It’s six days since Gigwise first set foot in the Roskilde grounds, and it’s beginning to show. Hangovers and dehydration become more extreme everyday, and we can only marvel at the 17 year old Swedes drunk by midday on lighter fluid (we WISH we were joking) who we are greeted by every day we when we awake. ‘Oh to be young again’.
Therefore its mid afternoon by the time your bedraggled reviewers make it into the arena to catch some new kids on the block. The Arctic Monkeys seem to take the hysteria with them wherever they go, and today is no different. Demand is so huge that the nearest entrance is closed due to fears of over crowding, as many are forced to catch a glimpse of the band from outside the Arena tent. It’s business as usual for the Sheffield lads, with the opener ‘The View From The Afternoon’ still setting the scene for the following hour’s entertainment. No real surprises in the set, though Turner does take time to dedicate ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ to yesterdays villain, Christiano Ronaldo. As the usual closer of ‘A Certain Romance’ reaches its climax, it’s clear that Scandinavia is in love with the Monkeys as much as the rest of the world.
The Strokes have returned this year with a tour proving their importance and relevancy in an environment radically different to the one they invented five years ago. Their performance this afternoon is proof of that as they storm through another superb set. From the moment the guts of ‘Juicebox’ are sent resonating across the audience, Mr Casablancas clearly relishes the opportunity to perform these fresh set of tracks. The sound is spot on, which makes all the difference to a group who have struggled in the past to deliver the energy from their records to the live setting. Highlights include ‘Is This It’, which is actually sung rather than drawled in the usual style and ‘The End Has No End’ surprisingly shines alongside stronger songs. ‘Reptilia’ remains one of their finest moments but there still is no beating the superb build up and pause in ‘Hard To Explain’, which still creeps up on the listener unexpected. The Strokes are enjoying themselves away from the hype that once surrounded them, and they’re all the better for it.
Being the final day, Gigwise deems it only fair to check out some quintessential Danish pop to pass the afternoon, in the hope we’ll find the superstars of tomorrow. However, there’s very little of this around, mostly because the Danes far prefer Metal as their genre of choice. Described in the free Roskilde booklet as specialising in ‘warm-blooded and tense death-thrash which is executed ruthlessly with an iron fist’, Hatesphere seem too good to be true. Call us narrow minded, but after giving it our best shot Gigwise could do no other than escape to the bar after only a few songs, looking for anything to prevent our ears from bleeding. We tried, but let’s leave it as their little secret.
Next up are The Raconteurs, who after the last performance sound more like Will Young than anyone else. They may be inoffensive, but they’re still a fantastic live band whose performances far exceed the merits of their below par album ‘Broken Boy Soldiers’. Just receiving the opportunity to see Jack White on a small stage (and relishing the experience) is enough, but the rest of the band are here to prove it’s not a one man show. Brendan Benson brings tracks such as ‘Together’ to life with his bittersweet vocals, while The Greenhornes’ rhythm section pummel their way through ‘Broken Boy Soldier’ as if it’s the last time it’ll ever get paid. ‘Steady As She Goes’ is an obvious favourite and seems to get better the more Gigwise hears it, and a surprise cover of David Bowie’s ‘It Ain’t Easy’ is also marked as a highlight. But no matter how hard they try, all eyes gradually creep back to White as he proves he really is one of the outstanding talents of our generation.
As the sun goes down for the final time, the campsite begins to resemble a war zone more than anything else. Tents are being destroyed, 10 foot structures made purely from debris are springing up all over and there’s a certain feeling that all is coming to an end. But not quite. It may not be the Pink Floyd reunion, but Roger Waters proves wherever he goes that his show is still about as special as they get. Opening with an assortment of solo material and Floyd hits, Waters uses the speakers scattered around the huge arena to their full capacity, just as he did during his memorable performance at Glastonbury 2002. ‘Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun’, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ all get an airing before the main show even begins. After a short intermission, the band returns to play their acclaimed masterpiece ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ in its entirety. For many, this will have been the gig they were waiting for the entire weekend and they were not left disappointed. ‘Breathe’ sends shivers down the spine while ‘Money’ seems to descend from the heavens as the sound erupts from all around us. After an encore including ‘Comfortably Numb’ Gigwise leaves knowing there’s yet another candidate for performance of the weekend.
Through the night, there’s still more to enjoy as the Infadels prove it’s never too late to get the heart racing. Accurately described as trance-rock, the Londoners offer the perfect ending by storming through they’re debut album ‘We Are The Infadels’, instilling some of their spare energy into the flailing crowd. The set leaves the realms of indie and gradually morphs into a rave, and is all the better for it as the large Arena tent is sent into a frenzy for the last time.
Roskilde festival really is a unique experience, and is the perfect antidote to all those bored of the repetitive and predictable nature of many of the UK’s larger events. As the final evening descends into chaos, Gigwise begins ticking off the days until next years Danish excursion.
Originally published on www.gigwise.com