It’s hard to believe I made it to Sunday at ROSKILDE FESTIVAL 2013 without losing any limbs. I saw several drunk/unconscious people get carried out, two of them hoisted over the front pit barricades. I saw three different people with temporary eye patches (beware projectiles.) I saw some people dressed up like Teletubbies. I watched five guys wearing red button down shirts and black ties, doing synchronized dance moves during the KRAFTWERK show. I saw a group of obvious non-vegetarians with stuffed birds on their heads (owls, seagulls, so forth). I saw more than a few people completely doused in beer. Far larger than all I saw was what I felt: the anything-goes vibe, the orange feeling, held together by alcohol, fans and smiles. Here are the highlights from Sunday.
The fun began with feel good garage/surf punk upstarts FIDLAR, who had a 3 pm slot at the Pavillion stage. Zach was doing noticeably better than their recent set in Berlin, where he could not sing due to laryngitis. The audience loved them, evidenced oh so clearly when Zach asked fans for weed, not one but two fans obliged with a joint and a dime bag. The trotted out crowd pleasers like Whore, Max Can’t Surf and Wake Bake Skate, and a DESCENDENTS cover.
After saying hi to drummer Max I walked over to Cosmopol Stage to see AZEALIA BANKS. A female rapper out of Harlem, NY, BANKS has a brash and confident style that threatens to bring down the old-boys-club that dominates mainstream rap. Some critics have labeled her “homo rap.” Wherever you are with that term, basically it shows how rap and hip-hop have gotten so misogynistic that whenever you don’t sing about drugs, bitches or money you’re suddenly distinguished. This set was one of my favorites at ROSKILDE FESTIVAL 2013, and everything RIHANNA’s set should have been but wasn’t. Despite a half hour delay (due to technical problems) the set started with her backing DJ, DJ COSMOPOL. BANKS exploded onto the stage in a black and fluorescent striped full bodysuit, with strategically sexy cut-outs. She was shaking her mane and booty and gave an eager crowd exactly what they hoped for: luscious and sexy hit after hit, with an in your face delivery that makes you feel like you need a cold shower and smoke afterward.
Not long thereafter, Canadian turntablist KID KOALA (you know, who made plenty of awesome music before he was in this little band called GORILLAZ) was on the same stage just half an hour later. This is a real DJ, and a real showman. I don’t know if I have enough room to cover everything that happened: three dancers dressed as mid-century radios, members from the audience doing the limbo, paper airplanes, kazoos and t shirts thrown out into the crowd and all backed by the upbeat mixes that mash everything from blues to soul to modern-day electronica. Unlike other people who call themselves DJs and just get up and spin some knobs on a synthesizer, KID KOALA uses real vinyl and real skills, to bring his energetic and feel-good mixes to Roskilde.
Winding up the day, rockers THE NATIONAL and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE played, I won’t lie and pretend I was there, because I was conserving my strength for the reunited grandfathers of synth, the ur-band of electronica, KRAFTWERK. They brought a show that started strong and got a bit sleepy toward the end, with absolutely no stage banter but a stage design that was all Tron-and-Atari-tastic. They handed out 3D glasses to the crowd so we could enjoy the visuals floating out from the big screen.
At this point, I’m hanging with two New Yorkers from Metalsucks.net. This festival saw me in the company of Danes, Germans, French people, and more than a few Brits, who all get honorable mentions. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of drinking with New Yorkers, just say yes and you won’t regret it. After KRAFTWERK’s somnambulant set, (cool videos, 3D and so forth can’t keep the band from sounding dated, they mentioned the KGB) I’m just about ready to crawl in my tent and lay down heavy load of reporting on Roskilde. But no! Wrapping up the eight day festival is Bosnian band DUBIOZA COLLECTIVE. In the Arena tent, the highlight of this band is the part when one of the metal guys picked up a completely disgusting and filthy sock monkey that was lying on dirt floor and threw it at me. Grit in my mouth people. Made me extra pumped to chant along to “Fuck the police!”
So there you have it. The culmination of five days, 195 bands, over 100,000 volunteers, all taking place in the worlds largest temporary city. Roskilde Festival: see you next year.