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Roskilde Festival: Final Impressions

 
By on Friday, 23rd July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

By now if you’ve been following the action at TGTF over the last 2 weeks, you’ve read my recollections of this year’s Roskilde Festival. I’m happy to say that for some minor blisters on my feet from wearing wellies for 4 days, I came away from my first massive musical festival experience pretty much unscathed, and I now have some incredible, incredible memories I know that won’t be topped for years to come.

Should you consider going to Roskilde next year, here are some of my personal observations:

The good:
Friendly and incredibly helpful security. Everyone who works at Roskilde Festival has a smile. And except for the Biffy Clyro set, I never once felt really worried for my safety. Security at the Miike Snow set easily took care of one guy who fainted backward and fell – hard – on the bare ground. Know that you are being well looked after.

Being offered water at the front of the stages, as well as water being available nearly everywhere to keep everyone hydrated.

Most punters were eager to be helpful even if their English wasn’t that great. Considering how nervous I was about the language barrier, most were happy to meet me halfway with my not-so-good Danish. Know the two basic phrases: ‘tak’ – thank you, and ‘undskyld’ – excuse me.

The bad:
Pricey food and drinks. It didn’t make much difference to me as I didn’t eat a lot to begin with because of the heat but yeah, £3 for a Coke is tough for me to get used to. Tip: bring your own food (you couldn’t bring your own drinks into the festival this year). And while you’re packing the essentials, bring lots of wet wipes and plasters.

Waiting a long time to use the toilets. (Granted, what facilities I did use never ran out of toilet paper. I was surprised. I never once had to bring out the rolls I had scuttled away in my backpack.)

Watching girls and guys too impatient to use the toilets (hope I don’t need to spell this out for you). If you have a delicate and/or particularly sharp nose, do what some girls I saw did – bring a handkerchief to cover your olfactory senses.

Moshers with no regard for anyone else (see note above about the Biffy Clyro set) and people who deliberately picked fights in the pits. Let’s all be friends, eh?

The ugly:
Mates ganging up together to push other people out the way to get desired real estate at the front of shows. This is not cool, no matter if it’s at a festival or a regular gig, no matter the country. I don’t care how much you want to be close to LCD Soundsystem, you should respect your fellow gig-goers.

People who thought I was weird for travelling from America for this festival. If I got a pound every time someone said to me ‘you’re weird’ or ‘you’re crazy’ for coming this distance…

Header photo by Jens Dige/Rockphoto

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 4 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 22nd July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Sunday. Day 4 of Roskilde. We’re in the homestretch now. It feels like I’ve been running a marathon for the last 3 days (complete with perspiration) and there is some relief that it will be over. But that is tempered largely by the thought that indeed, the festival will soon be over, which means my return to America. A sad thought.

I decide on a lie-in, a relaxing breakfast (as opposed to the semi-frantic protein bulk-up brekky of the day before), not traipsing over to the festival until mid-afternoon. The first act I see is Korean rhythmic group Dulsori, a swirling dervish of drum and stringed instrument players, both men and women. I feel terrible that they are in their traditional garb; they must be boiling. But the power and effort they use to put on a show seems unaffected by the freakishly hot temperatures. I didn’t think they would go down well with a Danish audience, but their performance concludes with loud cheers at Odeon.

Pavilion is close by to Odeon and quite near to what became my go-to food stall for sheer overall food size. (Slight hilarity that most of the food I ate at Roskilde came from a place called ‘Dixie Burger’ that served Southern-American style hamburgers.) And Pavilion is hosting the highly-touted Californian band Local Natives. Maybe it is because the festival is drawing to a close or I have seen so many great acts already, but I am not impressed by the band from Los Angeles. My ears perk up when I hear the riffs of ‘Flake’, a song by American surfer dude Jack Johnson that came out when I was in uni. I hang out with the tired festival-goers in the shade and watch Johnson from the Orange Stage jumbotrons. He was another act that I thought would get ‘lost in translation’ at Roskilde, but his low-key, ambling guitar pop seems to fit everyone here to a T.

After the cut: this review of day 4 continued with more photos.

Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 4 Roundup

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 21st July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

A helpful hint about music festivals: try as you may to see every single band you’ve ticked off the set schedule weeks before you’ve even set foot on the property, you’re going to miss some, because you’re either 1) hungry, 2) thirsty, 3) drunk or 4) just plain tired. While I admit to succumbing to #2 (it was hot, much hotter than it normally is in Denmark) and #4 (the only explanation for Day 2’s epic oversleep), all things considered I was in pretty good shape for Saturday, especially after getting to bed at a decent hour the night before.

I already knew Saturday at Roskilde was going to be a long day. So this time I checked, double-checked, and triple-checked that the alarm clock on my mobile was properly set before going to bed the night before. After filling up on a massive breakfast of several soft-boiled eggs, too many slices of cold cuts that tasted suspiciously (in a good way) of liverwurst and several cups of strong tea, I headed back to the festival. First up on the agenda was the Rumour Said Fire, a Copenhagen indie rock band officially ‘sanctioned’ by the festival organisers themselves by virtue of being the one band chosen to be official guest bloggers for the festival. Think Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons. Pretty good stuff.

They were followed by another local favourite duo, the Asteroids Galaxy Tour and their touring band. The only difference: the Asteroids Galaxy Tour are now world-famous and travel all over the globe. Even you, dear reader, are likely to have heard of them. The festival organisers are quick to point out that this is a band that started out on the emerging artists line-up of Pavilion Junior years ago and now are a global success. Blonde lead singer Mette Lindberg was radiant in hot pink and gold sequins, belting out the duo’s starry-eyed, soulful, psychedelic hits like ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine No More’ and ‘Around the Bend’. Amazing to see them to play to their home audience, Lindberg looking overwhelmed by the marvelous crowd response.

After the cut: this review of day 3 continued with more photos.

Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Roundup

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 20th July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

My Day 2 at Roskilde started and ended inauspiciously. Forgetting to set the alarm on my mobile, I am stirred by the heat of the sun and realise, oh no, it’s already 10.30? That can’t be! Manic rustling around for my tape recorder, camera, batteries and other essentials ensues. On my way out I grab a banana, an apple and a granola bar to choke down on the train ride back to the festival. So much for a civilised breakfast.

Instead of taking the bus, the train is a much better way to the festival, as it deposits you pretty close to the Odeon stage, where I would see in my opinion some of the best performances of the whole festival. Somehow I manage to make it in early enough to catch most of the set by the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. They are an African-American group of real brothers from Chicago that play, yup, you guessed it, lots of fun, loud, brass instruments. But they are so much more than that. They’re consummate entertainers, trying to involve their audience in football-like chants (‘I get the party started, you keep the party jumping!’ and more humourously, teaching phrases to them so they’ll survive in the rough South Side of their hometown. Watching Scandinavians yell back ‘fo sho!’ to the guys on the stage was a hoot. But really, the music was great, and the set was a lot of fun.

Because it’s only day 2 and I still don’t really have a good handle on the lay of the land, I head over to Pavilion in advance of me meeting up with Delphic there for an interview later on. Swedish indie rock band the Bear Quartet are just finishing up as I arrive. They are notorious for not touring at all, so this is a well-attended set featuring, unusually, an English-singing frontman. It’s nice to sit in the shade for a bit and collect my thoughts before I myself am collected to the backstage area for my interview with Delphic’s thoughtful multi-instrumentalist Rick Boardman (pictured in the header pic), which goes very well (read part 1 and part 2 of the interview posted last week). So well that Rick and lead singer / bassist and birthday boy James Cook are happy to sort a photo pass for me for their set later on.

After the cut: this review of day 2 continued with more photos.

Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 2 Roundup

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 19th July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Roskilde Festival this year was my first big festival, and everyone who’s heard of it here in America has been like, ‘nooooo, you went to Roskilde? Really?’ (The most humourous/cool? A clerk at the local guitar shop who looked at me incredulous, saying, ‘I just watched a Metallica DVD and there was Roskilde footage on there from ages ago. You were there?’) Yesterday I finally cut my wristband and took it off my right wrist after showing it off, victorious, to friends Friday night. It is now safe in a box with my other festival souvenirs.

It’s been over a week since I got back from Denmark, so I’ve had some chance to reflect on the whole Roskilde experience. Physically the site is much more massive than you can possibly imagine. (Except of course if you’ve been to Glasto, as Roskilde is often referred to as ‘Northern Europe’s Glasto’.) The main festival goes on for 4 days, and at first glance, the schedule does not look all that daunting. But after drinks and walking around a lot for those 4 days, you’d be surprised to find that after a while you get lazy and don’t want to move on to the next band you have circled on the schedule because you can’t find your legs. Somehow I managed 28 bands in 5 days (2 on Wednesday the 30th of June at Pavilion Junior, part of the festival warm-up period before the main event).

The first day was the calm before the storm. I think everyone was at the opening ceremony featuring American punk icon Patti Smith and her guitarist Lenny Kaye, and rightly so, because this being the 40th year of the festival and 10 years on from the horrible accidental deaths of 9 young male punters at Orange Stage during a Pearl Jam set, those lives were celebrated as well as the continuance of the festival for all these years. I didn’t see too many bands the first day because there really weren’t too many bands playing. American emo rockers Paramore was playing at Arena, the second-biggest venue on-site and in the far southeast corner of the property, but after all the trouble of getting to Orange Stage for Patti Smith, I really did not feel like going in that direction, only to have to turn around again.

Instead I headed over to Cosmopol stage to wait for LCD Soundsystem. In the intervening time I caught Electrojuice, a Danish electronic duo, and Tim Sweeney, a New York City DJ signed to James Murphy’s DFA Records label. But it seemed like everyone had come far and wide for LCD Soundsystem. It wasn’t so cramped at the start, but then it got really rammed. This performance on Thursday the 1st of July was just 2 days before they headlined Wireless in London and this as just a taster for Murphy of things to come. At the start he was uneasy by the crowds but soon got into the groove with numbers like ‘Drunk Girls’, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’, and ‘I Can Change’. Claustrophobia set in and I just had to escape, and escape I did back to Orange Stage, hoping to get a good spot to watch Gorillaz.

After the cut: this review of day 1 continued with more photos.
Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 1 Roundup

 

Spring Offensive / July and August 2010 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 19th July 2010 at 1:00 pm
 

The fantastic Spring Offensive that Mary Beth introduced us to earlier in the year are hitting the road. Tickets are on sale for all dates now.

Tuesday 20th July 2010 – Winchester Railway Inn
Wednesday 21st July 2010 – Bristol The Croft
Tuesday 27th July 2010 – Southend The Railway
Wednesday 28th July 2010 – London Club Fandango @229
Thursday 29th July 2010 – Staines Hobgoblin
Friday 30th July 2010 – Colchester The Twist
Sunday 1st August 2010 – Oxford Castle
Monday 2nd August 2010 – Leicester The Shed
Wednesday 4th August 2010 – Birmingham Sound Bar
Thursday 5th August 2010 – Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes
Friday 6th August 2010 – Manchester Night and Day
Saturday 7th August 2010 – Newcastle Pumprey’s Cellar Bar
Saturday 14th August 2010 – Brighton The Hope
Saturday 21st August 2010 – Redditch Morton Stanley Festival

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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