It is with considerable difficulty at this stage that we have to drag ourselves out of bed and get on-site on the fourth warm and sunny day of this festival. Surviving solely on gourmet burgers and beer for the last three days has us craving a nice salad, a cup of tea and a lie down, but once more into the breach for you, dear State.ie reader. Probably the last thing you need to hear on this particular Sunday morning is Slayer belting from the main stage but as we chug down some cola to lift the body, our chat is drowned by the screaming thrash metal and double bass drums. Quite unsure if it’s some metal thing we’re not aware of but singer Tom Araya is wearing a Slayer t-shirt, and though self-praise is no praise the band are giving it the full lash, and as we wander over to the relatively safe arms of Cat Power we can hear ‘Reign In Blood’ striking up in the background and a small nostalgia creeps in.
Another packed Odeon tent and Cat, aka Chan Marshall, appears all tomboy and sexy in black jeans, white shoes and a loose grey shirt while still hiding under that fringe of hers. She spends a lot of the opening songs throwing invisible bubbles out to the crowd and goes from hanging off the front of the stage singing directly into the crowd and hanging beside the guitarist to, well, leaving the stage entirely. She does announce at one stage that she’s ‘about to throw up or fall over’ but it’s hard to say if she’s genuinely ill or is just being her odd old self. She is certainly a bit all over the shop but we do get spirited renditions of -New York, New York’, -Lived In Bars’ and a twisted -The Greatest’. After a lie-down on stage behind a monitor she ends by throwing setlists, flowers and bottles of water into the crowd and apologising for a terrible show. Chan, as we were in Whelan’s that night you played there a few years back, we’ve seen MUCH, much worse.
The bands playing are now thinning out as the end draws near, but beers are still being poured into plastic cups and we, like slaves to the golden liquid, keep drinking them despite best intentions. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who overlapped Cat Power on Arena stage, wowed the audience, but then another overlap problem leaves us catching just a quick look at Bonnie Prince Billy entertain in his own particular twangy way. Not a man you instantly associate with humour, he happily entertains the assembled with a cover of R Kelly’s -World’s Greatest’ and also hopes we will enjoy Jay-Z’s performance while reminding us that ‘his penis has been inside Beyonce Knowles’.
But Copenhagen’s Bitchslap magazine publisher, Nick, is a persuasive man and having joined us, insists we get a good spot for Hot Chip over in the Arena tent so we knock back over and set up in a great spot inside the tent. The band are on fire and are giving it a massive effort from the stage. There’s a huge cheer when they sing ‘Laid back…‘ beginning -Over And Over’. By the time we get to -Crap Kraft Dinner’ the rain has finally arrived and the heavy downpour is streaming off the outside of the tent, but we’re dry and warm in here so the dancing continues, noting our good luck to be in here with the -Chip at this very moment. They mash New Order’s -Temptation’ into ‘No Fit State’ and end perfectly, saying ‘there is one more thing we have to do: Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it Do it now…‘ and the place erupts in tired and drunken dance moves to -Ready For The Floor’. Despite heavy calls for an encore we are denied and we dash over to a covered bar to let the rest of the rain pass.
It’s that great point in a festival where everyone is talking to everyone – the dude beside you is suddenly engaging you in stories of faraway tents and friends are telling you, in the middle of a bite of a sandwich, that their girlfriends are preggers. That ragged alliance of strangers at the end of a festival is a comfortable thing and with the rain having almost passed the final State musical search party agree that is its time to let Jay-Z bring the curtain down so over we go on the last trek across the fields. We arrive just in time. With due reference to where his member has been we get -Crazy In Love’ blending into -Umbrella’ – a timely choice. Then, as the last of the drizzle passes we get an instrumental -Purple Rain’, the lights that pierce the night here, slowly fade to become crowd-exit lights and we’re done. We made it.
State makes a final call into the only bar left open and we’re chatting to random Welsh people and friends we haven’t seen all weekend and talking about random stuff, like The Streets getting every dude at the main stage to take off their shirts, like trying to take Judas Priest seriously and like how we don’t begrudge Mother Nature a bit of rain at the moment. Nick is off to find his skateboard and we’re glad to be off home, but with that tinge of sadness – like leaving a holiday romance. It’s been sunny and warm and joyful and busy. Amazing music, champion people, blistering sun, minimum hassle and invisible, but great security as well as many free beers – and all the way up here in Denmark. As that Viking boat sails back from Dublin to Roskilde this week we’d do well to load up even a small portion of this festival weekend and send it back home for our own use. After the Danes pillaged Ireland for so long, it’s the least they can do.