New Order, Arena, by Tom Spray
Cate Le Bon
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Guardian Alien — Pavilion
We didn’t know exactly what to expect from Guardian Alien as the band is constantly changing. Once the solo project of Greg Fox (of Friday’s Fox Millions Duo), the current incarnation has him paired with guitarist and vocalist Alexandra Drewchin with each of them queuing up tracks from laptops.
Though Guardian Alien is nominally thought of as Fox’s project, Drewchin steals the show. It’s not just that as the guitarist she’s more mobile than the drummer — her vocals have a wacky range between her natural soprano and an evil vocal effect, her guitar playing uses effects that make it look like an optical illusion, and she’s twisting her body in an awe-inspiring way. When she bends over backwards and sings while facing the crowd upside-down it proves to be particular popular. When faced with addressing the crowd through heavily reverbed vocals or heavily distorted vocals, she often opts for the demonically distorted vocals. She’s fucking with us, she wants us to know it, and it’s hilarious.
There’s not much more that can be said about Fox’s drumming that we haven’t already said, but this current combination for Guardian Alien belies a playfulness that contrasts nicely with the weight of the music. It’s a little bit tribal, a little bit demonic, and perhaps the most concrete project he’s working on right now. — AF
Gojira – Arena
After touring their latest album, “Magma”, apparently French metallers Gojira have been on a bit of a break. “We’re really rusty” claims frontman Joe Duplantier, whose facial hair today makes him look remarkably like Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in that shit Robin Hood movie. That’s not a diss, it’s a solid look. Either way, evidently Gojira’s definition of ‘rusty’ is brutally unforgiving. The 1/32-note kick-drum tears through the audience, driving the business-suited gentleman next to me to froth at the mouth with glee. The metal audience at Roskilde will always be a minority, but they definitely get their fill. And if nothing else, they did a solid job of drowning out the sound of Dizzy Miss Lizzy from the Orange Stage. And for that I shall be eternally grateful. – CC
Cate Le Bon — Pavilion
Cate Le Bon plays whimsical pop songs that she delivers with a dry voice (think of “dry” in the same positive light as when it’s used to describe wines). Her vocals live are note-perfect to their recordings, which is precisely what we were hoping for. The only disappointment is that she doesn’t have more small talk between songs, because she speaks with the same delightful lilt as she sings.
Le Bon’s set is mostly comprised of songs from her latest album, Crab Day, which in addition to allowing her to hit the high notes also have her backing band shuffling around instruments. There are times when the bass is too high in the mix, and this drowns out the keyboard in particular, but there is plenty of ramshackle guitar to propel things forward.
And though the aforementioned dryness of Le Bon’s voice is a huge selling point, it is not without emotion. Highlights from the set included “What’s Not Mine” and “Are You With Me Now,” which, for all their forthrightness, leave us wandering back out into the cloudy Saturday in a slightly ruminative state. — AF
New Order — Arena
New Order were always going to be a bit of a wild card, the legacy band that doesn’t want to be a legacy band and doesn’t want to play by the rules. The obvious choice would be for them open their set with a hit, and instead they choose “Singularity” from last year’s album, Music Complete.
While there were some reminders that the band do in fact have a new album, they were forthcoming with singles from throughout their back catalogue, with tracks new and old complemented by stunning short films. The vocals could have been louder, and it was a little difficult to understand Bernard Sumner’s lyrics and his between-song quips. Still, it’s hard to describe the collective euphoria of a packed tent of people singing and dancing along to “Blue Monday” — except for the band themselves, who played to the new wave parody of standing stock still despite the energy of the people in front of them.
After we walked away from the crowd, having been told that “Temptation” was all they had to offer and jabbering about how bands don’t play encores at festivals and anyway New Order had a reputation for not playing encores at all, we heard the cheers erupting from the tent and the opening bass line of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Needless to say, we made our way back to Arena very quickly. Several people told us afterward that they were moved to tears, and at least one of us feels no shame to count herself amongst them. — AF
LCD Soundsystem – Orange
It has been a day of highs and lows. Guardian Alien’s thrilling set in the early afternoon, friends in tears over New Order’s encore, and crucially, having to witness Italy lose to penalties against Germany. But all is not over: I am in the pit at Orange Stage, about to see LCD Soundsystem.
Five years ago the band had bid the world farewell with an already legendary three-hour show in Madison Square Garden. Their return this year was greeted both with enthusiasm and a fair bit of scepticism. After all, why invalidate such a brilliant swansong? But as soon as the band begin to trickle onto the stage to the beat of “Us V Them”, the answer seems self-evident: because it’s simply too fun to stop.
The set itself flawlessly balances material from all periods of the band’s existence, including a personal favourite, the caustic and hilarious “Losing My Edge”. There is a triumphal, assured quality to everything James Murphy and his merry companions do on stage. From this vantage point you can see his expression as he grins and gurns at the band with his back to the audience. They’re all drinking champagne, playing some of the best dance music made in the last twenty years. For the first few songs it looks like they are playing more for each other than anyone out in the fields of Roskilde. But eventually Murphy looks to the audience and professes his surprise and gratitude that so many people have stayed on in spite of the cold and the mud. Suddenly what looked like arrogance begins to resemble more a genuine joy for the music.
Perhaps LCD Soundsystem’s greatest legacy will be their ability to both narrate and enact the pleasure of music as a shared experience. The ability to be both incisive and fun. But to me, they shall forever more be remembered as the band that gave birth to the first ever Here Today editorial dance party. – CC
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Photos by Alexander Brandel. Text by Oliver Brandel
Placed at the old facilities of B&W. A Modern waste land in central Copenhagen. Just 50 meters
from the old metal foundry, we find Copenhell. The biggest metal/rock in Denmark( and probably
the only one worth mentioning.) The festival saw the day of light in 2010, and have now grown
quite big over the last 5 years.
Before arrival I heard that the tickets for thursday and friday was sold out. The expectations were
high. After entering the gate to Copenhell I was mildly disappointed. So much space, so few
guests. I stood in the food area, where every kitchen was given a cliché name, like “Hell Burger”
and “Devil’s Thai Corner”. From there I could spot all 3 scenes at the Copenhell. Helviti, Hades and
Pandæmonium. No music, just people walking around, laying down on the hill, that surrounds and
the area, and enjoying the sun, just like the rest of Copenhagen.
All in all, the surroundings didn’t really impress and I thought that this was going to be a very long
festival. Yeah sure, you had all the vital stuff a true metal festival needs. Viking land, pop-up tattoo
shop, patch shops, beers and pork barbecue. But all that couldn’t counter the the fact that it felt
deserted and some how half finished.
Suddenly, the warmth of a thousand suns (It felt that way) blasted through the area. Copenhell
used a very clever technique to tell the audience, that a new band was entering a stage. BIG A**
FIREBALLS. Now we were talking!
I was soon to realize the real nature of Copenhell.
The strength of the festival wasn’t this half-finished apocalyptic waste land. It was amazing bands,
amazing audience and an amazing vibe of love, not just for the music, but for all fellow metal
heads gathered at the end of world, or at least Copenhagen.
Solbrud went on stage and gave the audience what they asked for. Uncompromised black metal,
just as it should be. With the debut album “Jærtegn”, Solbrud really made something special. An
album that made all the critics bow down to the new heroes of black metal.
The frontman Ole Luk screamed like he was possessed by Satan himself. The quartet from
Denmark showed everybody why the hype was so big and very real. For the first time in my life, I
actually enjoyed black metal. An demonstration of brutal force and big talents.
Big mushrooms on the stage, funny smelling tobacco in the air. Primus was about to enter Helviti.
With Les Claypool in front, slapping the bass to pieces, Primus took us to their psychedelic world.
the cartoonish and wierd music that makes the band who they are, doesn’t really work at a venue
like this. Slow beats and a lot of funny noises didn’t make the crowd go crazy. They tried, they
really did. I don’t blame the band, I blame the bookers. It was not a bad concert at all, it just
seemed misplaced, especially when 80% of crowd only know the for their contribution to the South
The Norwegian band Turbonegro is mostly known for their parody of rock n roll and Pride worthy
outfits. It was stupid and funny, just like you want Turbonegro to be. Who dosen’t love Hank von
Helvete, the chubby frontman in hot pants and face paint. They gave everything they had and the
audience enjoyed every second of the musical comedy on stage. Always funny to watch. If you
don’t like music, just bring your best earplugs and have a laugh!
The best concert at Copenhell. Period. No one stood a chance. No friendly chit-chat with fans, no
funny comment, just pure evil death and technique. The French band Gojira dominated the stage
and spanked the ears of the audience. Hypnotizing death mixed with the sounds of djent makes a
perfect cocktail, just ask your bartender. Especially the L’Enfant Sauvage gives a perfect picture of
what modern death should sound like. There is nothing more to say. The came, they saw, the
Probably the most evil and satanic band on the bill this year. The devil frontman, Mortuus, screams
out “are you fucking with us tonight?!”. The responds was silence. People just stood there, liked
they were nailed to the pavement. I’ve got the feeling, that this concert was going to fall directly to
the ground. Sure it was last day and people were drunk and tired, but still, there was almost no
response for the 2/3 parts of the concert. At last! Marduk succeeded with getting the crowd going,
but it wasn’t enough to save the concert, although they play quite well.
The pretty boys from Great Britain went on stage and first pit was filled with women, waiting for
their One Direction of metal. Mixing metal with electronic music from Sonar festival, is not best
combination, but the ladies didn’t care, because the band is cute. It was quite obvious to see, that
a lot of the crowd only bought their ticket to see AA, and didn’t come for the “real” metal. But what
can you say. Their music is catchy and the hardcore fans loved it. No great technique or lyrics, but
a hell of energy and presence. It was actually not as bad, as I would have thought.
Wasn’t this supposed to be a metal festival? Sure, all the people at Copenhell knows “I Belive In A
Thing Called Love” and can probably sing the most of it, but aren’t these guy like 60 years old by
now? It is clear from the get-go that this is going to be one hell of a tough crowd as the audience is
filled with conservative metal heads. But the guys from The Darkness actually did it! With their 70s
rock and roll attitude, funny performance and well mastered instrument, it was possible to conquer
the audience. They gave a good show, but it was possible to tell that the band was a bit road-worn
after the last 15 years. Especially when singer, Justin Hawkins, couldn’t hit his signature high
notes. Very funny, but not amazing.