There’s no real way of pacing yourself for a four-dayer. Even if the social exhaustion can be avoided to some extent, the feet are ready to give up and walk home alone so it’s a solid test of standing endurance on the Sunday. Saying that, there seem to be a lot worth standing for, beginning with another trip in the unrelenting sun to James Blake, opening up the main stage. A number of years ago he played a now-legendary Roskilde show in the Cosmopol tent as torrential rain poured down and thunder clapped overhead so it’s a relief that the weather has been reversed on this occasion. Blake is a measure of cool, pulling untold depths of bass out of the PA and twisting old songs into new shapes. A pleasure to engage in a concert that rebuilds what you probably know too well anyhow, before your very ears.
At Pavillion there’s a less-serious take on the Sunday service as Fidlar are letting addictive guitar pop loose on the tent. Punchy short songs and an energy that we couldn’t have even mustered up on the Thursday, they deliver smile-inducing trivialities in the perfect mood. Across the dusty, scorched site in the dusty hot Gloria stage is a Swedish train driver called My and her Icelandic cohort, Bubba. My Bubba have a very sweet line in a pastoral acoustic sound but with some twists and edge despite appearances. A mellow song about foggy mountains gives way to the mellowest cover of ‘Fuck The Pain Away’ you’ll ever hear before taking in a clapping song involving a complex, choreographed series of percussive pats and claps. Surreally perfect, like cake and tea in your grandmother’s 1950s home while she plays Peaches on an old stereo.
We almost needed the half-hour-late break before Azealia Banks to re-compress. When the day-glo lady does finally trot out she brings all the fun of a Friday, something hard to find in ourselves on this bright Sunday. As ever there is a hardcore bunch compressed up close but the drab and uninspired Cosmopol tent adds nothing to the mood from half way back, and our mind (and soon after, our body) drifts to John Grant over at the Odeon. New album to the fore, and with a full band, he has radically changed the show since he last tore the roof down at the tiny Gloria stage two years ago. ‘Queen of Denmark’ doesn’t quite get the mass last-line-singalong that was so tingling back then, but the full band punching in at the peaks turned the song epic. He seems a little uneasy when just at the mic for the new electronic-laden songs, but is truly captivating when behind the piano.
A deep breath is required before the final furlong, end almost in sight. We stock up on the plentiful water being handed out, and take position front and relatively centre for Queens of The Stone Age. Crashing, piercing glass sounds introduces these serious guys. Josh Homme is a fascinating character, even in passing. Not for him the long hair, or any dramatic wardrobe choices. Now closely cropped, he could still look almost anonymous bar an intense magnetism. You just feel like you know you’re gonna like what he serves up. He looks the serious fucker, but a trustworthy one. Head swaying but with a marble stare, he chops out some of the finest uncut rock effortlessly. Surveying the frenzies up front, and vast crowd behind, he grins and gives us a “you guys… Oh we’re gonna have some fun today”. And you trust him and you know that you will. Through old and new, songs we know and those we haven’t hit on yet it’s a faultless execution of the most stadium of music genres. Effortless as he makes it look, Homme is a frontman of excellence and he takes the band off stage hours before anyone would have wanted them to stop.
Copenhagen’s Pinkunoizu are spinning another line of rock. This one is less of a motorway and more of winding road. Somewhat daft lyrics and an average song length of 10 minutes, they still hammer out a tight rock sound, grabbing melodies and drumming them into line. Across at Odeon is finally some music to suit the heat of the weekend now almost passed. The Tex Mex brass sounds of Calexico drift towards us on approach, Joey Burns’s southern voice just what our ears wanted. Arthur Lee’s ‘Alone Again Or’ is a brass wave and then the plaintive ‘Maybe on a Monday’ takes us down, nice and easy. For a body opened by so much varied music this is the perfect salve to pour in this final evening. As a souped-up ‘Not even Stevie Nicks’ slips into ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ we feel almost all patched up leaving one more thing to do before the drive home.
Staff are busy handing out 60,000 pairs of 3D glasses and all other stages have wound up in time for Kraftwerk to close the main stage this year. At the perfect time on a scandinavian evening the day gives way to dusk as the surprisingly effective 3D visuals behind the band become more intense. Wall-to-wall defining electronic classics are what you’re always going to get at a Kraftwerk gig, and to add to it the originals have been tweaked and re-processed. ‘Autobahn’ in particular comes off like a remix and ‘Radioactivity’ has a new aesthetic to it. It’s a mellow closing act providing a beautiful image of the gathered thousands all in their 3D glasses like a photo from the ’50s. Finished crawling around the front pits after our four days we are content to rest at the further reaches as the men and machines light up the field. Highlights of the four days that come back to us are of Efterklang and Highasakite’s spirited shows, Metallica’s pyrotechnic ‘One’, Indian’s ‘Bird’ and Lykke Li handing us ‘I Follow Rivers’. Above all, however, from the first night on the campsite stage Disclosure, and the thousands gathered there for that hour-and-a-half, gave us a hands-in-the-sky evening that was never topped for it’s communal euphoria – surely the best reason why we all gamble with weather and tolerate camp living to stand in a field outside the town of Roskilde in early July.
QOTSA photographed by Jakob Bekker-Hansen