The first day of Roskilde Festival is always a bit strange. Assuming your festival experience begins with the music and not the week before, it’s a lot of getting settled. Getting wristbands, finding a camping spot, the various food stalls are finding their rhythm.
The train out is crowded, no surprise there. A group of four girls who looks to be about twenty take the two free spaces in my cluster of four with two standing next to them rather than find free seats away from their friends. I find this unwillingness to split up strange given they are going to spend four days in close quarters and massive amounts of predicted mud. Based on the number of sugary alcoholic drinks they consume on the half-hour train ride, I also assume they’ll come to tearful blows at some point as well.
I’ve given myself an hour and 45 minutes from when I arrive at Roskilde Station to collect my wristband, drop off my bag, and get to the first band I want to see, Warpaint. Apparently I am bad at math. I queue for an hour to get my wristband, not something I’ve had to do in previous years, but maybe my timing was better then. A man who has been left to watch all of his friends’ camping gear shouts, “You’ve stolen my life!” if you want an idea of the mood.
Certain precautions seen elsewhere in Europe have been taken in Roskilde as well, again not surprising. You would hope that a festival attended by 75,000 people would worry about security, but Danes think of themselves as immune to these things and it makes people chatter. I just notice that more entry points are closed off and I’ve got to walk a longer way around to get where I need to be. I don’t have time to check in my bag, which holds my raincoat (to safeguard against the impending meteorological apocalypse) and my laptop. Instead I queue again to get onto the festival grounds so I can rush to see Warpaint.
But first I need to be patted down, my bag needs to be searched, both ineffectively since I’ve had New York security at gigs look more carefully for bottled water for decades at this point. Security seems more affronted by how much I have in my bag rather than what’s in it.
“You should travel lighter, it would be easier,” the man checking my bag informs me, and I know the look I give him is not a kind one.
It’s a small miracle that I only miss the first five minutes of Warpaint’s set. More than anything I want to see Stella Mozgawa, the drummer who’s played on a bunch of records I’ve loved in the last few years. There’s a surety to her movements that is both reassuring and slightly threatening, like she could either pull the world together and split it apart depending on her mood on a given day.
Warpaint as a whole are great. They’re high energy and really trying to work the crowd. I’d always thought of their music as leaning more towards goth — not in a Peter Murphy sense, but with dense guitars and vocal harmonies that are both sweet and a little sinister. I’m a little surprised when they sell themselves as a danceable band, but I buy it. The programming, the beats, it all works, and though I’m not sure into the early on-set hedonism physically hitting me from ever angle, I am into this energy.
I wonder if part of this early sense of abandon has to do with the constant whispers of “enjoy it while you can.” It’s supposed to rain. All anyone will talk about is how it’s going to rain. I’ve received text messages from family back home who have read articles — presumably in English — about how it’s going to rain and we’ll all be washed away. Not yet though. Now the weather is chilly, windy, and dust is blowing over shoes and into eyes.
There is a large crowd at Pavilion for Kevin Morby, unsurprising since he sold out his show at Jazzhouse last year. The setting is wildly different, as are the acoustics, but he definitely rises to the occasion. His set, mostly taken from his new album, City Music, is noisier than his recordings.
Probably most noteworthy is that he lets his guitarist, Meg Duffy, steal his thunder. Think George Harrison on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” — that’s tough to compete with in your own backing band. The crowd is happy; they are clapping along to all different songs, dancing when dancing doesn’t really seem appropriate. Someone is blowing bubbles and it’s weirdly endearing. The band seem happy too and. despite the cold fog blowing off the stage, the atmosphere is very warm.
The mass of people walking away from the stage provide human barriers to all of the dust blowing around, but there’s still no escaping it. It gets in your mouth without you realizing it and dries you out despite the cool weather. But we’ve escaped the first day without mud.
Swans – To Be Kind
After thirteen studio albums, Swans have not diluted their power or talent one bit. But somehow, since their rekindling in 2010, they have become more popular. To Be Kind is just as provocative and challenging as Swans’ early material, with half-an-hour-long songs like “Bring the Sun/Touissant Overture” and off-kilter oddities like “A Little God in My Hand”, but the sound and instrumentation has matured, becomings both less distorted and somehow more dissonant. As we witnessed in November, Swans are still a brutally loud and relentless live band, a constant provocation to audience and peers, and much loved because of it. – CC
MØ – NoMythologies To Follow
Karen Marie Ørsted is my hero. My braid swinging, ex-punk rocker, stage diving hero. I remember the first time I listened to one of MØ’s tracks, loading up Spotify and finding myself blasting ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Let The Youth Go Mad’ for hours on end and wondering how one individual could contain quite so much effortless cool. She was the Danish alternative pop princess I’d been waiting for, ready to join a royal court populated by Björk, Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey. I waited for No Mythologies To Follow for over a year, as singles like ‘Glass’ and ‘XXX 88’ trickled out from MØ HQ. I was delighted to find that the debut album did not disappoint, as Ørsted shared something that was exciting, thematic, beautiful and most importantly, sounds fucking fantastic. From the first time I heard it, I knew that No Mythologies… was my album of the year. – HT
How To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?
Tom Krell’s third album What Is This Heart touches on lighter subjects than his previous two albums Total Loss (2012) and Love Remains (2010). Not one to shy away from touching personal matters, the album starts off with ‘2 Years On (Shame Dream)’ and leads you softly into a journey that expands an extremely vivid personal dream about his family. ‘Face Again’ the stand out single along with ‘Repeat Pleasure’ work in his signature indie R&B coupled with stunning falsetto which leave you questioning how these tracks aren’t further up the charts. WITH takes a turn with grand orchestral ‘Pour Cyril’ before leading into cute power pop ballads ‘Very Best Friend’ and ‘Precious Love’ proving key changes are making a come back! – TS
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
The most immediately striking thing about Angel Olsen is her voice, a voice that could easily croon country hits but instead lopes over scruffy, dampened guitars. Her voice alone should earn her and Burn Your Fire for No Witness a place in hearts and best-of lists, but what really makes Burn Your Fire… so special is that it’s wholly intuitive. Olsen’s second full length album is her first with a full band, and it’s the album her debut hinted she was capable of making. She hasn’t abandoned minimalist solo tracks, but she balances them against full-band arrangements. And it’s not just the range of her voice that’s striking but it’s incredible malleability; that it’s raw yet gentle, that it jumps from disaffected to emotive from one line to another, that it rasps and twangs with equal affect. And while she’s not too proud to pay homage to the ‘90s on “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High and Wild,” these frazzled moments give way easily to stark folk ballads. The album comes down so slowly that by the time you’ve reached the hushed conclusion of “Windows” there’s a sense of catharsis. Burn Your Fire… doesn’t just leave you feeling satisfied, but completed. – AF
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Somewhere in Tennessee there is apparently an ex-boyfriend of Sharon Van Etten who, during their relationship, kept telling her that her music was terrible. There is a lesson to be learned here.
“Are We There” is one of those records that grows on you. There is something extremely vulnerable and honest about Sharon Van Etten’s song writing and performance on stage. Her voice has depth which is completed by the unique vocal harmonies with Heather Woods Broderick. As Sharon Van Etten told The New York Times when she released her previous album “Tramp”, she does not really consider them harmonies: “I just hear two notes at once — I just hear two melodies.” – MK
6) East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
7) Iceage – Plowing Into The Fields Of Love
8) Scott Walker and SunnO))) – Soused
9) Tune-yards – Nikki Nack
10) The War On Drugs – Lost In A Dream
11) Future Islands – Singles
12) Sleep Party People – Floating
13) FKA Twigs – LP1
14) Eagulls – Eagulls
15) St. Vincent – St. Vincent
16) Alt-J – This Is All Yours
17) Wild Beasts – Present Tense
18) Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
19) Ice Cream Cathedral – Sudden Anatomy
20) Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
21) Get Your Gun – The Worrying Kind
22) Spoon – They Want My Soul
23) Warpaint – Warpaint
24) Shiny Darkly – Little Earth
25) Beyoncé – Beyoncé
It has been a busy year for Here Today. During 2014 our photographers and journalists covered Roskilde Festival, Northside Festival, Trailerpark Festival, Wasn’t Born To Follow (a mini festival by Smash! Bang! Pow!), as well as over 50 live shows with artists like St. Vincent, Swans, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, The War On Drugs, Mac Demarco, Communions, First Hate, Lower, and many more.
We have put together a selection of the best photos of the year 2014. It has not been easy. Some stood out, though, like the picture below of Perfect Pussy; a picture that captures the raw energy of the show while still being very carefully composed and a perfect example of Henry Cartier Bresson’s concept of the decisive moment.
Perfect Pussy | Wasn´t Born To Follow, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Another amazing photo is the one of Damon Albarn (by Tom Spray) spitting water at the audience at Roskilde Festival. The crowd, the big empty space and the solitary figure (Damon) at the edge of the stage in a defiant stance; it is a picture with allegorical qualities, one that can make you mind wander.
Damon Albarn | Roskilde Festival, Arena Stage (Photo by Tom Spray)
Then there is Morten Aagaard Krogh‘s photograph of the The Rolling Stones (at the top of this post) from when the band played the legendary Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival, a stage that has come to symbolize the festival. The Orange Stage was originally made for The Rolling Stones’s 1976 Summer tour, but in 1978 it was sold to Roskilde Festival. For the first time since 1976 The Rolling Stones where reunited with their old stage. It was also the first time they played Roskilde Festival. James Hjertholm’s photo of Hexis’s leadsinger Filip Andersen is also very powerful and last, but not least, there is a whole gallery of photos (at the bottom of the page) that are equally great.
Hexis | Roskilde Festival, Rising Stage (Photo by James Hjertholm)
See the gallery with Here Today’s photos of the year 2014 below.
All images are copyright of the individual photographers.
Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)