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LIVE REVIEW: Roskilde Festival 2019 Day 3, 05.07.2019

in Live Reviews by
wu-tang clan live at roskilde festival

As the sun shines and gives us respite from a day of chill and damp, Aldous Harding has set out to unnerve us. She plays beautiful folk music with a throwback 60s vibe, accompanied by a band of mellow players. She mostly sings in an unearthly soprano but has the vocal dexterity to sell the flat alto beloved of Nico fans. She also spends the majority of the set pulling faces and menacing her audience. From her seat with her acoustic guitar, she sneers and leers, glowering from behind her microphone with a hard, accusing look.

Aldous Harding live at Roskilde Festival 2019

Her band are all in on the joke, staring down or blankly ahead when not playing. They’re waiting for the audience to catch up with the joke, which some do with immediate laughter. It is the most engaging set by a person sitting down playing an acoustic guitar that we’ve seen in a long time. You could argue that Aldous’s performance methods detract from the beauty of her music, but quite plainly there are enough earnest singer-songwriters out there. There will never be enough weird.

Since our encounter with Sonic Boom at Alice a month or so ago we have been eagerly awaiting seeing his former Spacemen 3 bandmate Jason Pierce with his second legendary band (seems almost unfair to be allowed more than one), Spiritualized. Where Boom was minimalist Pierce is much more a maximalist, arriving on stage with a fivepiece backing band and a gospel trio on backup vocals. What emerges from this is a cathartic wall of space rock incorporating everything from Stooges-era garage to gospel and psychedelia. The noise is undercut by the fragile figure of Pierce himself, sat down hunched over his guitar, his foot nervously trembling over a wah wah pedal. It’s a captivating combination that distills 50 years of rock history into a plaintive cry that makes grown men openly sniffle as they headbang.

Spiritualized live at Roskilde Festival

We’ve had mixed success getting into Gloria this year, so we queue up early for Yves Tumor. It proves to be a good strategy; the room is packed for the artist and his band. The set is more straightforward rock than expected, with shades of glam rock (or properly eccentric hair metal) squelching out a lot of the electronics he is more commonly associated with. There’s something very Velvet Goldmine about the performance, and through the dark lighting on the stage we can see singer Sean Bowie hopping and thrashing about, his garment flowing around him. Better lighting might give us more of the effect compared to the silhouettes, but from our perch on the bleachers we can see bodies bobbing in time, sucking energy from this short set. As a festival set, it’s good, but it makes us want to see a performance that represents the full range of Yves Tumor’s catalogue.

yves tumor live at Roskilde Festival 2019

After the warmth and darkness of Gloria, the chill in the air and the brightness of the sky on the walk to Pavilion for black midi are little disorienting. black midi are a slightly mysterious, incredibly young four-piece from the UK. Until very recently they were just a name you’d hear about from the odd music journo at the Quietus, with absolutely no music online. Today at the Pavilion stage the reason for the hype becomes immediately obvious, with a blistering set of dexterity and musical exuberance. The band themselves, young as they are, are looking considerably more serious, possibly annoyed at the mixing of the vocals, but by the end, thanks to an impromptu call-and-response with the audience, they are grinning away and feel more at one with the calculated silliness that accompanies their technical proficiency. Think Don Caballero mixed with a touch of Les Claypool and you begin to get the idea. And with their debut album so recently released, it seems inevitable that black midi are going to go far indeed.

black midi live at Roskilde festival 2019

A quick run back to Orange Stage gets us to the Wu Tang Clan, a name that promises so much, possibly too much. After the puzzling introduction of the trailer for the RZA’s new movie, it’s immediately apparent that the sound is going to be absolutely dogshit for the rest of this set. The vocals are often inaudible, the samples mixed so oddly that half the time all you can hear is kick and snare. But the songs themselves are undeniable, anything from 36 Chambers is going to sweep the floor even if the sound quality is worse than an iPhone stuck down a toilet. But not wanting to have our musical memories tainted too much, we move on.

Underworld live at Roskilde Festival 2019

We move from one set of gristled veterans to another sort. Underworld are blessed with a markedly better sound at the Arena stage, which they use to its fullest to deliver their euphoric, rather campy style of house music. The tent is jam packed, lasers are flying all over the place, and the kick is powerful enough let you forget that the two people producing all this look like retired accountants. You can’t help but feel the pressure for them to end with their monument of a song, “Born Slippy”, which they milk for all its worth and deliver the almost definitional festival experience.

The energy of one dance band into another dance pop act will keep you riding high. It’s on this wave that we float over to Robyn’s headline slot on the Orange Stage. The Swedish pop queen is an old hand at festival performances, and she knows she could come out at full force with hits. She doesn’t do this. Robyn knows how to pace a show. It’s a slow build that includes a dancer and a costume change before she blasts into full Euro pop mode. She hits her stride on “Between the Lines,” shimmying and strutting and playing off of her backing dancer. The sound isn’t quite right and her vocals are too quiet, but the audience is into it, they’re warmed up, they’re in a peak festival state of mind.

We’ve been hearing “Dancing On My Own” all day. It’s come from various sound systems, out of phones, from passing groups just singing it. In many ways, this feels like the moment the entire festival is building up to. So when the opening chords of the song stream out, the crowd predictably goes nuts. Robyn silences her band and has the audience sing back the first chorus; she looks overwhelmed by the results. 

It’s kind of Robyn to bring this song out before the 2am mark, but a sign of her artistry that she doesn’t save her biggest hit for last, but rather where it fits best. Because even though the crowd thins at a faster rate when it’s done, the emotion is heightened for those who remain. Two girls shriek with joy for “Call Your Girlfriend,” and amorous couples willfully misunderstand the lyrics. But she brings us down slowly, so that when the last band member has left the stage it feels like a natural conclusion; of course we must now all drift on our own ways.

LIVE REVIEW: NorthSide Festival Day 2, 14.06.2014

in Blog/Live Reviews by

Day two of NorthSide began for us with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and specifically with frontman Anton Newcombe remarking to the still-assembling audience, “Party over here, fuck you over there.” Watching them play their thick, jangly guitar pop under the intense sun might be the best way to begin day, unless you have a hangover, in which case it probably just hurts and dehydrates you further. But without such impediments, there is a  certain joy and fascination in deciphering any one of the four guitar parts, and watching their delightfully smug tambourine player who is clearly having a better time than anyone at the festival. Newcombe is a bit combatively, stopping in the middle of a song to berate his bandmates about tunings and passive aggressively moving his mic stand to the back of the stage saying, “I’ll just sing from back here if you can’t get that feedback under control.” It’s either hilarious or obnoxious depending on your mood.

Brian Jones Town Massacre (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Brian Jonestown Massacre (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

After the curmudgeonly  the youth exuberance of Baby in Vain is refreshing. Guitarists Lola Hammerich and Andrea Thusen Johansen are lunging around the stage producing sounds that are a pleasing amalgam of sludge and crunch. Their fried vocals come together in twisted, cheeky harmonies. Baby in Vain would be at home on Sub Pop’s late ‘80s/early ‘90s roster. Since we can’t have that, can someone get them on a tour with Mudhoney quick?

Baby In Vain (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Baby In Vain (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

On a predominantly rock line-up, there’s always some question of how a crowd will react to a different genre. In the case of A$AP Rocky, the audience collectively lose their shit. Some of that may have to do with the fact that nearly as much time is spent hyping the crowd as rapping, including repeated directives for them to shout “A-SAP!” It wears thin, which is a shame, because as a performer Rocky is anything but boring. He jogs across the stage as he sings “Fuckin’ Problems” and “Purple Kisses,” pays homage to A$AP Ferg and recreates the mix tape feeling by playing samples of “Jump Around” and “C.R.E.A.M.” He repeatedly emphasizes that it’s not a concert, it’s a party, encouraging mosh pits, crowd surfing, and women to “show your titties if you’re over age.” The crowd only complies on the first two points, making securities job a little harder with the no crowd-surfing rule. At the beginning of the set, however, Rocky did emerge from the barricade before the crowd swinging a bra over his head, so he’s knows what he’s going for.

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A$AP Rocky (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

From the outset it’s clear that Mew’s set is going to be an emotional highlight of the weekend. They begin by bringing bassist Johan Wohlert to the front of the stage to announce that he has rejoined the band after leaving 2006. And while the announcement makes jaws drop, it’s a best-of setlist including and “Am I Wry? No” that has people falling on each other in big, swaying hugs. They play a new song as well, though they don’t name it, and remind the crowd that a new record is coming. By the time their final song, “Comforting Sounds” builds to a dramatic close, men and women alike are seen wiping tears from their eyes.

Mew (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Mew (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

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Mew (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

If Mew was the emotional outpouring, then Röyksopp and Robyn is a blissed out catharsis. It’s immediately apparent that this is the wrong place to be if you’re protective of your personal space or object to having beer spilled on you. But if you can stay on your feet and avoid getting elbowed in the face by the people who only know how to dance by pumping their fists in the air, Röyksopp’s beats and airy, surreal synths help you transcend the mental fogginess settling in, while the crowd physically carries you somewhere else.

Röyksopp & Robyn (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Röyksopp & Robyn (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It’s 40 minutes into the set when Robyn takes her turn, bouncing across the stage in a pair of platform sneakers. She twists around in yogic poses, and turns her back to imitate a make-out session during “Dance on My Own” while the crowd sings the chorus on her behalf. The trio mark a change into a joint set with Röyksopp donning glittery balaclavas and Robyn a puffy jacket that looks like armor. The crowd is thinning, but those that remain are as frenzied as ever. So is Robyn, who continues to contort herself in an array of dance moves that defy description. The set ends just past the two hour mark with “Do It Again” and confetti cannons. An elated, exhausted crowd makes its way out of the festival grounds, trailing confetti behind them.

View the gallery from Northside Festival 2014 

VIDEO: Robyn & Röyksopp – “Sayit”

in Blog/New Music by

Robyn & Röyksopp have shared a new video for their single “Sayit” via H&M’s YouTube channel from their mini-album Do It Again, released May 26th on Cherrytree/Interscope. The video was directed by Sandberg & Timonen and Kacper Kasprzyk and features Robyn & Röyksopp in the Do It Again outfits along with a dog mouthing the lyrics to the track.

Watch the video for “Sayit” below:

VIDEO: Robyn & Röyksopp – “Do It Again”

in Blog/New Music by

Robyn and Röyksopp have shared a video for their track “Do It Again” from their mini-album which is set for release May 25th. The lyric video for the track is directed by Graham Smith.

Watch the video for “Do It Again” below:

Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, Paris, France

in Photos by

Photos by Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

AlunaGeorge

AlunaGeorge, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

DIIV

DIIV, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Japandroids

Japandroids, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

John Talabot

John Talabot, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Sebastian Tellier

Sebastian Tellier, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

M83

M83, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Ratking

Ratking, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Tallest Man On Earth, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Walkmen

The Walkmen

Robyn

Robyn, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Fuck Buttons

Fuck Buttons, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Animal Collective

Animal Collective, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Animal Collective, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Isaac Delusion

Isaac Delusion, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Cloud Nothings, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Purity Ring

Purity Ring, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Death Grips

Death Grips, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Death Grips, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Grizzly Bear, Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Photo by Tom Spray)

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