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LIVE REVIEW: Roskilde Festival 2018 Day 3, 06.07.2018

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David Byrne live at Roskilde Festival 2018

With the sun back in full force, Day 3 of Roskilde Festival 2018 was one for indoor sets. Klub Rå and Gloria provided us with much needed respite as well as moving electronic beats. We were ready for rock music outdoors by the time the sun started going down. Here’s how we paced our day:

The Lost Girls
Jenny Hval’s side project with long time collaborator Håvard Volden is an amalgam of the experimental for the sake of being experimental and pop songs that sound like they’ve been skimmed out of her catalogue. There are weird vocal loops and Norwegian spoken word, but then there’s Volden’s guitar helping him produce the kind of tracks that indie rock bands wish they could dream up for their adventurous electronica crossover albums. It’s also clear that this is a way for Hval to play with vocals and not necessarily follow strict song structures, which it’s only become apparent she does follow in comparison.

Having seen Hval, and by extension, Volden, perform together on several occasions under her name, seeing them positioned across a table from each other without props or costumes or backup dancers is a totally different experience. It feels like getting insight into something not fully fledged, something we a privileged few have been allowed to hear. — AF

Laurel Halo live at Roskilde Festival 2018

Laurel Halo
Laurel Halo’s impressionistic electronic music is not for everyone. She challenges the listener with oddly structured songs and unsettling vocals devoid of traditional pop hooks. Her effected spoken-word breakdowns are long enough to make you wonder when the payoff will come, and then… it doesn’t. But if you’re adventurous enough to succumb and allow yourself to be drawn into her world, it’s full of distorted beauty, musical precision and good old club music bliss. Halo’s set started with her unique avant-pop musings but quickly developed into a dance-floor friendly techno set combining Latin percussion grooves, FM pads, vocal samples as well as her live keyboard playing. Ultimately, Halo’s originality seemed lost on the crowd inside Gloria, but those who were eager to dance were certainly not disappointed. — MT

Bisse live at Roskilde Festival 2018

Bisse
Danish art rocker, Bisse (née Thorbjørn Radisch Bredkjær), whose catapulting stardom has as much to do with his eccentricity as his prolific recorded output (8 albums since 2015), brought an electric energy to his performance on the Avalon stage. Flanked by two incredibly tight drummers up front while his guitarist and keyboard player shredded behind him, Bisse sauntered around the stage with the same confidence as Mick Jagger or Freddie Mercury. Through multiple costume changes and an elaborate scenography with a mirrored telephone booth style box in the centre, his playful attitude and outward sexuality blended with the raw power of his vocals to provide an engrossing experience. Bisse honours his Danish heritage by singing in his native language instead of crossing over to the more commercial English. Yet, he is poised to be one of the defining artists of our generation based entirely on the strength of artistic contributions. — MT

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live at Roskilde Festival 2018

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
There is no ceremony when Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds arrive on the Orange Stage, there is just the deafening wail of “Jesus Alone.” It’s an instant command of the situation, demand for attention, an establishment of dominance.

So the contrast of Cave climbing the rail to the crowd, allowing them to grasp his hands and paw at him, is immediate. He’ll end up in this place, on and off, for what amounts to half the set. It’s physically giving himself (and on some occasions, his microphone) over to people, whether making himself vulnerable as on the heartbreaking piano arrangement for “Magneto,” or simply trusting them as when he conducts their handclaps for “The Weeping Song.”

There is also sheer ferocity in the band on the whole: Warren Ellis is shockingly cruel to his violin on “From Her to Eternity,” making an unholy noise in the process; someone is forever having to deal with Cave looming over him at the piano; and “Jubilee Street” built to an explosive end that many performers would have found difficult to continue after.

Ultimately, the Nick Cave song everyone knows is “Into My Arms,” and Cave takes this opportunity to orchestrate a sing along. It brings levity to it everything, and is admittedly the least weird song for there to be a sing along to. It was a beautiful moment amongst the murder ballads. — AF

David Byrne live at Roskilde Festival 2018

David Byrne
David Byrne appears on stage sitting behind a long table, holding a plastic model of a human brain. This is the most boring thing to happen all set, because singing to a plastic model of a human brain pales in comparison to an 11-piece backing band, bare footed in matching gray suits, jumping around like an outsider artist marching band.

Byrne’s set is built around songs that focus on the barely-there silver linings of his back catalogue and desperate search for positivity in his new album, American Utopia, best evidenced by the perfect pairing of “Everybody’s Coming to My House” segueing into “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody).” He and his band are perfectly choreographed from the subtle hand flicks of his backing singers to arranged warrior poses full formation drum lines.

And if the collectivist rising evades you, if the lyrics to “Slippery People” don’t resonate as they should, he closes out the set with a  cover of Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.” I don’t know how a song about police brutality in the United States translates for a European audience, but it felt very important to a transplanted American. It’s tying everything up with the heaviest moment, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this performance is an absolute joy.

Words by Mikael Tobias and Amanda Farah. Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh.

LIVE REVIEW: David Byrne & St. Vincent, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 22.08.13

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Before the show, the tranquil sound of birds chirping fill the hall while the audience find their seats. This is a seated concert, which makes up for the bad acoustics during The Smashing Pumpkins concert at the same venue last month. Moments before the band enter the stage, Byrne asks us ”not to experience the show with a gadget in front of your face.”
A somewhat didactic attitude, but nevertheless a very refreshing comment towards the iPhone addicts.

The concert opens with ‘Who’ – also the opening track on David Byrne & St. Vincent’s critically acclaimed album ‘Love This Giant’. A beautiful song that not only tell us that the sound tonight is impeccable, but also showcases St. Vincent’s attributes in the duo’s work: her magnificent vocals and distorted guitar. Her tip-toe dancing back and forth on the stage adds to the charm of her appearance. An appearance that fuses perfectly with Byrne’s. He wears a microphone headset, which allows him to move around on stage. And move around he sure does! From metronome-like moving back-and-forth with his upper body to physical antics, reminiscent of a mime artist. It’s equally comical and elegantly, and a fun thing to behold.

As showcased on the album, the band consists of many brass players and they do an excellent job in highlighting the concert’s masterful showmanship. The musicians twist around in choreographic movements in symbiosis with Byrne and St. Vincent. And it only makes the atmosphere more vibrant and the audience love it. People loudly show their appreciation and some can’t constrain themselves and start a little dance gathering to the left of the stage.

The interaction between David Byrne and St. Vincent is mesmerizing; their voices blend into one cohesive force on ‘Like Humans Do’ and their moves reach another high when they start attacking a theremin during ‘Northern Lights’ and sending the instrument’s extra-terrestrial sounds into the ecstastic crowd, During their solo material the two protagonists show their relevance on today’s artrock scene. On ‘Strange Overtones’ Byrne plays a rhythm guitar so funky it would make Nile Rodgers envious and St. Vincent’s ‘Marrow’ directs all attention towards her intense presence and performance.

Tellingly one of the final songs is the Talking Heads classic ‘Burning Down the House’ which is exactly what happens. This is the moment where the entire hall erupts in standing ovation and everybody’s on their feet cheering. A great finale on this Thursday evening where David Byrne & St. Vincent conquered Copenhagen with a fantastic show, on the top of their form and musically superior!

VIEW THE LIVE PHOTOS HERE

David Byrne & St. Vincent | Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 22.08.2013

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Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

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