Roskilde Festival 2011 (June 30th – July 3rd)

This was my 12th year going to the legendary Rosklide Festival. There are quite a lot of cool sounding bands on the bill this year so it will be some busy days. This year I am going alone and my nephew (Scott) is not here.

11:37 I am on the train to Roskilde now and there are a lot of people going to the festival and I just ran into Caroline (singer from Pickled Platypus) and she is going to have a baby in September!

12:30 Check in went very smooth. I took a taxi to the check in from the main station and then headed off for the camp. It must be 1½ km to p105 where Jesper, Dorte and the others are camping have left space for me.

13:18 I had a bit of trouble finding the camp but am relaxing with a beer now with Thomas. Everyone is in a good mood and the weather is nice now but it looks to be changing. Not too hot. At 14 I am suppose to meet up with Tom and Sally at the Van Dame Camp near the E tower for some punk rock!

15:00 That was some crazy stuff with this band Hjortne playing punk stoner rock stuff and people drunk (already), some naked and people really in a festival mood. That was fun. Met up with Anders and Freddy who had a case of beer as well that we need to drink before the gates open at 17.

15:15 The weather is pure shit now… windy, blowing rain but not cold. I am just in shorts and sandals. We are going to get some food near by and try to stay dry. This is going to pass and it will clear up again.

17:30 I am checking out this band from the Salomon Islands (near New Zealand) called Narasirato. It is only drums, flutes and voice but very rhythmic. They have these huge wooden pan flutes. It is pretty cool but gets a little tiring after a bit and strangely they seem to like to play reggae like stuff. It was ok but I was not that drawn in.

18:00 Tame Impala is next at the Odeon and this is some new young band from Australia. No idea what to expect.

19:40 Tame Impala was pretty cool. The songs are a bit too mainstream for my taste at times but they had a lot of delay on the vocals and certainly try to create a cool psychedelic sound and they had a few cool freakout like jams as well. This was pretty good. Next up is a singer songwriter guy from Borås, Sweden (where my friend Anders is from) called Daniel Norgren. This is on the new stage called Gloria and this is a cool new place but hot and stuffy in here.

21:00 Daniel plays real authentic Americana style blues-folk stuff and gave a really interesting and passionate performance. The crowd was into it for sure. Also a nice surprise.

23:00 I managed to get up in the front right section one person from the rail in the 2nd part of this area. A great spot right in front of stunt guitarist, Janick Gers! The stage set up was cool looking but nothing really special going on. The band were really having fun and into it and the crowd was into every song, whether it was new or old. IT was a solid set of mostly stuff from the last few albums and then they thrown in an old song after 3 new ones (like Trooper, 2 mins to Midnight). You can hear the clear difference between the new and the old material, especially on the energy level. The end of the concert was just great with Iron Maiden, Number of the Best, Hallowed be thy Name, Running Free.

Set List: Satellite 15… The Final Frontier, El Dorado, 2 Minutes to Midnight, The Talisman, Coming Home, Dance of Death, The Trooper, The Wicker Man, Blood Brothers, When the Wild Wind Blows, The Evil That Men Do, Iron Maiden, Number of the Best, Hallowed be thy Name, Running Free

24:00 PJ Harvey was on at the same time as Iron Maiden and I would have liked to hear this as well and I was told it was excellent. I could have tried to catch the last 30 mins of this Norwegian band called Next Life but I was not feeling that well and headed back to the camp. Huge party going on in the area as it is every night. Hope I can get some sleep.

Day 2

10:40 Wow! It is late. That sleeping pill did knock me out. It is cloudy and very windy. I will probably not have time for a shower if I want to catch Electric Wizard at 12. I will just have my juice, granola bar and some water and head out soon.

13:00 Electric Wizard was damn cool again. Psychedelic Doom! The drums were too loud and the guitars too low for the first part of the concert but they were great. I am pretty sure it was the exact same set as Sweden Rock a few weeks ago. Crowd up front was really into it. They could use some slower and faster songs to mix up their set as these songs are all nearly the exact same pace.

16:00 Eyehategod, that was a fun concert. The band was in a very good mood and surprised some many people came out to see a bunch of drunk drug addicts from New Orleans! They had great sound and I saw a lot of friends at this Sabbathy sludge doom gig.

17:15 I had planned to try to catch Zun Zun Egui at 16 after Eyehategod but was hanging out with friends and now getting some Thai food with Gustaf and Nina. Next up is sure to be one of the highlights of the festival, Seun and Femi Kuti! I will take some photos of the graffiti, while I wait and rest my feet as well.

20:45 That was totally fantastic! Seun was amazing! They opened up with a instrumental jam piece and then he came out and theystarted with the Fela song Zombie. Next he played a totally amazing song with a killer guitar groove called Slave Masters. Two more songs from his latest record produced by Brian Eno, Let it Grow (and he gave a long pro-marijuana speech) and Rise. That was it 5 songs in 65 mins. Too short. They had a break of about 10 mins or so to change the entire band for Femi and Positive Force.

Femi was also very good but his songs are much shorter and slicker, not as groovy and organic like Seun. Still I liked the concert very much. He played quite a few songs from his latest and most political record. The end was the best when he played a long Fela like track with a chorus Bang Bang. Then Seun came out and this was the first time they had ever played together in Europe together. They performed Gentleman but a much shorter version that the 14 min one on the original record. They followed this by the track covered by a lot of Afrobeat bands, Water gets no Enemy from the Expensive Shit record. Again, probably 6 mins long. I was a little disappointed with the encores. You could tell there is not a lot of love between the two brothers. Pity… Still a fucking great 2½hrs.

22:00 Kurt Vile and the Violators, a new US band that I have never heard of but was told I should check out and man, I am glad that I did! They have drums and three guitars, no bass player and play some pretty cool psych rock. The 3rdsong was really great and psychedelic. Despite having three guitar players they were virtually no solos at all. It was only the 2nd encore song where they had a long guitar solo. A very good concert. I will have to check out their records.

22:55 I saw about 20 mins of Portishead while I am waiting for the Swans. Strange to have this kind of music on the mainstage. Spacey melenchaoly stuff. The 2nd track was really cool and he played some nice guitar. The lead singer, she is scary emotional when they have her on the big screen. She comes across as an old lady who is dying of cancer and showing all the emotions of it. They had a very nice visual show.

24:00 The Swans totally blew me away. Man, I would have like to have seen this at Roadburn but I am glad I did not. These guys are very heavy and also psychedelic! Reminds me of a more psychedelic version of Ministry at times with that same heavy dark emotional freightrain. They put me into a far out trance at time. Great concert. I am just hanging out with Nik (On Trial/Black Pussy) and having a beer while we wait for Ghost at 1:00.

14:00 Ghost that was damn cool and the sound was more massive the lights cooler than at Sweden Rock. They used a lot of fog. I was pretty surprised to hear so many people singing the choruses of the songs for this underground band. I still don’t really connect with their music that much but I like seeing them live, with the costumes, stage set up, etc… Same set at Sweden Rock. I think they play the same set every night.

I caught a little bit of MIA as I was walking past the main stage on the way back to the camp site. That is strange stuff and a huge audience. I am not sure I get it at all. Very psyched out rap stuff. A lot of delays and effects on her voice and this strange break beat, off tempo electronic stuff. Far out. Crazy light show as well. People seem to be in to it a lot.

Day 3

10:00 It is really shit weather now. Very windy and it pours down rains now and then. It is not that cold but it is just nasty out. I will go try to get a shower anyway. First band is not until 13:00.

11:50 I just got a warm shower but it was really crap weather on the way to the shower, super windy and rainy. Yuck… I feel much better now and will soon head over and get some food before Be-Being at the Gloria stage.

12:55 I am hanging out with my Swedish friend Anders at Gloria. We are in the 2nd row. Not a huge crowd here yet.

14:35 Be-Being was damn cool. A 5 piece band from Korea with a harp like instruments, different flutes, this Chinese string instrument that is strummed like a violin but is vertical, drums and a lady who sang and also played some hand drums. They were also accompanied by some Kabuki like theatre which was nice. The music was pretty cool, especially the last piece was really amazing and intense playing. Quite psychedelic.

The Ex are curators for a whole afternoon of music so I went over there and caught a few songs by jackdaw with Crowbar and this was terrible. Pre-recorded stuff with two guys and a guitar player yelling about stuff. I did not get it at all.

15:45 I saw 3 songs by Tallest man on earth, a new young Swedish talent, so they say. This was the hugest crowd I have seen at the Odeon theatre and he was pretty boring and ordinary. I did not hear anything special in this guy playing acoustic songs. Oh well. Then I was off to see some of John Grant at the Gloria before Killing Joke at 16. He was playing the piano and was accompanied by a guy on stand up bass.  He was ok but I did not think he had an exceptional voice or presence. Good but nothing that really grabbed me. It was really hot and humid in this tent.

17:30 Killing Joke started off playing a bit more of their mainstream stuff but really improved as the show went along. The singer is quite a character and totally give 100% to his performance. The band was clearly having a good time as well and the drummer was really good. When they played their hard edged stuff they were excellent, when they played the more catchy mainstream stuff I lost interest quickly. They were really politically conscious and he spoke out about a lot of different subjects.

I am hearing the last part of Kaisers Orchestra while having some food and the crowd on theOrange stage is massive! Their last song was really good and not at all what I expected from this band. The Ex is next.

19:15 The Ex were really damn good with the guest trumpet player named Roy Paci. They did some much more experimental and jamming stuff. The female drummer she is as good as ever and they had a lot of energy and intensity. Excellent concert but a pretty small crowd, surprisingly.

21:00 Oudaden from Morocco just played the best show of today. I can’t see how anyone will be cooler than this. Very cool tranced out stuff with a great vocalist and a guitar player who liked to play a lot of solos. They only played 5-6 songs in an hour and I was totally sucked in. Sadly the song I shot the video of was the least cool of all the tracks they played but the ending is good. Great stuff.

The weather has changed radically in the last hr and there has been thunder, lightning and pouring down, heavy heavy rain. It is going to be a muddy mess later. I am glad that I decided to wear my boots and had all my rain gear with me. It takes at least 30mins to walk back to the camp so I bring everything with me so I don’t have to go back the whole day.

22:50 I have been trapped in the Pavilion tent with the rain and I heard some of this American hardcore band called Underøath and it was not that interesting. Yes… They are intense and scream and yell and they have a guy who makes some electronic white noise and sound to give the band a tiny little extra dimension but not that interesting.

Congotronics, Awesome tapes from Africa or Kemiasset Ystävät from Finland. I made the wrong choice and went for Congotronics and this was interesting in that they had 19 people on stage playing but in the end I did not like it much. Members from two different bands from Congo mixed with some people who sing like mainstream pop music. It just did not work for me and I am not really a fan of the east African music much. So then I went down to the Awesome tapes at the Cosmopol and this was a guy with a box of cassette tapes (yes, he had real tapes) and he mixed this up with some techno beats and rhythms. Some of it was really really cool and sometimes the cool African music was just drowned out by his thumps. Not bad but I heard the Finnish band was super cool and like Tangerine Dream. Damn…

13:45 I have been watching Deadmus on the mainstage while I wait for Spids Nøgenhat. What a super cool show this DJ has. He must feel like he is the king of the world with 50,000 people in front of his techno throne! It was a super cool stage set up and amazing lights and visuals for sure. Some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen for electronic music but sadly, his music is not very interesting at all. Eat Static would be so much cooler. He is pretty far out sometimes though as he really teases the audience with slowly ramping up the frequency and building up and then slamming the people with techno beat and thump and the crowd erupts. Very intense to see and watch.

15:15 Spids Nøgenhat totally blew me away. The best concert of the festival! They played most of the songs from their one record as well as covers by Røde Mor and another. The visuals were great, the band sound excellent and psychedelic despite the drums being too loud. The ended the show with a very emotional song by Aron. I think all those in the tent were blow away. Fuck! I am tired now and it is getting light out and it is very muddy out there now. 30min walk in the mud back to the tent. I pray my tent is not full of water and our camp area is ok.

Day 4

8:55… I am totally blasted. The people were up late making a lot of noise and drinking until the sun came up. I got like 3 hrs sleep after a 14hr day and feeling pretty wrecked. It is very hot and sunny out now and you can’t even be in the tent. It is roasting. At least there is a little wind. I will lie down outside my tent in the shade of the others for a bit. I need to figure out if I will go home today or not.

10:20 We have heard that they got 15 cm of rain in Copenhagen and huge parts of the city is flooded including the main train station! The festival site recorded 3cm but it seems to be drying up quick. It is not bad around our camp site at all. I am not sure what to do, as I am so tired but there is some cool stuff today with Tarrus Reily, Afrocubism, Bad Religion, Graveyard and Yemen Blues.

12:25 I just had the excellent morning brunch at the Thailanna place for 80kr. Spoke to Tom and Sally and I will drive their car back later today. We will decide if we stay for Graveyard or not.

14:00 Tarrus Riley and the Black Soil band were the only reggae band at the festival this year so I had high hopes but sadly left disappointed. There must be some cool roots reggae bands out there that are not so influenced by mainstream music? The band started off with an excellent instrumental track with some cool guitar and sax soloing. Then a guy, who I thought was Tarrus came out and sang three tracks that were pretty good but still slick reggae. He had an amazing voice. A great singer, then they announced Tarrus and I was thinking, well, who the hell was that guy then?? Tarrus was a real let down and not nearly as good a singer as the other guy and the music turned into some sort of soul music, not even reggae so I left quite disappointed.

15:00 Bad Religion did not have that massive a crowd and I could get in the front section without a problem. There music is not really going to come across that well on this huge stage. It was fucking hot and I was melting out here and very tired now. It was pretty sad to see the state of decline that this band had taken since the last time I saw them back in San Francisco in 1993 when Green Day opened for them at the Warfield. They really have totally lost their edge and the singer just does not have it anymore. The old songs still sounded good but the new ones were all nearly the same with this pop punk catchiness that I get bored with after one or two songs. People were having a good time though.

16:00 Afrocubism, this would be my last concert this year at Roskilde and I really quite enjoyed this fusion of a group of musicians from Mali and Cuba! The music was really good especially when they were more on the Mali side of things. The tent was very full with people. I heard the entire concert from outside the tent in the shade. Cool band. I had hoped to catch Yemen Blues at 18:30 and Graveyard but was just too tired and Tom and Sally were ready to go as well.

My favourite bands this year were:

Spids Nøgenhat

Seun Kuti




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