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LIVE REVIEW: Roskilde Festival Day 1, 29.06.2016

in Live Reviews by
at the drive-in live roskilde

Reviews by Amanda Farah and Jesper Gaarskjær

Africa Express presents the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians — Orange

If there was one flaw in the Africa Express set from last year, it was timing. The four-hour performance started at about 10pm on the last night of Roskilde, and as marvellous as it was, we simply didn’t have the energy left to stick it out.

So Africa Express presents the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with Damon Albarn and Guests (not the snappiest title, to be honest) was a wonderful way to open the Orange Stage. And with this set running only two hours, there was no threat of Albarn being carried off the stage again, though of course it was mentioned.

This night was not about Albarn, though. Aside from an extended version of “Out of Time,” where Arabic string arrangements melted the song into something romantic and beautiful, and a cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” sung with the Syrian choir and Julia Holter, he remained in the background. Even from the perspective of a longtime fan of his work, that’s fine, because the best moments of the set belonged to other performers.

Mounir Troudi not only floored us with his voice, but is so delightful to watch in his performance with his enormous smile and fanciful dancing that it’s almost unbearable. Someone please bring him to Koncerthuset so we can enjoy a full concert. Lebanese/Algerian artist Malikah, performing with both Noura Mint Seymali and with Bu Kolthoum, has us realizing that we need more Arabic hip-hop in our lives.

And lest anyone doubt the political nature of this performance, Albarn opened the set by declaring “keep borders open” and ended it with his fellow musicians leading the crowd in a chant of “Syria.” Well said. Welcome in. — AF

Aurora — Pavilion

Standing there in her thin black dress and golden jacket and shining with her pale, smiling face, obviously grateful for the people crowding this years’ first concert at Pavilion. And then she starts singing, Aurora Aksnes, 19 year old from Norway, and nothing is stronger than the voice from this young, tiny woman.

She really can make some unbelievable sounds with her voice, both on record and not least live at Roskilde, that just fits her gripping, explosive electro pop-songs somewhere between Björk and Sia. That was the formula from the minute she entered the stage until she left only 40 minutes later, leaving the crowd hungry for more of her pop songs that have this cold Nordic melancholy underneath it all.

aurora live roskilde

This really was a lively concert, but that was also the weakness of her performance. It was too much the same pop formula, and that was a shame. Aurora is so, so talented, and she makes adorable pop songs like the irresistible “Running With The Wolves” — which also lifted the concert to pure magic — but she is also very interesting, when she is vulnerable in a more acoustic setting, and that side of her could have varied the show.

Instead she chose the safe path. It also left her too bound to the microphone — and therefore dancing too little to her own beats, making her performance too static. Because she did dance, especially during her last few songs, and when she did it all went ecstatic and made the crowd wonder, why she was only on stage for 40 minutes. Way too short for such a gorgeous singer. — JG

At the Drive-In — Arena

The archival footage of At the Drive-In from their initial run (which ended in 2000) shows a band that could easily destroy a stage and possibly themselves. Sure enough, within three songs, an amp head has been lost, a speaker has been toppled, and frontman Cedric Bixler is scaling the rubble and making life difficult for whatever poor manager is responsible for repositioning their abused equipment.

It’s what was hoped for, but it’s not sustained at that level. Though watching Bixler swing his mic stand around during “Invalid Litter Dept.” makes me afraid for the safety of the band members around him and anyone within throwing distance of the stage, the mid-set song list slowly devolves from crunchy to spacier tracks that would likely appease any Mars Volta fans that had wandered in.

at the drive-in live roskilde

Bixler’s between song banter is as unpredictable as his physical performance, with comments ranging from the abstract to the inspirational anyone-can-do-this to the reflective. Whether or not it’s a standard line of his, it’s seems genuine when he thanks the crowd for caring about a band that broke up 16 years ago and never played venues of this size.

That’s the note on which they launch into “One Armed Scissor,” the only song they could end their set on. And it sounds way tighter than any of the old videos ever suggested. And all of the energy they started with is there in droves. If the new material that’s been rumored ever surfaces, you can’t blame us for holding it to this standard. — AF

Alex Vargas — Gloria

The ingredients are simple: You take a soulful voice. You take some intriguing beats and some guitar. And then you mix it with raw energy and a utterly talented performer. In the bowl you get Alex Vargas, who made a mind-blowing performance in a totally packed Gloria, leaving hundreds of people disappointed outside.

His voice goes from deep and rootsy to precise falsetto, without any sign of uncertainty whatsoever, and complemented by overwhelming visuals in the dark room of Gloria. These features transformed the room into a feeling of music, of rhythms, of pureness and art. And it lifted the concert to heights that are be revealed on much larger stages in the coming years for the 28-year-old, gifted Danish musician. For sure. — JG

Hinds — Pavilion

Hinds are fresh off their appearance at Glastonbury, and apparently they had a rough time of it. As such, they’re rather happy to be at Roskilde, and the packed Pavilion stage seems just as happy to have them.

The Spanish quartet combine a little surf with a little rockabilly, some very pretty vocal harmonies, and a whole lot of party. There are plenty of surf revival bands out there, but Hinds knows how to sell it, bouncing around with endless energy, posing like a hair metal band, and singing so sweetly it almost seems like a con.

hinds live roskilde

They ended their set by coyly relating how their final song usually prompts stage invasions, before a ready volunteer presented himself and one of the guitarists launched herself into the crowd. If we see any other band this festival with as much sheer joy as Hinds exudes, we’ll be very lucky indeed. — AF

Red Hot Chili Peppers — Orange

One question rose above all in front of the Orange stage this beautiful evening: Would Red Hot Chili Peppers make up for the disaster of their last visit?

It’s fair to say that the headlining concert had a pre-history after Anthony Kiedis & Co made their scandalous bad performance on the same stage nine years ago, leaving the crowd and critics stunned, some even asking the festival to get their money back. And the answer to the question is a clear and profound no.

The reason is a lazy and limp performance, especially from singer Anthony Kiedis. To be fair, it actually seemed that the rest of the band tried to put in an energetic performance. Flea was Flea, a purple-pink-haired dynamo circling around the stage in a suit that made him look like some gear from outer space. And both the permanent John Frusciante-replacement Josh Klinghoffer, guitar, and Chad Smith, drums, seemed to invest themselves in the songs, with  Klinghoffer notably putting some soul in the strings. But it all faded in the light of Kiedis and his Bermuda shorts. He went on and off the stage and looked like someone who did not know why he was on that stage this evening. And somewhere between the sing-alongs “Scar Tissue” and “Californication”, the dull jam-sessions and songs from their latest, quite excellent record The Getaway, the question appeared: Are they really happy being up there on stage?

In their 90 minutes set, the iconic band did not do much to convince that they have a future in such big venues. And when their past with so many strong and even immortal songs plays such a small and weak part in their setup, the answer to all this is even more doubtful — and the performances of “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away” were oddly trivial.

It just seems that Roskilde Festival and Red Hot Chili Peppers are a bad match, and the festival should have no intentions of getting them back on that stage. Ever. — JG

Föllakzoid — Pavilion

The last show of the evening was a journey with three space cadets of trance rock. These guys do live what they do on record, delivering repetitive, looping ten minutes moods, slowly building towards the climax and echoing krautrock-explosions, when they stepped out of the dark shadows on stage. Föllakzoid suited the venue and the after-midnight-atmosphere perfectly, transforming the Pavilion to a late night dance party that could just go on and on and on and on and never stop, before entering space in the dead of night, tired and fortunate. — JG

Roskilde Festival: Day 4

in Blog/Live Reviews by

Girl Band (Pavilion)

There are some bands that are compelling for the racket they make rather than the performance they give, and Girl Band are one such band. The four boys from Dublin play loud, blistery post-punk of questionable aptitude — not a lot of proper chords, and lots of beer bottle slides — with curiously serene expressions on their faces. Their singer has perfected both a throaty yowl and a pose where he grabs hold of the mic stand and pops his hip at a sharp upright angle. Aside from his constant, aggressive tugging at his shirt, it’s all very casual. Even the between-song chatter betrays a friendliness or at least an as-yet undeveloped ability to talk to the audience without breaking character. But it doesn’t matter how chilled out they look when they play or harmless they seem when they talk when there’s a constant thud-thud-thud making people give themselves whiplash while standing in place. — AF

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Joanna Gruesome (Pavilion)

To the casual observer Joanna Gruesome’s lightning-fast set at Pavilion is simply a welcome moment of fun, noisy jangle-pop from an impressively down-to-earth band. But simply counting the people on stage is indication enough that something up: billed as a five piece, today Joanna Gruesome consists of six people. Behind the feedback and sweet melodies there is the story of frontwoman Alanna McArdle’s departure of the ban–citing mental health issues–and the subsequent inclusion of Kate Stonestreet and Roxy Brennan. But other than being a little cramped on the small stage, everyone is working well together. The three vocals work well, melding sweetness with harshness in tandem with the guitars. Later on in the day we learn that this is their second-ever gig as a six-piece, which explains some of the initial awkwardness, but mainly proves the dedication every band member, new and old, to succeeding in spite of adversity. — CC

chelsea wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe (Gloria)

The slightly oppressive darkness of Gloria seems to suit Chelsea Wolfe, adding another surreal texture to her brooding, quasi-doom compositions. Drawing from material from her 2013 album, Pain is Beauty, Wolfe and her band do a good job of making you forget the sun outside. Guitars drone and snarl under her delicate vocals, while the drumming is absolutely impeccable. On songs like “House of Metal” they appear to contract and expand the time of the song, resulting in a hypnotising series of rhythmic waves.

Wolfe herself is on the quiet and reserved side, thanking the audience a couple of times, but otherwise remaining within her aloof persona. Then again, hers is an act that draws precisely on that theatricality. A real standout moment is the song “Iron Moon”, which manages to sound more like PJ Harvey than most recent PJ Harvey records do. It sounds like a lazy analogy, but those vocals are pure Polly Jean, and at any rate, the guitar tone alone is enough to earn Chelsea Wolfe a reputation as a must-see performer. — CC

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Deafheaven (Pavilion)

As the bassline of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”—the runt of the White Album, and possibly the worst thing McCartney has ever done—wafts over from Orange stage, Deafheaven have come to provide some welcome relief. The San Franciscan five-piece has been a mainstay of hip European festivals for the last two years, bridging the gap between black metal and shoegaze revival, and gathering considerable critical praise. Their set at Beta last year confirmed their reputation as an intense and skilled live act.

As they tear through material from Sunbather and Roads to Judah, the band demonstrate themselves to be the perfect act to help push us into the small hours: intensely energetic, uplifting in a gently melancholic sort of way. Slow instrumental tracks like “Irresistible” allow a little Red House Painters-esque reprieve from an otherwise blistering set. Frontman George Clark is in fine form, throwing himself into the crowd, beating his chest and contorting his face into grimaces that fail to disguise his boy-band looks.

But as usual it is the compositions of Kerry McCoy and the effortlessly precise drumming of Daniel Tracy that really stand out. And sure, sometimes the songs do sound quite a lot like Slowdive, but is that really such an awful criticism? — CC

Myrkur (Pavilion)

It’s a tall order for a band to make their live debut at a festival the size of Roskilde, but that is what Amalie Bruun, the woman behind Myrkur, has done. The project is described as black metal, but Bruun has done a good job prettying things up; she has a strong, beautiful soprano and is backed by a chorus of women. It’s in sharp contrast to the machine-like drums and fractal short circuiting of the guitars. Bruun holds her own as a screamer as well, and her dual-microphone stand encased in a tree branch is delightful in its own right.

There are the usual first show glitches, and it’s understandably not the tightest set. Though Paul McCartney is still playing through her set, Pavilion is full. Perhaps the only way to compete with a living legend is to put up a hometown girl backed by a choir of hometown girls. — AF

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Africa Express (Arena)

Africa Express–less a band than a mini-festival in itself–is a chance to catch a lot of bands such as Songhoy Blues and Jupiter and Okwess International who performed earlier in the festival, as well as trying to spot celebrity guests amongst the line-up. Spotting Graham Coxton in the wings messing around with a Telecaster instantly upped the excitement of these two Blur fans.

There are times when the camera pans to Albarn when it really could have stayed focused on other performers or DJs. It’s a subtle reminder of who is considered the priority instead of who is ostensibly the star of the show.

Ultimately, we couldn’t make it through the set, checking out sometime in its fifth hour. It was disappointing, because it was exactly the kind of late night party you want to end a festival with, and as we hear more and more about the artists and songs we missed out on. But if this train rolls through again as an evening with Africa Express, we’ll be at the front of the queue. — AF

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2015

in Photos by

Bob Hund

Photo by Morten Krogh
Photo by Morten Krogh

Communions

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Ratking

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Noel Gallagher

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

The War On Drugs

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Father John Misty

Father John Misty (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

St Vincent

St. Vincent (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Foxygen

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Perfume Genius

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Lust For Youth

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Pallbearer

Pallbearer (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Hot Chip

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Ought

Ought (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Fat White Family

Fat White Family (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Pharmakon

Photo by Morten Krogh
Photo by Morten Krogh

The Tallest Man On Earth

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Run The Jewels

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Kendrick Lamar

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Goat

Goat (photo Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Nils Frahm

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Deafheaven

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Paul McCartney

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Jamie xx

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Africa Express

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2015 – Day 4

in Photos by

Joanna Gruesome

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Nils Frahm

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Deafheaven

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Paul McCartney

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Jamie xx

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Africa Express

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

The Entrepreneurs guide to Roskilde Festival

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The Entrepreneurs at Roskilde Festival

This year’s Roskilde Festival is not a normal one for The Entrepreneurs, an upcoming trio from Copenhagen. They are playing no less than three shows at difference locations during the festival. We caught their blistering set at the Rising stage, and met up with them today to hear what concerts they are most looking forward to at Roskilde.

The Entrepreneurs
The Entrepreneurs live at Roskilde Festival 2015 (The Rising Stage)

Communions – Wednesday, 18.00 | Pavilion

We really like Communions. Coming out of the same scene as Iceage, there is something un-Danish about them, which we appreciate. It’s punk and love, at the same time.

Paul McCartney / Deafheaven – Wednesday, 18.00 | Pavilion

We saw Deafheaven when they played Beta 2300 in Copenhagen last year. It is an amazing band, and if it was not for Paul McCartney, that would be our concert of choice. But we have to see Paul McCartney, we are all fans of The Beatles, and some of McCartney’s songs like The Long Winding Road are among our favorites. Some of us even like what he did with Rihanna, but there is no consensus when it comes to that.

Africa Express, Saturday, 23.00  | Arena

It is simply a fantastic line-up, with artists like Warren Ellis, Damon Albarn and Bo, the guitarist from Mew – and we love Bo, you can write that, both his personality and the way he plays the guitar.

Father John Misty, Thursday, 17.00 | Avalon

He is a true performer, simple as that.

https://youtu.be/bmivOHrkREg

 

Roskilde 2015: Our Most Anticipated Acts

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Roskilde 2015 is gearing up, and as half of the population of Copenhagen migrates towards the festival grounds, it’s time for us to share the acts we are most enthusiastically anticipating.

Wednesday

18:00 – Communions (Pavilion)

19:00 – Bob Hund (Avalon)

19:15 – Ratking (Apollo)

23:00 – The War On Drugs (Arena)

Thursday

17:00 – Father John Misty (Avalon)

18:00 – St Vincent (Arena)

20:00 – Perfume Genius (Pavilion)

23:00 – Pharmakon (Gloria)

00:00 – Ought (Pavilion)

02:00 – Fat White Family (Pavilion)

Friday

16:00 – The Tallest Man On Earth (Arena)

18:00 – Kate Tempest (Apollo)

19:30 – Kendrick Lamar (Orange)

20:00 – Einstürzende Neubauten (Avalon)

https://youtu.be/48nakpWpYTI

21:00 – Run The Jewels (Arena)

22:30 – Disclosure (Orange)

Saturday

15:00 – Girl Band (Pavilion)

17:00 – Joanna Gruesome (Pavilion)

20:30 – Chelsea Wolfe (Gloria)
che

22:30 – Deafheaven (Pavilion)

23.00 – Africa Express (Arena)

00:00 – Myrkur (Pavilion)

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