Roskilde Festival 2011: The flashback

Categories: DenmarkFaroe IslandsFeaturesFinlandIcelandLiveNorwaySweden


Roskilde Festival - Photo by Thorbjørn Hansen/RockPhoto

Eight days of music and partying, 130.000 people and 163 bands, the single most amazing technological invention we have ever encountered (yes, it really is that big) and a tremendously tragic end to it all, when a 35 year-old German woman took her own life Sunday afternoon. Roskilde Festival 2011 is now a thing of the past, and apart from the sad events of the last day it was again a good experience in a well-oiled machine, that expect a profit of at least 10 million DKK (approximately 1.3 million Euro, 2 million USD) which is earmarked for charity.

One thing in particular excited us (yes, it’s the technology thing) on a kid-in-a-candy-store level, probably even more. It was simple, effective, stunningly beautiful and we’ve dubbed it: Txt-A-Beer! Imagine, if you can, a hole in a wall with two faucets each mounted on a metal box with a button above the faucet. Now take out your mobile phone, text “Beer 12” to a four digit number, and then wait for it. Waaaait for it… Now! Green light in the button, hold plastic cup under faucet, press button and watch beer flow. Abso-fucking-lutely arms-over-heads brilliant!

Right, back to earth and what Roskilde Festival is of course – also – about: The music. Here are the words on the trip by yours truly, Thomas Brunstrøm (TB) and Peter Krogholm (PK)…

NOTE: All photos by kind permission of RockPhoto, the official festival photographers. See more and buy your favorites at

Who Knew (ISL)
Hitting Roskilde Festival on the back of their debut album ‘Bits And Pieces Of A Major Spectacle’, Icelandic indierock six-piece Who Knew almost tore the roof down with an immensely energetic performance, fronted and always driven forward by stocky powerhouse lead singer Ármann Ingvi Ármannson. It was fun, melodic, very well-sounding and technically flawless with a grand Runrig-moment in the last song of the set (not often you get to call on the Scottish folk-rockers as a reference). Pretty much all you’d want of a concert. (PK)

Tôg (NO)
There’s no denying that Norway’s Tôg have great songs, ‘Sansen’ and ‘Reint Mel (I Påsen Din)’ towering highlights, but they also have the almost opposite (it never gets thoroughly bad, just mildly uninteresting). And so too was their their gig a mix of great moments and monotone passages, where wonders could’ve been done with just a bit more dynamics in and between their new wave-ish neo-disco songs. (PK)

Danish electrorockers VETO have always been great on stage, and they were again in bright shining moments Thursday night, where they’d been given the honor of opening the Roskilde main stage, Orange. I do not, however, understand why they chose to begin with slow burning ‘Already Ready’ off their latest album, ‘Everything Is Amplified’, and throughout the set constantly move from rocking highs to introvert lows, with too much emphasis on the – heartfelt, yes, intense even – lows to really get the party (and festival) started on a suitably high note. That said, not a finger can be put on the delivery – I just wish they’d let it rip… (PK)

1349 (NO)
You have to respect a band that sets fire to the stage before playing a single note. 1349 is Norwegian black metal when it’s at its best, and when they were through playing with fire and actually started playing they certainly didn’t disappoint live. Frontman Ravn looks like a mad cross between David Coverdale and Brandon Lee in The Crow and led his troops through a dazzling, noisy and fascinating set, where especially ‘Serpentine Sibliance’ and ‘Atomic Chapel’ stood out. I’m not really big on Norwegian black metal and I’m probably never going to buy one of 1349’s albums, but if they play at a venue near me in the future I’m going to be there. Oh, I almost forgot: The bass player wore a cowl. I have said it before and I will say it again: Cowls are cool and all bands should have at least one member wearing one. (TB)

Oh Land (DK)
One of the most hyped – if not the most hyped – Danish artists right now, Oh Land, drew a massive crowd to the Cosmopol stage Thursday night, far exceeding the 6000 capacity inside. Thus, I didn’t see much of Oh Land, but what I heard of her enticing electropop, spearheaded by brilliant songs like ‘Voodoo’, ‘White Nights’ and ‘Sun Of A Gun’, was really good – and apparently it looked good, too, with all sorts of dress-up shenanigans. (PK)

The Raveonettes (DK)
Like VETO, The Raveonettes have a new, less rocking album out, and like VETO they put too much emphasis on the introvert to function optimally on the big main stage, Orange. They were simply too far away to grip you (or me, anyway), and would’ve been much better off on a smaller, more intimate stage like the 17.000 capacity tent Arena. That said, they did play well, Sharin Foo looked a million and sang like one, and kudos do the band for not getting thrown off by two power failures in the beginning of the set… (PK)

Soilwork (SE)
Ah, Soilwork… Soilwork were nice. The 2011 edition of Roskilde Festival wasn’t a great year for Nordic metal, but Soilwork certainly delivered and even though the guitar sound was a bit off at times, the Swedes showed in 75 minutes how melodic thrash is supposed to be played. Soilwork really have quite a back catalogue, and especially ‘As We Speak’ from 2002 started quite a jump-fest in the Odeon tent. In a cool way, not – as frontman Bjørn Strid was quick to point out – in a Limp Bizkit-kind of way… (TB)

Kaizers Orchestra (NO)
2011 was the fourth time the Norwegian gypsy-rockers played Roskilde. If they play the festival every year the next 20 years I’m still going to catch them every time. Kaizers Orchestra have a unique sound, they are fun to watch and quite theatrical (sadly no cowls, though), but amidst all the sipping champagne on stage, banging steel drums and general craziness it’s hard not to notice that they are great musicians – and the songs from their newest album ‘Violeta Violeta Vol 1’ effortlessly blends into an already great set-list. (TB)

Ghost (SE)
There has been a lot of talk about Swedish rockers Ghost in the metal community. I never understood why when listening to their debut album ‘Opus Eponymous’, as it sounds like a gang of midgets inside a tin can playing tiny, tiny instruments. I thought that maybe I didn’t like them because of the production. After seeing Ghost live, however, I can say that I don’t like them, because they aren’t very good. Their songs are okay-ish, but their sound is horrible. In my humble opinion anyway. Five of them wore cowls though. One point for that. (TB)

Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O (NO)
I’d only heard one song (‘Next’ streaming on Facebook), but that had my expectations to Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O set to high. That, and the fact that the group comprises members of Madrugada, Richochets and My Midnight Creeps. And they did not disappoint. Not one bit. Admittedly I was horrendously and/or suitably drunk (depending on the eyes etc), so I caught no song titles – don’t think there was much talk from the stage anyway – but my state was a perfect match to the Norwegian gang’s semi-psychedelic rock show with Vegas showgirls on podiums (can’t remember if they were singing as well?), awesome lights and a massive sound. Amazing was what it was! (PK)




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