Roskilde Festival – Day 1, Thursday 29/​​​06/​​​06

After already attempting to survive the Roskilde experience for three days, some light relief from the scorching sunshine and quite frankly scary Scandinavians finally arrives in the form of sweet, joyous, dance your face off music. For Gigwise, the Danish born WhoMadeWho are the first to step up, and provide a perfect springboard for the chaos that is to follow. It is a rare occurrence for three relatively unknown men to command an audience with such ability and confidence, and to infuse this level of sheer jubilation using just about every musical genre they can think of. Despite their labels of post-​​punk disco LCD Soundsystem wannabes, the band stretch far beyond this to offer a glorious set of high energy tunes and beats to get the feet moving. Largely led by the phenomenal drumming behind them, the simple but effective use of just a guitar and bass from the two front men leads Gigwise to feel that anyone using more than three layers of music simply isn’t doing their job properly.

The only way to top that was to head for the band with the greatest name in history. Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution fittingly offer the only style of party WhoMadeWho forgot to include, a traditional South American shindig to show the Europeans how it’s done. Despite not being familiar with his 30 previous albums (shame on us), Gigwise felt instantly at home grooving with the ever increasing audience cramming into the small Ballroom tent. If you’re getting bored of your Buena Vista Social Club collection, there’s no better place to head than with this man.

Soon, the urge to head for more familiar territory becomes too much, so off we head to check out the latest indie darlings, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Despite the quality of the songs and musicianship, Alec Ounsworth and co fail to ignite the performance with the passion and vitality necessary. Songs such as ‘Over And Over Again (Lost & Found)’ lose their ability to create the tension and urgency so inherent on the versions found on their debut album. Things improve when lead single ‘Is This Love?’ is unleashed to a jubilant crowd, but it’s too little too late. When Ounsworth wails ‘Whooooo, will get me to a party?’ on ‘The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth’, Gigwise couldn’t help realise that it wasn’t going to be him and his Brooklyn companions.

Sometimes in life you know you’re making the wrong decision. Despite this, all too often curiosity wins out and you simply can’t help yourself. Of course, alcohol aids decisions like these, and so Gigwise admits that the decision to watch the latest version of Guns N’ Roses wasn’t a particularly sober one. But who cares. Coming to the stage over an hour late, Axl Rose and his hired goons strutted their way through the predictable set of old classics, suspect cover versions and those ‘long awaited’ tracks from their new album Chinese Democracy. The crowd are generally happy enough that the man is here at all, having been arrested days earlier in Stockholm for the drunken assault of a security guard, but this doesn’t make up for this lacklustre performance. ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ kicks off proceedings, but it’s all downhill form here as the men on stage fail to deliver much more than a tribute band’s performance. Vocally Axl is impressive at times, and Gigwise can’t deny that air guitaring to Sweet Child O’ Mine with 60 000 mimicking companions is a huge amount of fun. However, the eight minute guitar and piano solos become tiresome as soon as the first note is struck, and if we have to hear another chorus of ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ again our head might explode. A comfy tent soon becomes far too tempting to resist.

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