Roskilde Festival 2008 – day 1 (in English)

Roskilde Festival 2008 – day 1 (in English)

It just struck me: The Roskilde Festival can be seen as an embodiment of the civilized Danish society. Only the Danes could manage to make a huge rock festival so safe and comfortable.

I arrived midway through MGMT‘s set – but instead of what the programme hailed as “psychedelic electro rock”, I heard a crowd-pleasing mix of glam rock and disco – with even a faint echo of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” at one point – and complete with mullets. Mullets? Is this really what the kids in Brooklyn are up to these days?

Danish Pilgrimz play what we in Neon Machine refer to as “semitone metal” (when heard from the surrounding rehearsal rooms) – amazingly tight and with a charming sense of humour. But you have to love the genre to enjoy more than a couple of songs.

Gossip provided the first “Roskilde moment” – when something exceeds all expectation. Humongous Beth Ditto’s Janis Joplin-meets-Alison Moyet vocals alone were almost enough to carry the show. But coupled with the bands minimalist, funky groove, the result is deliciously sexy (of whatever orientation).

And then, of course, the long-awaited Radiohead show on the Orange stage. Any cultural pessimist would have second thoughts seeing the huge crowd gathered to hear something as “difficult” as this band (kicking off with a 5/8 beat, no less…). Radiohead is probably as intelligent as rock music gets – their carefully layered arrangements are almost devoid of cliché (unless you count Thom Yorke’s melancholy lament). Still, I would have enjoyed them more in a smaller and more intimate setting. I even drifted off to catch a few songs of Swedish guitar riff kings, Hellacopters (I can just imagine how jealous Danish D-A-D must be over their effient rock-pop formula).

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