Friday morning after a rowdy Shame gig and with some sort of beer hungover was not the ultimate start of the day, and you couldn’t really call it morning because we didn’t leave the tent before lunch, which also meant starting out with lunch at the food court close to the Gloria stage.
The food at Roskilde is something that needs its own blog because it’s too many choices. I remember when I was young and a student at my early Roskilde years in the beginning of the nineties when I didn’t have any money at all and needed to do food on my own, and watched all people walk into the food courts to buy “real” food. Loads of envy! I waited for many years to afford it and now when you have a good economy you basically eat yourself through the festival. Do I need to say I gained four kilos this year? I’m not going to review the food because it requires more space than we have but you won’t be disappointed when you consider all different options. Well, maybe if you’re a Swede and consider the low-valued Swedish currency making everything expensive but that’s hardly something you can blame Denmark for, rather poor Swedish financial politics.
After lunch the tiredness from yesterday took over and after a quick look at Julia Holter me and DJ Pappaledig fell asleep on the ground with a few beers, at distance in front of the Orange stage when Bring Me The Horizon were on. Great show though when I had a glimpse, amazing energy on stage, and the best moment must have been when they brought up a Dane from the crowd who did a full song together with frontman Oliver Sykes – and he nailed it!
Me and Pappaledig parted ways and I went straight down to Camp Vienna United for a few beers and to cover their beer badminton tournament. Let’s say that the rules wasn’t clear but as long as the ball didn’t touch the ground it was in play. The whole point was to play badminton with a beer in your hand; as if it wasn’t difficult enough. After a few games, a semi-final where referee Olaf had to make some tough decisions and a final that won’t be remembered among the first thousand world cup finals, camp member Ma Fra won it all. It was a bit cheating though because you could clearly see that the dude had done some practice and stayed away from the beer before the tournament.
Together with Mr M. we walked to see Jungle, the first Jungle gig since a fairly good Reading Festival show a few years ago. Their self-titled debut album from 2014 is a great album entailing their major hit “Time”. Performance-wise it’s a bit boring though. Two dudes behind their keyboards singing in the same high-pitched tune all the time. Mr M. loves it, I went for a beer and continued to Vampire Weekend just to find out that it was even more boring (but I didn’t even know they still were in the biz and shouldn’t comment on it too much). Straight away to the media center and a few free coffees, working with some photo galleries and just wait for Johnny Marr’s slot at the Arena stage.
I have a few friends that are The Smith fans beyond sanity but I never had a relation to The Smith, Morrissey or Johnny Marr, until a few years ago. Four years ago a friend of mine gave me Morrissey’s biography and just said “read it”, and I can’t say I found it very amusing, rather something written by a bitter man. However, it got me into The Smiths. Of course, when Johnny Marr released his biography I just had to read it as well to see how he experienced the years in The Smiths (I learned from the Joy Division/New Order biographies that you should read it all just to get the full picture; thank you Peter Hook), and that’s something quite different from how Morrissey portray the band. Marr’s biography opened up a new world of music to me entailing all those projects he’s been involved in and it was with some excitement I entered the front pit at the Arena stage.
Unfortunately I don’t know much of his own music but it sounds great (yes, I have been listening at Spotify now!) but his own releases can’t compete when he goes for The Smiths classics as “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “How Soon Is Now?”, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and Electronic’s “Getting Away With It”. For me personally the greateast moment at the show is when he suprisingly thusts himself into “I Feel You” by Depeche Mode, an amazing cover. A really good start of an evening where I didn’t have much on my schedule and a pleasant surprise in terms of performance and song choices.
However, what I really was waiting for was a band I have been waiting for since 2000, also at Roskile Festival, a band that represent the club sound of the nineties and a band that probably helped me stay out of trouble and not ending up in that major accident during the Pearl Jam show at Roskilde 2000 because they played at the same time. We’re talking Underworld.
When I lived in London during the nineties I must have been to dozen of Underworld gigs; they were the big thing on the club scene and had many club hits way before “Born Slippy” and “Push Upstairs”. For me Underworld was about “Dirty Epic” and the amazing album “Dubnobasswithmyheadman” released in 1994. Their live shows have always been explosive with frontman Karl Hyde dancing like crazy on stage, just like you did during the nineties (think of Bez in Happy Mondays but a bit wilder). But people grow older and Karl Hyde is today 62 years old, and before the show me and DJ Pappaledig discussed that he can’t have that energy on stage anymore because he’s an old man! We were wrong.
Hyde needed one song to warm up and then it was back to nineties again. If my own dad would have danced like that even in the beginning of his fifties we would have been in an ambulance to the hospital within thirty seconds. And the songs don’t sound old, not at all! They probably re-made them into the sound of the 2010s but with that Underworld twist on it because it was an explosive dance party from the first song, “Two Months Off”, to the last, “Born Slippy .Nuxx”, and in between there were all those hits I’ve been waiting to hear on stage for the last nineteen years; “King of Snake”, “Rex/Cowgirl”, “Always Loved A Film”, “Dark & Long” and many, many more. Even Pappaledig who hadn’t graduated from elementary school in the nineties and was raised on EDM found it to be great.
That was it, there was no more energy left after this gig and we passed by the media center to grab a coffee and go back to sleep. A great end of a great summer day!
Day number eight at the festival and for the first time in years I felt really tired, smashed to be honest. Usually the last day at the Roskilde Festival feels at bit depressing because you know it’s a year left to next big happening in life (yeah, some of us have Roskilde as the major happening every year), but this year I was actually looking forward to get back to my bed. The last day was just a “transport day” already from the start – I thought! It was going to be the most drunken day at Roskilde Festival in years.
What is great with Roskilde is that you meet a lot of people during the years and quite many of those people return and become friends for life. Today, loads of Swedes were about to arrive for a one-day experience of the festival, some people I met at the festival and some people I met twenty years ago as a student at the university. Most of those people are today parents and can’t really get time off as they used to but at least one day (with a luxury stay at a hotel in Copenhagen) is fair enough. Unfortunately they were in drinking mode already from the start and you couldn’t even finish the combined breakfast/lunch before you had a beer and a drink in your hands. From there it was downhill (or a day in a great mood depending on how you see it).
After a visit to a Swedish camp at Silent & Clean DJ Pappaledig once again demonstrated his non-learning ability when he once more ended up next to “Balkmannen” and his homemade Swedish moonshine. As usual that didn’t end well and we parted ways for a few minutes while I headed for Converge (DJ Pappaledig joined me a bit later but just nagged about how the singer screamed too much). Converge didn’t end up in my player until very late, not until they released “All We Love We Leave Behind” in 2012, and with “The Dusk in Us” from 2017 I started to listen more regularly.
And it’s explosive live! Frontman Jacob Bannon runs around like crazy on stage and often ends up balancing on the edge to the photo pit (I thought he was going to slip a few times). But I can understand Pappaledig, it becomes too much after a while and although I love their show it’s enough with thirty minutes, maybe because all of us have reached the tipsy level and were trying to find a way to keep it that way – which meant buying more beer. After two deliciously cold Carlsbergs we find ourselves in front of Petrol Girls, a band we interviewed at Reeperbahn Festival last year. Equally explosive show and even better.
Front dudette Ren Aldridge is completely insane but change to normal between songs to give speeches about issues in today’s society. But this is also the gig when tipsy becomes a bit drunk and I should not review too much of what happened but I ended up in a mosh pit, took a few good punches and lost two toe nails, but the joy I felt when I left the tent was worth it all. The rest of the day up until The Cure was mostly a blurr but it was a great day off from (too) much work these days.
The big show, and what most people I know bought a ticket for, was The Cure. Very few bands deliver such long shows as The Cure and this time they “only” played two hours and twenty minutes; even fewer bands change their setlist for every gig they do and if you are that kind of person who is addicted to setlist.fm it doesn’t work out with The Cure. Now, the boring part is that the tipy effect was about to wear off and with that you feel tired, and with eight tough work days behind you a long show is the last you will endure. Six songs into The Cure’s gig I went straight to the press area, picked up my gear and went to bed. That was it. But I’m not disappointed, it wasn’t really my first The Cure show, and not the first The Cure show where I left either.
Sunday was only about getting your stuff together and wait for the train to take you home to Hamburg. But we did it the smart way; instead of taking an early train as usual we waited to the afternoon, had dinner in Roskilde and had much space on the train home. It was also at this point the post-festival depression made its entrance. Being downtown Roskilde completely empty of people made me sad and I just want everything to restart again. Twelve long months to next year!
Thank you Roskilde for another year, my 28th. See you at your 50th anniversary next year!