It’s a good thing no one is hungover and music writers adhere to strictly regimented healthy choices when at work. Oh wait. Activity at the journalists camp is quiet before 11:00 am, but pretty soon raggedy-looking writers are dragging themselves from tents, lacing up our boots and mainlining coffee, to begin a day that starts at noon at the Pavillion Stage with Aarhus-based unclassifiable noise rockers SYND OG SKAM. Live music is a drug and Roskilde is a purveyor of the best kind, and the only thing for your hangover is to pummel yourself into consciousness with a band you heard at SPOT Festival, with plenty of familiar feedback to get us going. The band did not disappoint, with it’s punk rock orchestra sound. There are trombones blaring, heart attack inducing percussion and lots of screaming, held together a weird earnestness you get with young musicians.
From there I wandered over to Odeon to hear HENRY ROLLINS‘ spoken word. Sort of a cross between stand-up, lecture, and punk story time, HENRY talked for an hour on a range topics, including, but not limited to: Florida, Ozzy Osbourne, feeling someone’s boner when they stand behind you at a packed show, Sting, cynicism, George Bush, and being interrogated by Homeland Security. HENRY ROLLINS is intelligent and well-spoken, and definitely a kindred spirit politically with Danish people. He told us “I don’t live to win, I live to fight.” This is someone who is a legend but not nostalgic, and he urged us to look forward to 2013, 2014 and beyond and keep pushing for positive change in this world.
Then it was reunited the Arena stage dark-wave legends DEAD CAN DANCE. For their first show ever in Denmark, they came out looking like the high priestess of gloom: all of them stern faced and velvet clad.
Next it was a bit more lively for SOHN‘s set, a British musician that can be described as singer-songwriter electronica, in the most intimate of the stages here at Roskilde: the Gloria Stage. Inside a building, this dark and intimate space feels like the middle of the night, an ideal complement to SOHN‘s moody electronica. Next it was soul legend BOBBY WOMACK on the Orange Stage. Surprise show was DEN SORTE SKOLE at the Arena Stage. This venue has the capacity for 16,000 under the tent and thousands more at the edge for this Copenhagen based group.
The huge act on Friday was international pop star RIHANNA. People started lining up for the pits at four pm, and scores of fans bought one-day tickets just to see her. She took the stage a half hour late, which is not exceptional for her. I’m sad to say the show was ordinary. She danced and sort of sang, with the lip synch track blaringly obvious. The dancing and general showmanship was sub-par. When you reach the sort of mind-blowingly insane fame and celebrity that RIHANNA has, fans expect to be blown away. Despite all her pandering to the crowd (“I love you Denmark!”) the set was lackluster. She played several hits like Umbrella, Diamonds, and We Found Love, but it wasn’t enough to put her in the upper echelons of true arena music show stars like METALLICA (who played Saturday.)
The evening ended at the electronic Apollo Stage, with resident DJs WAQAR and KASPER BJORKE keeping the crowd dancing until the sun rose.