Roskilde Festival — Day 3, Saturday 1/​​07/​​06

Today music was forced to take the back seat as a certain football game, which won’t be mentioned here, took place in the scorching afternoon sun.

Before the heartbreak however, there was time to wander into the local Roskilde town for a fresh supply of food and booze, scale the famous climbing wall, have a kick about with some Danes and check out a music partnership too intriguing to miss out on. Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) & Steve Reid set out to prove that their latest release, The Exchange Sessions, weren’t a bridge too far. We all know Mr Hebden, whose recent releases and live shows as Four Tet have received adulation, particularly in the UK. Less known in indie circles is Steve Reid, who started his career in the New York jazz scene with John Coltrane and Quincy Jones, soon became a Motown session drummer, and has since produced a career of experimentalism to enormous critical acclaim. However despite these impressive credentials, the resulting sound on both the album and this afternoon’s performance is one lacking in cohesion, direction and a distinct final product. Though fascinating to listen to and not without its merits, ideas are left under developed and there’s an overriding feeling that Gigwise are watching two performances rather than one. Though masters in their respective fields, it may take more work to fuse their genres of music together.

After the …er ….. ‘interlude’ (I promised I wouldn’t mention it) we run towards Bobby Gillespie and his Primal Scream companions to cheer us up, and they don’t do a bad job of it. Recent release ‘Riot City Blues’ may be revisiting their least successful period musically, but on stage it works well with some new members adding a definite slant on proceedings. Mani comes alive during the older Exterminator tracks, his bass resounding through the bodies of everyone present, while Bobby G seems in good form in his ever increasing persona of a Jagger impersonator. By the time the closing salvo of ‘Movin’ On Up’ and recent single ‘Country Girl’ are dispensed, Gigwise are forced to admit that it’s job done for the Glaswegians, who have successfully raised our spirits and forced us to enjoy ourselves.

The trend continues elsewhere, as funk legend George Clinton brings together musicians from his former groups, Funkadelic and Parliament, to provide an experience like no other on this years Roskilde line up. An array of characters take their turns to enthral and delight the ecstatic crowd, many of whom weren’t prepared for the funk fest now in full swing before their eyes. Clinton himself may take the occasional break, but it takes nothing away from an inspired performance from him and his companions. The sheer energy on show exceeds the days other acts put together with colourful dancers, leaping rappers and suave guitarists adding their own touches to the party. Ending in a stage invasion, a rare occurrence here, the show catapults itself to one of the best of the weekend.

The late headliner on the main stage tonight is another true entertainer, Kanye West. The quality of his two albums could never be converted accurately into the live environment, but tonight’s performance is certainly a valiant attempt as he takes to the stage with a variety of musicians, including a small string section. ‘All Falls Down’ sends arms into the air, ‘Touch The Sky’ shows off the band at its best, while the booming bass line from the penultimate ‘Jesus Walks’ sends chills down the spine while allowing Kanye all the freedom he needs to voice his message from whichever end of the stage he happens to have ended up at. But it’s not just his signature tunes which impress as surprise cover versions and samples, such as Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ or even Ah-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’, are dropped into the set at the perfect moment. Much like his records, on stage Kanye knows when to use other’s music and how to incorporate it into his own, making the experience perfect for a crowd not necessarily as bling bling as the man himself.

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