Roskilde Festival 2009, day 3 (in English)

I’d already caught the excellent Eagles of Death Metal live at Vega (review here), but still – or precisely because of that – I wouldn’t miss the chance of seeing them again. And their humorously down-to-earth rock’n’roll was just the thing to relieve the traditional Sunday fatigue of the Roskilde Festival crowd. And even while Jesse Hughes tried his best to keep up his ironic badass persona, he seemed to be genuinely swept away by the enthusiasm of the crowd. Maybe not quite as intense as their amazing Vega gig – but good old, dirty rock’n’roll fun.

I went with a friend to see the first few songs by The Bronx. Well, they deliver the goods with maximum intensity – but to me, the whole hard core genre is too much of a cliché, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the good stuff from the bad.

One of the major surprises for me this year was Madness. I’d been looking forward to a bit of nostalgia, a happy singalong and some good-time ska beats. But it was even better. Not only did their performance seem to be untouched by the years (how old are these guys now?), I was also (once again) struck by the sheer quality of their songwriting. Even a couple of new tracks from the “Liberty of Northern Folgate” album were instant hits with a crowd to whom they must have been largely unknown. Creating a vibe that is simultaneously silly and genuinely moving, Madness personifies the sweet mix of whimsical fun and heartfelt emotion that makes British music so irresistible.

I’ve grown quite fond of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “It’s Blitz” album, and looked forward to seeing them live. Unfortunately, so did most other festivalgoers – resulting in a massive crowd inside and around the Arena stage, making it hard to get close to the music. They did sound okay, though – delivering their very personal brand of danceable minimalist rock. And once Karen O decided to switch from self-absorbed screeching to actually singing the songs, they got even better.

Those who know me won’t be surprised to hear that I went home before Coldplay hit the stage. Yes, I know, just because I see them as the current apex of rock music gone horribly wrong (a trend I believe was sparked off by The Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper”, but that’s another story), I should have given them the benefit of the doubt. And maybe in concert they add just a bit of rock’n’roll energy to their squeaky-clean, sub-U2ish whining, but I didn’t stick around to find out. I was tired and had to get up early for work on Monday. And – I really hate these guys…

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