The third day of a four-day festival is often potentially the best – your body has got used to the abuse of late nights, constant standing and perhaps one or two more beverages than normal. Here at Roskilde there’s also an influx of one-day ticket holders who have been waiting until the weekend to arrive. Put all this into the mix with one of Denmark’s most lauded new bands, The Rumour Said Fire (by now you can spot a Danish band by name alone, right?) and put them in the mid-sized Odeon tent and yet again you have a massively over-subscribed gig. Local loyalty is strong here and the melee is even crazier than at Florence the day before. This year we are also down one tent on last year and with possibly even more people on site this year, and with nothing else to see on a Saturday morning, it just serves to disappoint the many outside. The noises from the inside were very positive so they go back onto the -to-do’ list for another time.
Next on that long list is the most enjoyable diversion of the festival. We venture out through the apocalyptic landscape of campsites to see the annual Naked Race and again enjoy body parts flying this way and that at high speed in close to 30 degree heat. This year the runners were given the mixed blessing of a water hurdle and it was the un-doing of many of them. The thousands gathered to watch, and the cheery nature of the 20 participants, made it well worth the trip to the camps. The same fella as last year won the mens, while a delightful American lady at her first Roskilde won the womens. After the race the runners went to the Gringo bar on the festival site where they enjoyed free beer for the hour after the race, providing they stayed naked. In for a penny, in for a pound.
Erlend Ã˜ye has been a festival favourite here with The Whitest Boy Alive but today he is back as half of Kings of Convenience. He’s sporting a very beachy shorts and sandals while Eirik Glambek BÃ¸e is in white shirt and trousers and looks like he belongs in Air. As an acoustic duo they have massive charm and while a lead on-stage is being replaced they treat us to a cute cover of -It’s My Party’. What could be twee is perfectly pitched to the full Arena tent and there’s a great reverence from the crowd during the first slow numbers such as -Me Inside You’ and a request not to clap along, “but something else, like perhaps finger clicking’ has 16,000 people clicking their fingers for the rest of the gig. Half way, the pair are joined by a violinist and a bass player and they beef-up the music until we’re all moving together with Ã˜ye’s front of stage shimmying and we’re all smiling like a toothpaste ad.
Patti Smith is on the main stage and what was to be a fleeting glance suddenly had us in the pit for a gutsy version of the Stones’ -Play With Fire’. She certainly fires on all cylinders and the songs are infused with passion, the fantastic sound helping too, as well as a crosswind blowing her long hair around wildly. Between songs she loses us a bit talking about people she knew like we were all there with her, and doesn’t explain who these people were in her life. Then, showing that despite at least three days in Denmark (we glimpsed her on Thursday) she hasn’t been speaking to any locals, she says ‘sorry I only speak English. I hope that somehow the words can magically find their meaning inside you’. Kind words, but baffling to the Danes in attendance.
Time for a pick-me-up and instead of a 20 kroner shot of -Old Danish’ liquor we simply roll up to the freshest looking band in the world. Vampire Weekend are so clean and tidy they’re like a soap advert but soon join the audience in dripping in sweat inside the Arena tent. The perfect venue to see them in, it’s busy with just enough room for everyone to have their own dance floor. New songs such as -Horchata’ are well received but now that we’re in the dancing mood the older songs such as the two minute -Mansard Roof’ has, by request from the stage, got everyone shaking something. Main man Ezra Koenig is happily chatting between each song and eventually he leads us into an exhausting final four minutes of grab-your-neighbour-and-dance joy with -Walcott’.
Beach House have filled the smallest tent but one of the early arrivers was Erlend Ã˜ye who has a nice spot up the front. Maybe we can’t speak ill of Beach House because, live, they have a drive that lifts the songs even beyond the beautiful Teen Dream recordings or maybe it’s because Victoria LeGrand is the sort of frontwoman you wished you were young enough to have a poster of, on your wall. By the end she’s moving around so much in front of some glittery shapes floating on the stage that she’s simultaneously playing keyboard, singing and moshing all through a mess of hair so thick that at times it could be the back of her head we’re looking at. If you think you like the song -Zebra’ on the record you haven’t lived till you’ve seen them play this live. Scrape us off the ceiling and buy us a beer before the evening’s assault yet to come.
Through the grapevine we hear of a hilariously odd and awful Gonjasufi show which consisted of two laptops and a yoga mat, plus a Bad Lieutenant show with an embarrassingly few amount of people there, and where Bernard Sumner was in constant gripe with the tech staff throughout. They played mostly New Order and Joy Division songs but if Sumner wants to play these songs then perhaps he should play them with New Order. That name alone will fill a tent for you.
Muse‘s mission is to at least deliver on the high expectations they get for their live show. We’re not expecting The Edge to walk out tonight but we do get as full-on and energetic a show as the Glasto one looked on a wee YouTube screen. There’s not a light bulb, smoke machine and strobe un-utilised and Matt Bellamy is clad in a silver glitter suit which matches one of his guitars. As tight as the band are, in order of charisma it’s Bellamy first and then the stage itself who we watch. Beyond the massive theatrics he’s a fine musician, and showman and only for he’s a bit skinny for the circuit, we could be at a Vegas show. They do rock their hardest, as you’d expect, and easily fill the massive Orange stage helped by a massive burst of lasers every now and again. The most impressive moments are when you forget the stage show and scream along to the songs where Muse’s stadium sound, and Belamy’s belting guitar, are at their best and with -Starlight’ coming after -Time Is Running Out’ and ‘Resistance’ our voices, already suffering at the hands of the dust in the air, burn out completely.
After a sit down and a really strong cocktail (nothing wrong with the measures at the bars here) we just remember Sweden’s lady of pop, Robyn, is playing in the Arena tent. At the perfect time of the evening on this Saturday, the Scandos are out in droves and you can feel straight away that something special is happening. It’s gourmet pop and we truly weren’t sure what to expect – but this is a tent of adoration and what the crowd are giving they are getting back ten-fold. She’s running around as excited to be there as the crowd, and a full band are delivering the delicious electro-pop live. Both Robyn and the crowd keep raising the game and by the time it peaks with a constantly-building and eventually tent-busting -With Every Heartbeat’ pop heaven has arrived.
Imagine then returning to the main stage to a barrage of ‘fucks”. Yep, The Prodigy are on and Maxim is just shouting at the gathered. ‘I was fuckin’ here in ninety-fuckin’-seven. Where’s my fucking people? Where’s my fucking PEOPLE?’ We looked mysteriously around. Maybe they were at home with the kids. ‘Make the fucking circle.’ Seriously no idea what was going on here but it certainly distracted us from the huge show of controlled chaos for each song. -Firestarter’ was massive, as you’d expect, and the thousands of on-stage lights crackled like an air-raid. To add to this, Flint, Maxim and Howlett looked pretty much the same scary dudes they were in the ’90s, but this was one for the die-hards so we made our excuses and left. The show went on for an age giving the punters who queued for hours to get into the pit plenty of value (and ‘fucks”) for their money.
Photos Jakob Bekker Hansen