*** (3 stars out of 6): July 8 at Arena, Roskilde Festival
An 'A' for effort, to be sure, but not the party the crowd was hoping for (Photo: Scanpix / Torben Christensen)
St Albans-based indie rock boys Friendly Fires did what they could do keep the audience entertained at Roskilde Festival's Arena stage with a decent show early yesterday evening. Roskilde Festival's arrangers had eloquently described the eclectic Brits as being one of the party acts to watch out for at the event. Their slot at the Arena stage early on Sunday evening before the concluding concerts of the festival suggested that they were supposed to have gotten the wind-up party proceedings going with a bang. It therefore came as something of a disappointment when this didn't really happen, despite the best efforts on the band's part.
The lively 2009 Mercury Prize nominees came on a little later than expected owing to technical difficulties at the start of a show, which meant that giving a good performance was going to be a challenge from the start. Lead singer Ed Macfarlane was clearly not amused by the sound problems, apologising curtly before getting things started.
Playing to a mixed crowd with the sun dipping gently to the west of Arena, Friendly Fires rolled out a steady stream of funk-filled, dance-punk tinged tunes for the first half an hour or so of their show in an effort to set things in motion.
One hour in and the recognisable quick-tempo sounds of signature track 'Paris' thundered across the reasonably-filled Arena stage, much to the delight of the crowd, who up until this point were more cool and casual than anything else. And whilst Friendly Fires have been known to be quite the party starters, with their cunning concoction of disco and post-punk brilliance, it would be unfair to say that they were at their best yesterday. Led by their hard-working frontman Macfarlane, the band did try to redeem what was ultimately a lukewarm party from the start, by churning out tracks such as 'Pull Me Back to Earth' which helped patch things up, if only momentarily. Two post-curtain call tracks and the party that never really got started was over, with the bitter tinge of disappointment spread across Roskilde's Arena scene. Friendly Fires will surely fire again, but it just wasn't their day yesterday.
Paul Kalkbrenner brings Berlin vibe to Roskilde's Arena
July 8, 2012 - 10:43
**** (4 out 6 stars); July 7 at Arena, Roskilde Festival
Late-night Arena fans had plenty to dance to thanks to the German DJ (Photo: Scanpix / Malte Christiansen)
Highly respected Berlin DJ Paul Kalkbrenner did exactly what was expected of him last night at an intense, sweaty show at Roskilde's Arena stage. As one of few DJ acts headlining the festival, Kalkbrenner was heralded as a performance to look forward to by Roskilde's electronic music fans.
Starting slowly but surely, the Berlin frontman looked secure and content, clinging to a heavy bass line that was to dominate the better part of his charged show. In his native city, the German capital and in many ways today's Mecca of electronic music, Kalkbrenner is known for more of a minimalist approach to his shows. Last night at Arena however, it was a different story, with a more crowd-friendly setlist dominated by driven, heavily-percussive tunes
Many of Roskilde's attendees relate Kalkbrenner to his appearance in the cult film Berlin Calling, in which he stars as himself in a riveting tale about his past life. His most popular songs are those off the Berlin Calling soundtrack and it is these that most of Roskilde's guests came to see last night. Kalkbrenner followed a driven and thudding, if not a tad repetitive line, before slowly and cautiously releasing several songs off Berlin Calling. The monstrous 'Altes Kamuffel' went down well towards the end of the show, whilst other tracks such as the distinctive, down-tempo 'Sky and Sand' provided minor, if not crucial, breaks for the audience to catch their breath.
It is difficult not to be objective about what turned out to be quite the show yesterday, though one did feel that the tonality of the concert was at many times repetitive and heavy. This notwithstanding, Kalkbrenner's show ticked off all the checkboxes a late Saturday night show should. It was pulsating, intense and chaotic at the best of times, driven and emotional at others, and on the whole a very decent performance. Today's Arena action features a highly anticipated show from English band Friendly Fires before pop darling Santigold checks in as the main act of the evening, making a return to Roskilde after an epic showing back in 2008.
The Roots unleash their very best at epic Orange show
July 7, 2012 - 21:01
****** (6 out of 6 stars); July 7 at Orange, Roskilde Festival
More than the sum of their parts: The Roots performed as a cohesive unit throughout the Orange set (Photo: Scanpix / Torben Christensen)
Philadelphia legends The Roots have, for a very long time, been a band that haven't quite reaped the share of mainstream success that they deserve. After a stunning show on the Orange stage this evening, it is hard to understand why this band isn't playing on every single sound system in Roskilde Festival's camping areas. That said, after their stunning performance, few would disagree that The Roots are surely one of the best bands to grace Roskilde's main stage so far.
Led by their charismatic and indefatigable frontman Tariq 'Black Thought' Trotter, The Roots were stunning from the word go, unleashing popular crowd-friendly numbers such as 'The Fire' as early as thirteen minutes into the show. An emotional dedication to the recently departed Adam Yauch of New York hip-hop pioneers Beastie Boys and a cheeky live version of popular anthem 'Jungle Boogie' were but a pair of highlights in the preliminary stages of the show, an opening that showcased the depth and breadth of the band, as percussive sequences and tuba solos ruptured across the expansive Orange scene.
Midway through the proceedings, and the pits at the front of Orange were steadily filling with energetic fans as The Roots churned out one passionate number after another, gelling together admirably in a way that the focus was never solely on main man Tariq, or on the extremely energised tuba player, or on either of the impeccable drummers, including group co-founder Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, but rather on the chemistry between the band as an entirety.
This connectivity was reinforced towards the end of the show, as The Roots showed off their dexterity, lashing out a seismic cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song' interspersed between probably the best take on Guns N' Roses' evergreen monster 'Sweet Child o' Mine' and a daring snatch at a brief, albeit ingenious rock-infused, take on R&B legend Curtis Mayfield's 'Move on Up'. Post curtain call tracks featured the well-known tune 'The Seed (2.0)' alongside a series of enigmatic covers that paved the way for a stage exit that well and truly reflected the best of the Orange scene's best show of Roskilde 2012 so far. The Roots are what hip-hop used to be way back when: shun the pathetic self-referential, revenge-tinged bollocks du jour and swap it for purely eclectic, instrument-rich genius at its most refined. This is what The Roots conjured up at the Orange stage on Saturday. Best show at Roskilde so far in this reviewer's book? Probably, maybe almost certainly, yeah!
The Cure disappoint with poor showing at the Orange Stage
July 6, 2012 - 01:20
*** (3 out of 6 stars); July 5 at Orange Stage, Roskilde Festival
Robert Smith and co got off to a lackluster start but redeemed things a bit as the show went on (Photo: Scanpix / Torkil Adsersen)
Fans of alternative rock band The Cure were treated to a taste of things to come from Roskilde Festival's Orange Stage in the second show of the day at the revered venue. The Cure came on after local boys Kellermensch had opened the proceedings on Roskilde's largest scene earlier in the evening and were performing at about the same time as the other big name of the day, American rapper Wiz Khalifa. Despite being one of the most hyped names prior to the commencement of the festival, The Cure seemed off-pace and unenthusiastic, particularly at the start of their show.
Following what can only be described as an extremely laid-back approach, The Cure looked more like a band that should have closed the festival on Sunday, a far-cry short of living up to the legendary reputation they have gathered over the years. Lead singer Robert Smith looked ragged, devoid of passion and well past his prime though his astonishing lack of energy was masked somewhat by his distinctive, far-reaching voice, which admittedly did get better and more poignant over the course of the performance. Several charged guitar and piano solos midway through the show also did their bit to punctuate what was otherwise a rather flat and insipid appearance by the overlords of Gothic rock, a genre that they helped cultivate.
Despite the shakiest of starts, things did get better as the sky dimmed and darkness fell on the Orange Stage as the audience livened up to more popular numbers from the band's 30-year discography, such as the jolly 'Friday I'm In Love' and the reverberating 'Lovesong.' Smith added more weight to his vocals and interacted a lot more with an audience that had turned up in the thousands, armed to the teeth with flags, banners and smiles aplenty. Ultimately, the show will go down in this reviewer's book as being at the best a lukewarm performance that will surely be eclipsed by many other shows at this year's Roskilde Festival.
Tomorrow's Orange Stage action features performances from American indie band The Gossip and popular Danish rappers Malk De Koijn amongst others. Clearly the best of Roskilde Festival 2012 is yet to come.
***** (5 out of 6 stars); July 6 at Cosmopol, Roskilde Festival
Bomba Estereo, shown here performing in their native Columbia, delivered the best performance to date at the Cosmopol stage (Photo: www.lamardemusicas.com)
Bogota darlings Bomba Estéreo set Roskilde Festival's Cosmopol stage alight with an impeccable performance that topped their 2009 debut at the event. Following in the footsteps of a blockbuster show by cumbia kings Celso Piña earlier in the evening, Bomba Estéreo delivered a performance that may well go down as one of the best of Roskilde 2012. As something of a recognised commodity at the festival following their 2009 debut, Bomba Estéreo were up against the feat of topping their first Roskilde to date, a task they carried out with some dexterity.
I turned up to the show expecting the Colombian pioneers of 'electro vacilón' (electro tropical) to deliver a show of epic proportions, following a credible performance by warm-up DJs who did their bit to stir up the crowd with a scintillating mix of thumping electro beats riddled with pronounced rock guitar interjections. Although the DJ performance was impressive, it was left comparatively insignificant in the wake of a fiery appearance by Bomba Estéreo. My expectations were neither too high nor too exaggerated, as the Colombians were solid from the word 'go', playing a concert that was both clinical and extremely entertaining all in one.
Following in the footsteps of performers such as The Streets, Bomba Estéreo managed, midway through their show, to get the audience to crouch low and light their lighters in a show of solidarity, a feat that is seldom achieved at Roskilde, less so at such an early point in the proceedings. Lead singer Lilliana Saumet was on fire as she rapped fiercely and evocatively to the live acoustic backings of songs such as 'Fuego' and the driven 'La boquilla.' Backed by one of the most impressive light shows I've seen at Roskilde so far, Bomba Estéreo hardly put a foot wrong and clearly demonstrated why they are one of Colombia's top acts of the moment.
Roskilde's Cosmopol stage has rarely seen a show of such proportions. It is hard to see how any of the acts playing there over the coming days can top what Bomba Estéreo did earlier tonight, though this reviewer remains ready to be pleasantly surprised.
**** (4 stars out of 6), July 6 at Cosmopol, Roskilde Festival
The Mexican 'Rebelde del acordion' Piña added another chapter in Cosmopol's rich history of showcasing world music (PR photo)
Cumbia enthusiasts Celso Piña conjured up a performance of credible stature at Roskilde's Cosmopol stage earlier this evening. The Monterrey-based cumbia dons produced a show that was both impassioned and seasoned at the intimate venue.
I turned up to the show expecting quite the show from the revered 'Rebelde del acordion' and received just that; an epic, if not dedicated, performance from one of Mexico's frontline musicians.
Though Cosmopol wasn't as crowded as it could have been, Piña rattled the airwaves from the onset of their show, reeling in many an innocent bystander to a show of elevated proportions. Weaving through their brief setlist, Piña hardly put a foot wrong during the concert, playing with passion and Latin flair in what will go down as one of the most crowd-oriented shows of Roskilde 2012 so far.
Cosmopol has been praised by many festival goers over numerous years for it's unique atmosphere and quaint acoustics, both of which have contributed to providing quite the ideal platform for world music year after year. Celso Piña and co used the comfy surroundings to their benefit, churning out recognised numbers such as the invigorating 'Cumbia Sobre El Rio' to a party- driven crowd that gave their all from start to finish.
And whilst Celso Piña without a doubt put on one of the best shows at Cosmopol thus far, one would ultimately be compelled to critique the slight repetitiveness of their driven cambia-based, percussive show. Similarly, a poor showing owing to the fact that few Roskilde guests have ever heard of the act, contributed to forming a concert that was ultimately extremely entertaining but rough around the edges. This notwithstanding, those present at the fourth show of the day seemed to have had a rollicking time, as they danced practically nonstop from start to finish. Celso Piña were the ideal warm-up to Cosmopol's later show, Colombian 'Electro Vacilón' pioneers Bomba Estereo, who delivered a show of monstrous proportions. Saturday's Cosmopol action features South African electronic maestros Spoek Mathambo and Congolese street musicians Staff Bendabilili.
As festival-goers wait for the big show to begin, they’re keeping busy in typical Roskilde fashion
There's plenty to do for Roskilde faithful waiting for the music begin (All photos: Scanpix)
It’s late June and the summer looms temptingly over the horizon. The air around the town of Roskilde is heavy with the whiff of excitement, expectation and electricity as thousands of people make their way in small packs towards the annual Roskilde Festival, one of northern Europe’s largest cultural gatherings – so big, in fact, that it temporarily transforms the town into Denmark’s fifth-largest city.
For many, Roskilde Festival has become something of an annual pilgrimage, whilst for others, quite a few of whom are still in their teens, Roskilde 2012 will be the first time they participate in the phenomenon that they’ve heard so much about. Old and young, goth or dread, the festival seems to attract them all for ten crazy days of carnival-like escapades, catharsis and music.
At its simplest, the Roskilde Festival is a music festival that manages to attract numerous revered acts from Denmark and the rest of the world, year after year. Scratch beneath the surface though, and you’ll find that there’s a lot more to Roskilde than music alone. This is a festival of numerous facets and features that amalgamate to form the totality of the overall experience, which is no doubt different for each individual at the event.
“I claim this land in the spirit of Woodstock, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza. Let the mud games begin!” (Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk)
One of the most talked about topics at the festival is the camping area and the multi-functional purpose it serves as both a temporary shelter and wild party location. Finding a desirable place to pitch camp, and fighting off others with the same intentions, is one of the most important phases of the Roskilde Festival experience – something that’s easier said than done.
To their great credit, the festival organisers have tried to ensure that the race for a camp is as fair as possible by implementing an official opening time before which it is virtually impossible to enter the festival grounds. The new entry system, introduced only last year, has done away with the long-standing tradition of fence-breaking practiced by many festival-goers in previous years. All the same, finding a suitable camp location remains a race, if not a lottery, which is won by only the fittest and slyest ‘runners’, whose job it is to seek out desired camp locations for the rest of those attending with them.
Once the camps have been pitched, those not involved in the queuing-up and camp race usually turn up with the bulky baggage and camp gear and proceed to turn what was once a field with green grass into a makeshift humble abode. Many camps are equipped with bare necessities such as a pavilion tent and a sound system of some sort, whilst others are more elaborate, featuring everything from inflated sex dolls to mini jacuzzis and crates of pricey champagne.
“Remember Jeeves, a gentleman never drinks more than one drink before luncheon.” (Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk)
The Copenhagen Post team rolled up at Roskilde and have been partying it up at different locations around the camping grounds since Saturday. We also had a chat with a handful of the many guests in an effort to discover what they like best about the festival. Read on for the best of the action so far:
Euro 2012 final: Sunday night at the big screen by the park Skate in West Skater or not, the park Skate near the West end of the festival camping grounds has traditionally been one of the coolest zones to hang out. Footy fans got treated to Spain’s 4-0 drubbing of Italy in the Euro 2012 final, courtesy of a large screen placed high above the half-pipes and bowls.
Fancy Dress Flashmob: Monday afternoon, Camping Area K by the lake Imagine donning your best suit, downing several Carlsbergs and then taking a dip, with the coolest sophistication and calmness, in Roskilde’s swimming lake. The scene was no figment of the imagination on Monday afternoon, as one smartly-clad partisan after another shattered conformity and took to the water in tuxedos and ballroom dresses. The action even featured an orchestra who strummed out Mozart and Beethoven to complete the atmosphere. No instruments were harmed during the process. There were plenty of ruined tuxedos though.
Raske Penge: Sunday evening at Pavilion Junior Raske Penge, Eaggerstun and Shaka Loveless are three artists whose music is getting the most airplay in the camping areas. Nørrebro-based Raske Penge gave Roskilde’s guests an enticing preview of what to expect from the rest of the festival with a formidable performance at Pavilion Junior, an arena that has played host to numerous Danish bands in their infancy. With Pavilion Junior crammed to the brim on Monday, it’s safe to say Raske Penge could easily have filled one of Roskilde’s bigger stages.
Dream City: Camping Area P Dream City is a sustainable approach to camping at the Roskilde Festival, allowing campers to design themselves a home of sorts with their neighbouring camps. Coupled with a wellness centre and a strict tidy-up after yourself policy, Dream City seems to be a very fun, user-driven initiative, which, combined with the other themed camping areas (Swim City, Poor City, Art City, Green City, Street City and Game City), makes for an interesting additional component to this year’s event.
And what are the guests saying about their Roskilde warm-up?
“You can't beat the atmosphere” (Dion, Perth, 2nd Roskilde)
“I think it's really well organised. I like the organisation” (Aina, Barcelona, 1st Roskilde)
“Why, the Orange Feeling, What Else?” (Anya, Moscow, 3rd Roskilde )
“I love the amazing atmosphere” (Emilie, Nyborg, 4th Roskilde)
Hope everyone enjoys their festival. Remember, The Copenhagen Post will also be on hand during the Roskilde Festival, and we’ll be using Twitter and Facebook to give concert tips and general information. In addition to our official account @cphpost, you can follow news editor Justin Cremer at @justinCPH, multi-talented intern journalist Mike Hofman at @MikeHofman_ and music writer Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk at @MuTuk5z.