Friday, July 13, 2012

Roskilde Festival, Denmark July 5-8th, 2012

I have been coming to the Roskilde Festival every year since 1999. It is sort of a part of life to go this music and cultural festival each year and hang out with my friends and see a lot of music over 4 days. The festival site opens 6 days before the real festival even begins and the young kids gather for what must be the world’s largest drinking party! When I arrived this year on the Saturday to set up our tents in preparation for the real festival, the kids were rolling in with their tents, sleeping bags, some clothes and 3-10 cases of beer. About 200 bands will play over the next 8 days. 

This year the festival had introduced more trash recycling and even a greater focus on being “green” but it was hard to see in the camping area, as it seemed nearly as trashed as usual.  As you might know, Roskilde Festival is non-profit so all the money from the festival goes to great causes like helping the Palestine people, people in Africa, and a large focus this year is to help out Asylum seekers in Denmark and putting greater focus on the tough time they have in this country, living in these like prison camps in different places in Denmark. Although, they are feed, get healthcare, the children are not allowed to go to school, and the conditions are not that nice for them. 

They have a Game City, Dream City (build your own festival), Poor City (too see how Asylum seekers are forced to live), Sonic Space, where people can meet members of some of the bands and music business, Roskilde Rising, a new initiative to give more press to up and coming Nordic bands playing the festival. They have this amazing Green City also that is really cool, with a solar telephone charging tree, bicycles you can ride and charge your phone, compost window farming, etc… They even have some “green” camps to set an example of how one can camp and respect the environment more. I really liked the Roskilde Retro area where they have a lot of posters and pictures dating back to the beginning of the festival in 1971. Up against the Wall was a potent stand against the Israeli occupation and showing just how huge a wall this is and how the world should not stand for this behaviour from any country. 

Thursday July 5th

13:45 I am at the main train station waiting for the train towards Roskilde. Quite a few people waiting as well. Met some really cool people from Sweden, even gave me a beer, which I really needed as it was warm out and I was carrying all my stuff for camping out for the next 4 days. I don’t know that many of the bands this year but will go explore..

Django Django
15:30 I am finally at the camp and all unpacked and having a beer with Dorte, Jesper, Thomas and Bo. The weather is great. It is like 23C and mostly cloudy so we are not getting roasted! 

17:15 Django Django from the UK were the first band on at the Pavilion stage. They play some sort of very rhythmic psychedelic pop music. All the members play different tambourines, percussion instruments and there is often some effects on the voice and some cool psychedelic keyboards but no solos at all. It is all about the long psychedelic catchy grooves. A big crowd and people were into it. Pretty cool but I don’t think I would like their records much. The band all wore matching outfits.

Set List: Introduction, Hail Bop, Firewater, Waveforms, Zumm Zumm, Skies Over Cairo, Default, Storm

The Cure
18:15 I went to see what Kraftklub was all about and this was not my thing at all. These East German guys were also all dressed the same and played some semi-aggressive indie pop music.  So I headed over to check out Analogisk. This is a strange Danish group with live violin, tuba, full brass section, a little guitar now and then. It did not really catch me so I headed off to see if I could find the international beer tent and it was gone. NO where to be found. I did not see anyone I knew so I went to hang out to see what the CURE were all about, since I had never heard them before.

21:30 The CURE had excellent lights and still had that gothic look, all in black, some make up. The lead singer had a great voice and reminded me a lot of Bono from U2 but the music was not for me at all. I did not like it. I headed off to see the old Reggae band, Abyssinians but came across the Cosmpol scene and they had this hip hop guy, Blitz the Ambassador. He is from Ghana but lives in NYC. The part of the show I saw had very little rap and they played this cool Afrobeat-African music stuff and did short covers of Fela Kuti, Osibisa and Miriam Makeba. That was a real surprise. 


23:00 Wow… the Abyssinians were totally amazing. This concert blew me away. They started off with a long instrumental jam with great keyboard and guitar solos before the three old guys came out. Man, they sing awesome and still sound great. This was the real deal, true Rastafari music. Amazing.. wow..  I headed back to the camp but I was told I should have checked out Perfume Genius at Gloria as they were really cool…

Day 2 

8:30 It was insanely loud out here in the P114 camping area. These young kids just never sleep. It is pouring down rain at the moment but not cold out. 

10:00 It is still pouring down rain but you can see there are some breaks in the clouds. I will head in for some breakfast in an hour..

12:00 I had the amazing brunch at the Thai Llani place. Eggs, sausage, bread, fruit, coffee or tea, muffin all for 80kr… Good deal..

13 Weedeater really came out and delivered the goods. Fucking heavy intense stuff. Their version of Gimmie Back my Bullets by Lynryd Skynryd was pretty cool. I enjoyed the show a lot and hung out with Mathias from Devolution magazine. Saw many others I knew as well. 

Set List: God Luck and Good Speed, Wizard Fight, For Evans Sake, Hammerhandle, Mancoon, Turkey Warlock, Gimme Back My Bullets, Weed Monkey

15:00 Les Freres Smith were a pretty damn cool Afrobeat band from France. They even did a long Fela Kuti track. They were mostly instrumental and did not have that much singing. It was a really good show and I saw it all.
Les Freres Smith

16:00 I next ran off to see some of what Dalglish was. It was one guy from Berlin doing spaced out ambient stuff in the Gloria. They have some pretty cool lights but he was just standing there with his laptop doing, who knows what. It could have all been pre-programmed and he was just checking his facebook and we would not have known. Trippy at times. I only stayed for 25mins. I ran headed back over to the Odeon and was really surprised that Red Fang was still playing. I only heard the last song but damn, they rocked. I later heard that the sound went out for 20mins so that is why they were still on. Crowd dug them. 

19:00 I heard a bit of Baroness but I did not like them much. I thought they would have a bigger crowd. I went off to see Danyel Waro, a guy from a small island nation near Madagascar. This was pretty cool stuff. Danyel was a white guy playing a shaker table and some really passionate vocals. He was backed by three black guys on different percussion instruments so it was all about the vocals and rhythm. He is very passionate!

Hank3 was next and this was Hank William’s son. This was a fucking awesome concert. He had a killer band with banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass, drums and he played guitar and sang. It was pure country at times, a bit punky, some rock and great lyrics. The band did a lot of solos which was great. The huge surprise was the end of the show when everyone left except the drummer and Hank and he strapped on an electric guitar, some leather gear, a mask and cranked it up! They had some samples from the mixer running through the PA and it was a major heavy metal riff fest for the next 15 mins. The banjo player came out also after one song and played a Flying V guitar. Really cool ending and the best show so far today! 

Danyel Waro
Set List: Straight to Hell, Gettin' Drunk and Fallin' Down, Little Bit of Smoke, Whole lot of Wine, Thrown Out of the Bar, D Ray White, Hollar, The Devil Is My Friend, 3 Shades of Black, Dick in Dixie, Ghost to a Ghost, Rebel Within, Country Heroes, Six Pack of Beer 
Encore: Make A Fall (Attention Deficit Domination Song, Medley: Cattle Callin 
(3 Bar Ranch Song)

22:00 I next checked out the CULT. I saw them last summer at the Sweden Rock festival and they were really good but the new record was not out yet. They fucking rocked! Great sound and a really cool song selection. The new songs were really good and hard rocking. Ian sounded great but the crowd was pretty lame and so he also was not so happy with the audience who were a bit dead. The sound was really good but could have been much louder. I filmed one of the best songs of the show. 

Set List: Lil' Devil, Honey From a Knife, Rain, Lucifer, The Phoenix, Fire Woman, The Wolf, Wild Flower, Rise, For the Animals, She Sells Sanctuary, Love Removal Machine

01:00 Jack White from White Strips put on a really cool show. He had an all female band with violin, pedal steel, upright bass, drums, keyboards and himself on guitar and vocals. I did not know any of his music really even though he did do a lot of White Stripes and several Raconteurs songs. Damn cool show and he played a lot of songs. 

Set List: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, Missing Pieces, Sixteen Saltines. Love Interruption, Hotel Yorba, Top Yourself, Hypocritical Kiss, I Guess I Should Go to Sleep, Take Me With You When You Go, I'm Slowly Turning Into You, Blue Blood Blues, Steady, As She Goes, Weep Themselves to Sleep, We're Going to Be Friends, Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy, Ball and Biscuit
Jack White

Freedom At 21, Doorbell, You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl), Carolina Drama, Seven Nation Army

I headed back to the camp but I really wanted to check out Jupiter and Okwess International and Crowbar but they were not on for another 1½ hrs at 2:30 and 2:45 in the morning. It had been a long day since Weedeater! I did catch a couple of songs at the Arena by Gentleman and the Revolution and they had a massive crowd and happen to be playing some decent reggae when I was there but I think he is usually doing hip hop dancehall stuff. 

9:56 I just got back from taking a shower and had to take a sleeping pill to pass out. I have never heard the camping area so insanely loud as last night. IT was quiet when I came back from Jack White as all the people were streaming in to see the Danish act, Malk de Kolin. But when they came back they all cranked up their stereos as loud as possible and partied until 7 this morning. Fucking hell. I am too old for this shit…
12:42 I am sitting and having the brunch again. This is a great way to start the day off. It is totally overcast but not raining and a nice temperature. I am still wearing shorts all day and night. Great weather actually. 

13:45 I am sitting outside the Cosmpol waiting to hear the next band at 14, Owiny Sigoma Band. This guy who was on before was fucking terrible. A guy called Niklas, what crap shit is this and he had this massive crowd. Really crap pop rap shit…. 

15:00 Wow.. Owiny Sigoma Band was amazing. This was some of the coolest stuff this year. A slightly psychedelic Kenyan band. IT was too old guys from Kenya backed by some guys from the UK, but the keyboard player played really cool stuff and quite psychedelic at times. They even did a CAN cover, how cool is that! Joseph plays the eight-stringed lyre, while the other older guy is a master drummer. Really awesome tranced out stuff. I have to look up their album.

17:00 Next up was a really cool act from Finland. Kimmo Pohjonen Samuli Kosminen and Proton String Quartet. It was three violin players, cello, electronics guy and Kimmo on accordion. It was really hard to describe the music and atmosphere that they created but I was pretty blown away… I really got sucked into the music. Kimmo was amazing on accordion. I had never heard the instrument played like that and he also did some singing as well. Great concert. I had planned to go see Alison Krauss but was totally taken away by this show. 

19:45 I saw the first few songs of the Low Anthem and I did not really get into it. It was some really mellow laid back country folk music, a bit too mellow. They were cool enough but it just did not grab me. I was heading back over to the Gloria to check out Kriget and caught the last part of the Roots concert on the Orange and was totally surprised they really rocked out with a cool medley of Sweet Child O’mine, I’m the Man, Who do you love and finally a few chords of the Immigrant song by Led Zeppelin.  I caught most of the Swedish hardcore band, Refused set and although the first few songs did not get me I slowly got in to it and they were really cool. The singer came out and said that when they first got back together he was really worried about how their political anti-establishment lyrics would sound 14 yrs later but he was surprised that they were more relevant than ever, as the world was even more fucked up now. 

Kriget was damn cool until those damn rappers came out and ruined the show. I really liked what this bass, drum and sax trio did. Very cool experimental heavy, electronic groove music. It really worked and was pretty psychedelic at times but those fucking rappers.. ugh.. I left after that… 

00:00 I got lucky and happened to get into the front section for Bruce Springsteen. I was not even sure I was going to check him out but I figured this would be the only time ever for me. Anyway, he had a great 16 piece band with great musicians, including the very short Nils Lofgren, Little Steven, Max Weinburg, Clarence Clemons, etc…  I was really surprised at the energy he had and also how political all his new songs were. They had really excellent and potent lyrics with songs like Death to my home town, My city of Ruins, We take care of our Own, etc…  About every third songs was played as if it was the encore and everyone just going for it. Quite wild. It was about a bit short of 3hr show. He really gives it all and he was down in the audience many times with the fans. Pretty impressive even if I would not listen to his records at home. 

No Surrender, Badlands, Two Hearts, We Take Care Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Spirit in the Night, The E Street Shuffle (with The Roots), Jack of All Trades, Trapped, Because the Night, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn. Waitin' on a Sunny Day, The River, The Rising, Out in the Street, Land of Hope and Dreams 
We Are Alive, Born in the U.S.A., Born to Run, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Twist and Shout 

I really wanted to see two more late night bands again on this night. Dead Skeltons were playing at 2:45 and a band from Morocco at 2:30…… I just cannot get enough sleep out in these camping areas to make to see these bands so I am heading back to try to sleep.

Bruce "the boss" Springsteen

Day 4

8:00 That is it.. I have really had it now after not sleeping at all because of that damn techno hip hop shit that just stopped now.. I really wanted to go kill those people…. Can we not have some rules that no music for at least 4 hrs a day, Roskilde??? I am packing up and going home. I really wanted to see my friends play at 12-15 and also Dr. John but I need some sleep. It sucks to miss the last day. I will never camp in P again. 

So who were the best bands this year? Abyssinians, Hank3, Owiny Sigoma Band, and Kimmo Pohjonen Samuli Kosminen and Proton String Quartet. 

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