Incendiary 'do' Roskilde Festival

Incendiary "do" Roskilde Festival


One of our annual Hunter S. Thomson tribute trips is visiting the festival at Roskilde. The promises what this would bring were advertised well in advance to us and with well over 140 groups booked for the 4 day festival, there had to be something even to our liking. Once on the Autobahn, we sped north-eastwards through bat country, only to be interrupted by the suspicious German border control. Having a car with a Dutch registration is the surest thing of being picked out and asked if you would kindly empty your pockets for them. Since our intelligence greatly exceeds that of a German border control officer we knew we would soon continue our journey without too much hassle…


This was our fourth time at Roskilde, and we didn't miss our exit, (which is a sure fire way of knowing that you’ve never been before) so did we miss out on the tour of a considerable part of a Roskilde’s suburbs. Unfortunately we had forgotten to pack our Tom Jones tapes... Our press affiliation hadn't told us that our first job was to appear as extras in a Danish documentary about why it is important to bring sensible footwear to festivals. Our experience on the subject (and sunglasses) should be notable in the footage and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Danish national television for their generous donations to our festival experience and would like them to know that in the future we will be only happy to assist again.


I have to say that in celebration of our early arrival, and TV appearance,, (not to mention the lack of mud this year), we managed to get rather squiffy; in fact we got burned out of our suite a whole 6 hours before any performance would take place. We were not in the mood for coffee and donuts.


Having missed the start we felt only obliged to go see the first name in our program guide we recognised, this being the Dusty look-a-like Duffy. After 30 minutes of what sounded like a backing tape of her record, the natives had seen enough. We danced on the 3 best songs from MGMT, sang I'm a Creep with The Gossip and were mesmerized by the video screens during Radiohead. I do not think I paid anything for my copy of In Rainbows, and to be honest the performance was of about equal value. For total coverage it was too late, we had already missed 14 other performances and we still had cold beer. And after agreeing where we would leave our pants, we called it a night.


The second day started with looking for a discount supermarket to see if we could buy those foods that make the locals look so good. It couldn't have been the cheese as it said Made in Holland on the back… Swimming in the lake on the camp site could work, but only if you don't wear anything. The polo shirts, pleated skirts and high socks combination would work if we were 10 years younger and of the female gender. We resorted to seeing Grinderman.


All our past girlfriends who ever introduced us to good music that we didn't already know, listened to crooners like Nick Cave, Morrissey and Leonard Cohen. Just like when we saw Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds perform a couple of years ago, our faith in men with a song in their heart, a guitar in hand and a determination to let it all out was restored. We are always very suspicious about the 'something completely new' card being played when we read about groups like Yeasayer; and one or two good compositions can't compete with the determination and power exhibited here by Cave. Nice try Yeasayer, but please do your homework before thinking you can entertain the likes of us.


We tend to have a preference for small festivals, where not more then one group is playing at a time. Large festivals always present the idea that multiple groups performing at the same time is an advantage; if one act is bad there are several others to choice from. On Saturday the festival organisation proved that this works in precisely in the opposite way by having Neil Young and My Bloody Valentine booked at the same time. What the Fuck?


A man could have a very good time in Vegas with the money it takes to see Neil Young give a normal performance and with what he can do still fresh in our minds from his Archives Performance Series, the choice was made. Over 2 hours were filled with that guitar sound, somewhere in the middle there was a small interruption by an acoustic set filled with drunk Danes singing along with the mandatory The Needle and the Damage Done, for the rest it was everything that somebody who owns almost every single Neil Young record on vinyl could hope for. In a “never spear your heroes” kinda attitude I have to confess something. Usually I hate it when the last song a band plays is a cover and the choice for A Day In The Life; (the last song on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in case you didn’t know) is a rather odd one. But, this being Neil Young, I guess we have to forgive him.


Having been hit slightly numb by all this we should not forget sunrise was still hours away, and there was still more to see. The Raveonettes did their  hits and lots of songs from their last record, Black Mountain piled on even more brilliant guitar sound and if that was not enough The Duke Spirit made sure the night felt a bit less cold by providing better visuals then all the previous performers.


On Sunday I did my Swedish chef making turtle soup impersonation. And some natives provided answers to what the meaning of this trip was.


On Monday it was time to go home.


Words: Richard Sottong.