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Wu-Tang Clan

LIVE REVIEW: Roskilde Festival 2019 Day 3, 05.07.2019

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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.

ARTICLE: Who will headline Roskilde Festival 2014?

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Its almost like talking about Christmas on December 26th but still people are starting to speculate to who will be headlining Roskilde Festival 2014 which is set to take place between 28th June to 6th July. Although its early in the day certain patterns emerge with festivals and heres our list as to who we think is likely to grace the hallowed Orange Stage in 2014.

Arcade Fire

Why?: Three flawless albums and another just around the corner with the release of their forth studio album Reflektor on October 29th. They’re set to go on a worldwide tour in support of Reflektor starting off down under at Big Day Out Festival, come summer they’ll hit the shores of Europe expecting to play some of the largest festivals this fine continent has to offer, what other festival is bigger in Scandinavia than Roskilde Festival?

Last played the festival: 2007 (The year of the flood)

Likelihood of them appearing: Highly

Trentemøller

Why?: Roskilde always try give a diverse mixture of Danish and International headliners and across the rest of the bill for that matter. Hes about to release new album Lost September 23rd. Trentemøller has already announced shows across Europe and North America with his popularity only growing since his last headline show of Roskilde in 2009.

Last played the festival: 2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Almost certain

Rage Against The Machine

Why?: Roskilde’s organisers are friendly people and each year they ask who the public want to see play their festival, each year RATM top that list (or somewhere close), we appreciate that they’re a tough band to book since they only play shows when it suits them. Next July will mark 3 years since they last played live together, however, theres every chance 2014 could be that year with them strongly rumoured to play LA Rising in August, Roskilde and a string of other festival dates in the summer of 2014 could be a nice warm up.

Last played the festival: 1996

Likelihood of them appearing: Slim, but theres every hope

Daft Punk

Why?: After dropping Random Access Memory this year we all expected them to play at least a few festival slots with strong rumours of them appearing at Primavera Sound, Glastonbury and even Roskilde. This unfortunately never happened. And while appearances from them have been minimal this year they made a short appearance at the MTV VMA’s last week and this could work as a snowball effect to have them announce concerts and festivals “around the world” next year.

Last played the festival: 1997

Likelihood of them appearing: Doubtful

Jay-Z or Kanye West (or both together)

Why?: The always active Brooklyn/Chicago rappers both have recently released their own albums Magna Carta Holy Grail/Yeezus (respectively) this year, common trend with these two is that they hit the European circuit a year or so after dropping an album. However both have just had their first children, this could deter them, however they’re entrepreneurs and know the value of touring.

Last played the festival: 2008/2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Fairly good

Eminem

Why?: He just played Reading/Leeds festivals last weekend and he’s about to release Marshall Mathers LP 2, I’m sure he’ll want to play a handful of European shows in support of the album. He’s isn’t as relevant as he was back in 1999 and sure he’s cleaned up his act, but he’s still got a back catalogue of hits worthy of any festival.

Last played the festival: Never

Likelihood of them appearing: Miracles can happen

Mew

Why?: They’re about to release their forth album and again another Danish band worthy of being a headliner. Although what goes against them is that they played Orange stage back in 2012, that wasn’t so long ago but they surely can’t miss out on booking them again.

Last played the festival: 2012

Likelihood of them appearing: Likely….but…..

Blur

Why?: With rumours of new material and them playing most other large festivals across Europe in recent years, 2014 could be the year they make it back to Roskilde Festival, after all Damon Albarn has a long lasting relationship with the festival having played recently with Gorillaz and three times previously with Blur. They performed at SmukFest in 2012 and this year could finally be the year they roll out the hits once more to a 60,000 strong crowd rejoicing to epic sing-a-longs to one of Brit pops finest bands.

Last played the festival: 2003

Likelihood of them appearing: Good chance

Vampire Weekend

Why?: Its sometimes hard to constitute who a headliner is at Roskilde, although they most likely won’t be billed as a headliner theres a good chance if they book Vampire Weekend they’ll make an appearance on the Orange Stage in a similar slot to what The National played at this years festival. The band released their third album Modern Vampires Of The City earlier this year to critical acclaim, their first two albums secured them headlining spots at several high profile festivals across the globe and have now proved themselves worthy headliners. What better music to hear on a Saturday evening as the sun is setting over the Orange Stage than Vampire Weekend?

Last played the festival: 2010

Likelihood of them appearing: High

Wu-Tang Clan

Why?: The Staten Island rap collective played many high profile festivals worldwide this year including their set at Vangaard Festival in Copenhagen. That hyped set has left fans purring for more and will most likely be one of the top 5 bands the fans vote to headline the festival in 2014, after all it will mark 10 years since they last played Roskilde!

Last played the festival: 2004

Likelihood of them appearing: High!

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