Roskilde 2006 (Denmark)

Denmark Denmark | | 30 June 2006

Roskilde Festival, Denmark, 26 June-2 July

A peculiar, paradoxical experience, Roskilde is undoubtedly a festival of confusing contradiction; the campsites are scenes of devastation almost from day one, yet from the air the tents are arranged in neat square sections, there is a carefree approach to spending a penny – or a Kroner – in that anywhere goes and the locals go anywhere but the toilets remain clean throughout, while the sense of frantic hedonism, as is perfectly illustrated by the amount of personal space people are afforded for dancing, never threatens to develop into disrespect for fellow festival-goers.

Compare it to an English equivalent and the contrasts are even more marked. For starters the festival is located in a town but the acts play long into the night without incurring the wrath of local curtain-twitchers, upset that for one week of the year they can’t take their 4x4 to the park and walk their golden retriever. Unbelievably, the beer is more expensive too, probably because it comes with an actual taste, but the crowd are much more drunk.

What stands out the most here though is the enthusiasm of the punters for the acts. They love live music, really love it, in a fanatical, fierce and obsessive way; in fact they would probably stalk it and post it obscene, naked drawings of themselves riding a giant cock-shaped guitar if that were possible, such is their passion for literally every performer on show in Denmark this weekend.

Editors are first to realise this given that, save for the likes of the hilariously stony-faced Norwegian thrashers Purified in Blood who warm things up on Wednesday, they are kicking-off the festival-proper on the Odeon Stage. It’s obvious that the opening of the gates four days ago only served to whip up the frenzied crowd, who are so desperate for some action that they maniacally whoop and clap every time a roadie tweaks a string. Perhaps nobody has told them that it’s not party anthems on the agenda, but brooding, Brummie-rock.

Nevertheless, Editors seem to thrive on the salivating zeal of the drunken Danes who mouth the wrong words without a care. They’re energetic and aggressive, Tom Smith forcefully pirouetting with his guitar wedged under his armpits at about Level 42, as they rip through 2005 debut ‘The Back Room’. ‘Blood’ sets the pulse racing, every beat backed by rhythmic claps, and when they wheel out ‘Bullets’ and the rest of the big guns, neck hairs quickly stand to attention. It’s a better than promising start to the weekend and they even make a decent fist of a brave ‘Road to Nowhere’ cover.

Despite her name Jenny Wilson is actually Swedish and whilst being poles apart in terms of style from Editors she attracts an equally excited tentful. Bounding on stage dressed like a giant tulip, her outfit is disregarded Bucks Fizz-style early on to reveal a heavily pregnant stomach. She gets shoulders and toes twitching with a bright, harmonic mix of 60’s girl-pop and electronic-edged summery jangles fittingly commencing as the sun breaks the clouds for the first time.

You can say what you like about Axl Rose, that, for example, he looks more like a cross between James Hetfield and Mick Hucknall than the bandana-toting God of old, or that his new material has taken more than twice as long as the Second Coming to emerge. You can even suggest that nobody knows who the fuck his band are nowadays but you certainly can’t argue that he isn’t still, wrinkles and all, every inch a rock ‘n’ roll behemoth and when he takes to the stage – accompanied of course by his gut-ripping chainsaw voice – it’s hardly surprising that pandemonium ensues.

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Photographer: Sara Bowrey

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wrote on Friday 15 June :
Guns!!!!!!!!! N!!!!!!!! Roses!!!!!! Best freakin' band Ever!!!! Now its Just Axl But who cares!!! I still love the other integrants! Slash,Duff,Izzy and Steven! or even Matt and Gilby Clarke

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