", the band instantly capture the 60.000-strong crowd into a mesmerizing frenzy that won’t cease until the end of the set. The giant video screen towers on both sides zoom into vocalist Matthew Bellamy’s face, which tells a story of true passion and love for his songs. There’s no need for fancy video effects or other gimmicks at this point, it’s all about the music and the way he is able to convey it to us in such a genuine and loving manner. “Supermassive Black Hole" is pretty good, but pales in comparison to the more rock-tilted old track “Plug In Baby" which simply sounds amazing live tonight. There’s no other way to put it really, but “Origin Of Symmetry", “Showbiz" and “Absolution" are undeniably the best work this band has done to date and leave their work after that in their tall shadow. “Hysteria" with its incredible "I want it noooooow" parts is more proof of old material dominating newer stuff whilst aquatic video effects take over behind the band on the screens. But that’s not necessarily meant as a diss towards the newer songs rather than just highlight how good this band has been throughout their career.

Muse - photo credit: Christian Hjorth

On stage, Bellamy continues to look like he’s having sex with the microphone on stage with his face in a display of his passion. If this isn’t one of the best bands of our generation, then you’re probably not a music fan at all. “Mercy", arguably the finest Muse song since the “Absolution" album, is complemented with confetti and streamers flying across the audience. “Time Is Running Out" follows immediately after; it feels like the entire field is singing along at this point. What do you do when 60.000 people show that much love for your song? You jump around like crazy on stage, of course. Soon, massive balls fly into the crowd in a classic Muse moment during “Reapers" - we all know they’re filled with confetti - but it is “Starlight" that provides an absolutely euphoric moment of mass-sing along. “Stockholm Syndrome" provides another look back at the band’s magnificent old recordings - here the feelings in the crowd climax into something indescribable on paper. It goes without saying you needed to be there. If you weren’t, you missed probably the greatest Orange Stage moment in years. The crowd euphoria continues well into the encore, which sees “Uprising" followed by “Knights Of Cydonia" where everyone first hums along to every single note of the song, before we all launch into a sea of jumping up and down in another magical, magical moment. Tonight, Muse prove once and for all that rock is not dead. [9] PP


The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth @ 16:00-17:15 on Orange Stage

Who is this Swedish guy and why is Arena absolutely packed to the brim? Well, I guess it’s a coincidence of circumstances: First off the weather is absolutely brilliant. Secondly the timing is absolutely perfect for a laidback singer/songwriter gig. Thirdly The Tallest Man On Earth is an extremely euphonious bloke. Why wouldn’t the grass be full of happy festivalgoers? Whereas The Tallest Man On Earth can become a little quiet even for my taste on record, the show is surprisingly upbeat and engaging. My one appeal against the constellation is, that most of the songs seem to have gotten a bit of a pop-make over, leaving very little of the very likeable country aspect of the recorded songs. The crowd however seems to mind very little as they dance along, smile and clap so enthusiastically that the clapping sounds fill the tent of Arena with an uplifting roar. [7] HES

Dolomite Minor @ 18:30-19:45 on Pavilion

Why are there suddenly so many duos in popular rock music? Is there some hidden benefit apart from the obvious cost reduction that motivates the emergence of these guitarist / bassist and drummer configurations that I’m missing, or is it just that right now, the bare basics sound of just two instruments and a voice is all the rage? Such thoughts circle my mind as I approach the Pavilion tent to pass judgment upon one such outfit, Dolomite Minor, who are based out of Southampton, England where I studied for my Bachelor degree (that coincidence alone somehow mandates my presence, I feel). It’s not exactly bustling in there, but plenty of festival goers have still hauled their asses over to gaze with curiosity upon Joe Grimshaw on guitar and vocals, and Max Palmier on drums. Those are well weighed words, too, as at no point during the short concert do Grimshaw & Palmier manage to draw an enthusiastic response from the crowd - this despite their best efforts at paying tribute to Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes with their dusty, Palm Desert recalling, high energy rock’n’roll.

Max Palmier of Dolomite Minor - too jittery to remain seated

Despite those obvious influences, Dolomite Minor have nonetheless written an assortment of decent songs - not least the wonderfully devious, ultra groovy hit single “Talk Like an Aztec". But while Grimshaw’s riffs are pleasantly scorched, and Palmier’s drumming always insistent, it is clear that with the exception of that track, Dolomite Minor have not yet found their footing in terms of writing memorable songs complete with the final edge necessary to establish a unique identity for themselves. Furthermore, neither Grimshaw nor Palmier has developed enough stage personality to be consistently engaging; in fact, their mundane attitude and failure to translate the explosivity of the music into an equally energetic performance proves the primary stumbling block for my thorough enjoyment of their concert tonight. There is promise here for sure though, and given time, Dolomite Minor might just mature into England’s answer to Royal Blood. [7] AP

Enslaved trying their very best under dire circumstances... - photo courtesy of Jacob Dinesen

Enslaved @ 22:00-23:15 on Avalon

Not much is in favour of Enslaved this evening. Not only did the previous band scheduled to play at Avalon begin their set over an hour late, the delay means that the overwhelming majority of metal fans at the festival opt out of their performance to acquire a good position for the consummate metal headliner Lamb of God, who are now inevitably clashing, over at Arena. It’s a sad-sized audience, thus, which faces the seminal Norwegian progressive black metallers, and despite their utmost efforts to convince the few of their might, the quality of the sound mix counteracts them, muddling virtually all of the finer intricacies found in songs like “Thurisaz Dreaming" and “Ruun". And by the time the sound engineer gets a handle on the issues for an awe-inspiring rendition of “Death in the Eyes of Dawn", it is already too late as the audience dwindles in pursuit of drinks before Lamb of God. From the first half of the concert that I manage to catch, the combination of these unfortunate circumstances means that while none of the multi-dimensionality of Enslaved’s music is lost during “Build with Fire", the performance never reaches magical heights. It must be said though, that the five musicians - guitarists Ivar Bjørnson & Arve Isdal, bassist Grutle Kjellson, drummer Cato Bekkevold, and frontman Herbrand Larsen - are doing absolutely everything in their power to incite a deserving reaction from us. Axes are crossed, instruments swung, fierce face expressions flashed, and the music is played with such awe-inspiring authority it’s hard not to be at least a little impressed. [6] AP

Lamb Of God @ 23:30-00:45 on Arena

In honesty, even with the towering expectations for one of contemporary metal’s most crucial and respected bands now such had finally been allocated a righteous late night slot, it was difficult to imagine how Virginia’s finest, Lamb of God, could possibly top the majesty of their performance at Copenhell three years ago. But with frontman Randy Blythe’s harrowing ordeal in Czech prison, accused and tried for a crime he did not commit fresh in memory, there still seems to be a collective anticipation that some sort of purifying catharsis is to be experienced tonight. It is therefore as heroes that the five musicians, completed by guitarists Mark Morton & Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell and drummer Chris Adler, walk onto the stage spurred by the thunderous roaring of the biggest metal audience at this festival yet. And once “Desolation" commences the business and the full breadth of the front pit explodes… well, the atmosphere transforms into utterly unreal.

Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe getting some airtime

This is the type of concert for which words do injustice; where a special bond, a subliminal understanding forms between band and audience that we are going to create history tonight. As the classic “Set to Fail" rounds off a crushing trio of classics early on (“Walk with Me in Hell" and “Ruin" constituting the other two), Blythe remarks that this is the hitherto most psychotic, engaged audience he and his compatriots have had the pleasure to face on this tour, and it is impossible to doubt his sincerity, looking at what’s happening on and off stage. Not only has the full extent of the tent descended into a maelstrom by the time “Hourglass" and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die for" are aired, when the eerie “Descending" makes a tour debut (yours truly having requested it of the band earlier in the day), the lack of restraint shown in the now-multiple pits is beginning to look downright dangerous. No matter though - the sheer violence and euphoria fuels the band into one of the most humbling discharges of energy they’ve managed before my eyes yet in the five prior times that I have seen them. The authority, the ferocity of Blythe and his colleagues is petrifying.

Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe - ferocious as ever

It is remarkable that this late into the night, this late in the evening, this late into the festival, people seem to have discovered some hidden reservoir of stamina with which to reciprocate Lamb of God’s savagery and intensity. Seriously, during the final quartet of “Vigil", “Laid to Rest", and especially “Redneck" and “Black Label", not only is the front pit a blur of flailing arms and legs, bodies charging back and forth and people somersaulting on the ground; an even larger circle pit opens behind, engulfing the sound box and spanning virtually all of the Arena tent. If you are watching this and the expression "Whoa…" doesn’t form on your lips, then you are most likely a paralytic, or at the very least allergic to mastery. An utter bulldozer of a concert, this. [10] AP

Mew @ 01:30-03:00 on Orange Stage

There is no better time to watch Danish experimental rockers Mew than at the darkest hour - and no better stage than the legendary Orange Stage. Here, under a pitch black canopy, backed by a fearsome sound system and a stunning lighting setup, the magic of songs like “The Zookeeper’s Boy" and “Snow Brigade" comes to life in scintillating fashion, vocalist Jonas Bjerre’s falsetto cutting through the cool air like the brightest ray of light through darkness. No other band on Earth sounds even remotely similar to what this quartet-turned-trio has been doing for the past 21 years; the odd time signatures preferred by drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen, the radiant, angular melodies of Bo Madsen (now played by session guitarist Mads Wegner, as Madsen exited the band shortly before the festival) and the astonishing voice of Bjerre all combining in songs as unique as they are welcoming. And the home audience loves it.

The spectacular lighting at Mew’s excellent headlining concert

For nearly two minutes in the wake of the aforementioned “Zookeeper’s Boy", the field before Orange Stage continues to sing the chorus as Mew watch in marvel, and no less heartfelt is the crowd’s reaction to staples like “She Spider", the monumental “Am I Wry? No" and “156". Like Muse the night before, Mew can count themselves among a special caste of band’s capable of staging a truly breathtaking show, all of the disparate elements converging in an otherworldly audiovisual experience. Alright, so Bjerre could be a little more psyched in his interactions with the audience, and the musicians in general could play their instruments with more visible passion. But from a distance, the dancing lights, towering volume and crystal clear mix on their own, are more than most bands can muster. It’s not perfect, but Mew still demonstrate that in the right conditions, they remain one of the absolute premier live acts Denmark has to offer. Finishing the set with a first-ever performance of “Rows", as well as the widely loved “Comforting Sounds" in the encore of course earns them even more applause, and even a casual listener such as myself cannot but stand in awe, watching the symbiosis between band, audience, light and sound unfold. Magnificent. [8] AP

Twin Peaks @ 02:30-03:45 on Pavilion

I left Mew before their show was over because I wanted to catch Twin Peaks, who had just begun their set. I hadn’t heard any of their music prior to this, but their description sounded interesting. And boy, was I right. On stage were five young blokes from Chicago, IL, going mental playing a mix of garage rock and straight-up rock’n’roll. It was very energetic and it grew into even more insane proportions when an audience member handed the band a joint, which they gladly passed around between each other. Now, mental became deranged. The keyboardist looked like he was having a seizure banging his head and twisting his body into ever stranger contortions; the guitarist continued to bang out infectious riffs, headbanging with his tongue hanging out, stoned out of his mind. The half-full Pavilion tent, inspired by these antics, was giving it their utmost as well in a bid to party one last time before collapsing in a tent somewhere. This is how a rock’n’roll party needs to be done. An intense and positive first experience with a band previously unknown to me - highly recommended should you have the opportunity to catch them live at some point. [8]

Guest review by Rune Bøgelund


Spidergawd @ 12:00-13:15 on Avalon

Since I ended my Friday around at 03:30 in the morning, I was at first not feeling up to go to the festival area with just five hours of sleep behind me. But after a dip in the lake, I made up my mind not to miss Swedish supergroup Spidergawd. I ventured to Avalon by myself, and found the tent less than half full – clearly I was not the only one feeling tired on the last day of the festival. But as it turned out, Spidergawd was just the right cure for the early afternoon blues. With a mix of hard rock and, appropriately, blues, the Norwegian quartet kick-started the Saturday party. The sound was groovy, with the occasional cowbell and of course enormous saxophone infused into the proceedings. The energy level on stage was kept to a minimum, but that didn’t bother yours truly or, by the looks of it, the remainder of the audience. Most people were into the music, with heads nodding and feet softly tapping to the cozy rhythms emanating from the PA. This proved to be a great way to start out a new day of music. The groove of the music in particular, was instrumental in conquering the hangover and lack of sleep from the previous night. This was even more underlined by the smell of hash, which inevitably accompanied the sweet tunes. To quote the announcer after the concert: “I like my cowbell crunchy in the morning!" - couldn’t be more spot on. [7½]

Guest review by Rune Bøgelund

Kevin Baker of All Pigs Must Die - the most commanding frontman at this year’s festival?

All Pigs Must Die @ 14:00-15:15 on Avalon

Managing to convince the enigmatic All Pigs Must Die to fly over the Atlantic for a special appearance was something of a scoop by Roskilde Festival. However, placing them on the large Avalon stage in blinding daylight… these decisions are beyond comprehension. Music as intense as the grinding hardcore practiced by the ‘Pigs needs to be experienced in the claustrophobic confines of a small club, which at Roskilde Festival would be the Gloria stage. Vocalist Kevin Baker, a towering colossus of a madman, looks like he means business, promising that he and his compatriots will expend every ounce of energy they have as long as that energy will be reciprocated by the audience - a request honoured only by a few eager moshers. No doubt the pit which opens up at his behest is large, but it is occupied by just ten people - a rather comical sight when turning into a circle pit. Each song is interspersed by Baker’s roar of "More!", but despite his power and charisma, the day is simply too early, the weather too hot, and the venue too large for the desired intensity to ever manifest. One certainly cannot blame All Pigs Must Die for want of trying though: each of the four musicians is sweating like a rapist by the time the proceedings come to an end - this despite the fact outside of Baker’s antics there is very little actual movement happening. That the style of music here is so resistant to melody does not help the overall impression either - there isn’t too much else to grab one’s attention than the commanding presence of Baker. Unfavourable circumstances thus prevent the sort of suffocating intensity I was expecting, and given how rarely this band plays live, another opportunity will be a long time coming, I fear. [6] AP

Corrosion of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan trying to rouse the audience from its docile state

Corrosion Of Conformity @ 18:00-19:15 on Avalon

Just like all of the other bands I’ve seen at this point on the Avalon stage, the sound technician on duty seems incapable of harnessing the sound system when Corrosion of Conformity, one of the bands I’ve been looking forward to with starry eyes, step on stage. The band, re-united last year with their iconic frontman Pepper Keenan, mustered up an enthralling performance in Copenhagen earlier this year, so there was every reason to be jiggly. But when the sound mix is more akin to a snow plough dragging on dry asphalt than a rock concert, it’s always going to be an uphill struggle. No blame for ‘Conformity: the quartet perform with gusto, and have brought with them a solid, if somewhat shorter setlist than last time, from which “Seven Days", “Albatross" and set closer “Clean My Wounds" in particular emerge as highlights. Sadly the hours spent drinking in stifling heat have left their mark on the audience, of which only the frontmost participants seem willing to rock out. That leaves it up to Corrosion, who do a fine job, if falling short of the wildly energised, almost euphoric feel of their performance at Beta. It’s frustrating to watch a band trying so hard to conjure up an atmosphere only to be destroyed by poor sound quality and a sluggish audience. But alas, this second encounter with Keenan’s Corrosion of Conformity will not go down in history. [6] AP

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit @ 20:30-21:45 on Arena Stage

Admittedly I have a severely soft spot for the Swedish siblings comprising First Aid Kit. Their music makes me think of the days when this very festival was young like the two girls on stage, folksy in that way it was in the 70’s. We’re spared very little time as the girls kick right into gear with their major hit “The Lion’s Roar" followed by the lead single off their latest record “No Gold Can Stay". The amazing vocal harmonies between the sisters leave very little to wish for, as the lap steel guitar also takes a more prominent role in the soundscape. Especially the songs from the “Stay Gold" record works very well as they have matured and grown an edge. “Waitress Song" is absolutely beautiful as well as “Silver Lining", but my absolute favourite has to be the country-inspired “Heaven Knows" with the yelling-crescendo “And what'll you do if it comes down to it? If it all goes straight to hell?“ finally stripping the duo of the latent innocence that honestly becomes a little boring in the long while. [7½] HES

Paul McCartney - photo credit: Steffen Joergensen

Paul McCartney @ 22:00-00:45 on Orange Stage

The absolute ticket seller of the festival is Sir Paul McCartney and the plain in front of Orange Stage is so packed to the brim, that the road in the very back of the area surrounding the stage, that is usually kept clear for people moving from stage to stage, but today there is no way of using the road for commuting. The first couple of minutes are tense, McCartney’s voice sound frail and everything on stage doesn’t seem to be going quite well, but as soon as we get to “Temporary Secretary" a light starts shining from the stage - a light that is with us to the very end of the show. See, as the set moves on it begins to matter less and less how powerful McCartney’s voice is at 73, but more about that quintessential thing that made The Beatles stand out back in the day: That rock and roll spirit. The first half of the concert is dominated by McCartney’s own works like “Paperback Writer" (Lennon-McCartney) with some epic guitar work, the relatively new and more quiet “My Valentine" (McCartney) and then on to a Wings-song in the shape of “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" (McCartney). The crowd patiently waits, but the firework is yet to come. We get a little more Wings in the shape of “Maybe I’m Amazed" dedicated to McCartney’s wife, Linda, before the Beatles-craze sets in with the country-like “I’ve Just Seen A Face" and the oldtimers around me starts howling along, as we as young girls, not even alive when Lennon was shot join in as well. The cavalcade of hits is almost unbroken from this point and the mood magically lifts from “entertained" to “ecstatic" as the ex-Beatle shows off the vast contrast of the Beatles-catalogue with songs like “We Can Work It Out", “And I Love Her" followed by the iconic “Blackbird" and the all ladies-themed trio “Lady Madonna", “Lovely Rita" and “Eleanor Rigby", then continuing to “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!". And even though many of these songs are written by other members of The Beatles I must admit I care very little, cause the performance is authentic. Then the lights are turned down, as McCartney sings the first verse of the beautiful “Something", written by George Harrison, on a ukulele gifted to McCartney by Harrison. And as the crowd joins in for the suddenly more sombre verse “I don't want to leave her now. You know I believe and how" followed by one of the most beautiful guitar riffs ever written, it’s hard not to feel that certain pressure in your tear ducts as McCartney sings the verse once again with the characteristic rolling drums in the background. The rest of the set is an absolute overdose of great spirits: I’ll save you the continuous recitation of marvelous Beatles’ songs, but most noteworthy is surely “Hey Jude" that makes the entire crowd of 90.000+ break out in song simultaneously. Such joy is hardly found anywhere else than in front of Orange Stage when Paul McCartney is playing. [9] HES


Deafheaven @ 22:30-23:15 on Pavilion

Pavilion was perhaps a little over half full, when Deafheaven took the stage for one of the most anticipated metal concerts at this year’s Roskilde Festival. Even though I hadn’t given their records a spin prior to the concert (apart from hearing the title track to their latest album “Sunbather"), I was really looking forward to this show, since every single person I know who has seen them live, has praised them to the skies. What first struck me was how massive and huge the soundscape was: black metal laced with blast beats, high shrieks and high velocity tremolo guitar, but at the same time, the music could also be almost droning and enchanting in some passages. You could really feel the punchy, atmospheric sound. The vocals were unfortunately a little lost in the mix in select moments, but fortunately this did not ruin the overall expression.

George Clarke of Deafheaven - so much passion!

The crowd gathered at Pavilion were visibly enjoying the concert as well, as all the way back to the outer perimeter of the venue, people were banging their heads and becoming lost in the music. To top things off, at the end of the show the lead singer dives into the crowd, and delivers a passionate vocal performance whilst being carried by the audience – which of course produced an even more frenetic audience. The show stopped as fast as it had begun, alas, but I was left with one feeling: this is definitely not the last time I’m going to be seeing Deafheaven live. It was a supremely convincing performance; however, in order for me to truly appreciate it at the highest level, more time is required listening to the music on record. So, until next time: [8]

Guest review by Rune Bøgelund

Young And In The Way @ 01:30-02:45 on Pavilion

I was just about ready to conclude Roskilde Festival ’15, when a couple of friends implored me to watch this band. Ergo, approximately 02:30 in the morning, I found myself at Pavilion yet again as Young And In The Way were entering the stage. I did not know what to expect, but I was instantly blown away by the sheer brutality and energy emanating from the speakers! The lead singer was bending in all kinds of directions, and contorting his body to the rhythm of the fast-paced, almost grindcore-style music. Then, out of nowhere: black metal. I guess it should come as no surprise that they’re signed to Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish Inc. label, because this music is genuinely crushing. The bassist soon joined the party, jumping into an welcoming, energetic crowd, handing them some beer (always a crowd-pleaser at metal concerts), and pacing back and forth in front of them whilst delivering his licks.

Young and in the Way - unadulterated rage

Then, suddenly: breakdown, with the lead singer instantly making a front flip and landing on his back (how much that must have hurt…). Behold this insanity unfolding before my eyes, I started laughing hysterically - I can’t remember this much happening on stage, nor music this intense since the last time I saw The Dillinger Escape Plan live. More beer is poured over the crowd, followed by a “Fuck yoooouu, Roskildeeee!!" roar from the vocalist, and just as I thought the festivities couldn’t become any more mental, the bassist finished the set by smashing his bass onto the stage in best The Who-style and then throwing it into the moshing crowd, landing in the hands of a friend of mine.

After the show I was left with the feeling that Young And In The Way meant business. They didn’t care if they were given the last spot of the last day. They were here to party and yell "Fuck you!" at everything and everyone. They made a huge impression on me since I came in with no expectations at all, and left with my jaw closer to the floor than my mouth. Perhaps the biggest surprise at Roskilde, and definitely ranking among the best metal experiences at this year’s festival. [8½]

Guest review by Rune Bøgelund


There are a lot of things Roskilde are doing right, as we discussed in the camping site and festival area sections earlier. But there are also things that caught our eye and thoughts during the festival.

One of those was that a band like The Vintage Caravan played on the warmup days, which is noteworthy because they are an international small to medium sized band on a large independent label (Nuclear Blast). For all the complaining we do each year about the lineup, this presents a unique opportunity for Roskilde: why not book quality international bands to play on the warmup days, such as the punk/hardcore bands that usually are always ignored in the ‘main’ lineup? A band like The Menzingers would be absolutely killer here, as would Polar Bear Club, Defeater, and pretty much most of the medium-billed names from a festival like Groezrock. By packing a bunch of high-quality acts like this onto the Rising stage, you’d see a whole lot of music enthusiasts considering a Roskilde ticket purchase.

And while we are on that topic, the booking of something like Nicky Minaj was absolutely atrocious. I watched about 30 minutes of her playback-fueled sexist, shallow image-based showmanship where artistic integrity and genuine vibe were like a distant galaxy in comparison. It’s trash, and does not fit at all into the Roskilde Festival image. Quality pop/hip-hop is fine. Eminem or even something like Wu Tang Clan would be great here. Never again, please.

Onwards we go: the camping site still looks like a freaking refugee camp by the end of the festival. The trash collection system simply needs to be better...we’ll do an article on how to fix this a little later. Moreover, there are lots of pissoirs attached to the fences at the festival site with pipes directing the piss down to the ground. There needs to be way, way more of these on the camping site as dry weather always means it smells despicable near any fence.

Finally, we leave you with our classic The Good, The Bad, The Ugly section with bullet points on what we thought worked at the festival and what didn't.


  • Moshing is finally allowed in its full glory thanks to the ‘high energy’ designations for specific shows. That’s awesome. But how is it that shows by metal bands like Mastodon, Tombs, Deafheaven and Myrkur were not marked as such?
  • Lineup more spread out across the stages giving variety instead of some years where rock fans have been confined to Pavilion and the old Odeon stage for the entire festival.
  • Volt. Stands everywhere. Free re-charging for poor non-Volt bastards
  • Improved ‘pop up’ style food options on service centers (taco truck at East, etc)
  • Little less anal camping rules (being 2 centimeters across the line did not unleash a shitstorm like in the past)
  • Finally some garbage trucks slowly driving around festival area where people could dump their crap every now and then - more of this please
  • Still good focus on sustainability overall.
  • Dream City still has the coolest things of any festival I’ve seen. Creativity FTW.
  • Festival done on Saturday night instead of Sunday = awesome, no need for a day off on Monday for recovery.


  • Network coverage nonexistent for non 3 users all across festival site
  • Genre-focused scheduling still kinda crappy. Why are five rock bands playing more or less at the same time when there are so few of them? Even genre-specific festivals can figure out the schedule so it doesn’t clash, so why is it a problem here every single year? Lamb Of God, Decapitated, Mew, Fossils, Goat should all appeal to the rock/metal fans at Roskilde, whereas practically nothing earlier that day was of relevance.


  • Some genres are still being completely ignored (punk/hardcore/post-hardcore/emo/etc) in favour of Pitchfork-ism that isn’t well attended nor works live very often.
  • Pee smells still terrible at the walls after a few dry days.
  • Garbage. So much garbage.
  • Areas being swept at first night by thieves. It’s a huge problem that should be monitored somehow. In each of the past four years I remember people waking up during the first morning with stuff stolen in multiple tents around me.

That’s it for now folks. Hope you enjoyed our massive wall-of-text thoughts and reviews of this year’s Roskilde Festival.

All photos by Peter Troest except where otherwise mentioned


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