Roskilde Festival – Day 2, Friday 30/​​06/​​06

Kicking off the day in style were gypsy punk rockers Gogol Bordello, who have been gathering support over recent years with their absurdly energetic live shows and catchy singles. Ukrainian-​​American lead entertainer Eugene Hutz is the centre of the show as he steers his band through the party performance lapped up by the hungover Roskilde faithful. Fiddle and Squeezebox solos act as the excuse everyone is looking for to launch into the limb flailing jig which seems so popular, probably as it’s the only way to dance to such a refreshing style of music. ‘Start Wearing Purple’ is the obvious favourite, which is suitably blown up to epic proportions to meet the demand of an ever growing fanbase. Great stuff.

From one extreme to the other, an event Roskilde seems to specialise in, Gigwise soon finds ourselves in front of a man dressed in an orthodox Jewish outfit: a black suit, hat and a rather untamed beard. New York resident Matisyahu may seem an unlikely musical master, but from this performance he may not be far from such a claim. Mixing reggae, rock and rap into a dub or even African soundscape proves an eclectic mix, immediately proving he’s more than just a novelty act. Despite taking a few tunes to get going, Matisyahu uses tracks from his latest album ‘Youth’ to confirm his arrival as a true talent for the future.

Morrissey rarely fails to deliver, and this afternoon’s performance is certainly another one to treasure. The recent tour and album has welcomed a somewhat happier, more content man than we have witnessed in the past, emphasized today in the glorious Danish sunshine. Opening with the classic ‘Panic’ and future classic ‘First Of The Gang To Die’ Morrissey sets the scene for those fans waiting to hear which of their favourites will come next. Predictably, half of his latest offering ‘Ringleader Of The Tormentors’ is present and correct, but as usual it’s the surprises which set the performance alight. ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ is the perfect example and sounds as fresh as it ever did, while simultaneously highlighting Morrissey’s need for a fellow songwriter of Marr’s calibre. ‘How Soon Is Now?’ still tugs on the heartstrings despite hearing it for the seven millionth time, while set closer ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ is a fitting climax to yet another fine performance by the great man.

There’s no need to move though as it’s time for another elder statesman to take centre spotlight. Bob Dylan has forever divided opinion in his well documented history, and he continues to do so over four decades since he exploded from Greenwich Village, New York. Opening with ‘Maggie’s Farm’ and ‘The Times They Are A-​​Changin’, it’s immediately obvious who in the crowd knew what to expect, and who was waiting for note perfect renditions of their favourite songs. Lyrics and melodies are thrown into the wind, recollected, and spat out as only a true genius can do. Though some renditions, such as ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ sound routine and flat, there is still an obvious venom and passion in others, in particular ‘Masters Of War’ and ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. A greatest hits set was really the only option at a festival performance and those not familiar with Dylan’s style still manage to dance the night away thanks to the bands fine use of rockabilly blues straight from the Mississippi Delta. It’s these performances which encourage the fans to keep on returning, and enable the never ending tour to continue with as much momentum as when it began over a decade ago.

By now it’s late, and the senses aren’t quite what they were, so before we know it the next act appears on the huge Orange Stage. The Scissor Sisters have moved so smoothly to the large stages over the last couple of years that it’s easy to forget that they didn’t always belong there. ‘Take Your Mama Out’ is the first track to ignite the crowd, while even the new tracks have a similar affect. Straying into several musical territories during the night, the band really know how to entertain the larger audiences despite only having one album of familiar material. With a second soon to follow, you can expect to see these guys around for a fair while yet.

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