Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival Review: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Daniel Romano’s Outfit, Fontaines DC, Drew Sycamore, June 29

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Picture it: Roskilde, 2019. The Cure are on stage closing out that year’s edition of the Roskilde festival, a festival that I first experienced back in 2011. I was charmed that year by the festival’s setting, its musically adventurous lineup encompassing a myriad of genres, and just its general cool vibe, which Roskilde attendees have come to know as the orange feeling (named for the trademark orange hue if its main stage). And so I decided I needed to return, coming back again in 2012, 2014 and 2019. But after that 2019 edition, it seemed unlikely I’d return.

This is not to say I was dissatisfied with Roskilde 2019. On the contrary – it was as good as ever. Rather, as I stood in that field on the festival site, watching Robert Smith and co. run through a brilliant version of “Pictures of You”, I thought “this is a good note to go out on.” After all, there’s plenty of other places to see and plenty of other music festivals out there too. Then 2020 happened. And 2021. And let’s be real, 2022 has been no picnic either. During a good chunk of that time, live music wasn’t really an option at all. And so, with the summer 2022 season upon us and Roskilde finally making its return to the festival landscape after three years away (and for its 50th edition, no less), all of a sudden I’m like John Wick – yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.

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Also back was Robert Plant, making his return to the festival after the previous edition and touring behind Raise The Roof, his latest collaboration with Alison Krauss. “Three years later,” he said. “Same stage, same tent. With great new friends.” Plant and Krauss put on an incredible performance on the Arena Stage that was one of the most memorable of the night.

Another highlight of the first night of the festival was Daniel Romano’s Outfit, one of the few Canadian acts on the bill this year. And though I may have chosen to take in their set in part because I wanted to support the “home team,” I stuck around for the whole thing because Romano and his outfit are a tight band who put on a hell of a show.

Earlier in the day, Dublin’s Fontaines DC got things started on the Avalon stage. Like Plant, Fontaines DC are also a repeat offender from the 2019 lineup, and in the time since that show, they have only improved as a live unit and put on an impressive show on this occasion in support of the recently released Skinty Fia.

A name that was new to me, but clearly not new to the many fans who flocked to the Orange stage for her mainstage opening set, Danish pop singer Drew Sycamore also delivered a high energy show that would definitely help to set the mood for the days to come.

SXSW Review: Astrid Sonne, March 16, Cheer Up Charlie’s

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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If I was in the habit of ranking music festivals, both SXSW and Denmark’s Roskilde Festival would definitely make my top five. So when I saw that Roskilde would be presenting a showcase at this year’s SouthBy in honour of their 50th edition happening later this year (after a three year pause due to … well, you know), it was the best of both worlds. And when I saw that Astid Sonne would be playing that showcase, I made sure I was there.

I had seen Sonne perform once before, at Roskilde 2019, where she delivered a memorable performance on the festival’s tiniest, most intimate stage. At that show, she absolutely impressed with a mesmerising blend of electronic and classical elements and this show was no different in that sense. In a way though, it was a totally new experience – a different setup, a different accompanist, and different compositions, but Sonne was working within the same general ballpark. And it was brilliant.

During her time onstage at Cheer Up Charlie’s, Astrid Sonne delivered a performance that was beautiful, unique, and fully engrossing. Maybe not ideal stuff for an outdoor venue full of chatty drinkers, but an incredible performance nonetheless.

Song Of The Day: Astrid Sonne – Area Under A Curve

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Things are bad. I don’t have to tell you things are bad.

Yes, I’m borrowing a line from the film Network, but rather than going down the path to Howard Beale-style doomsaying, I’m choosing instead to focus on the things that make us happy (specifically music in this case – we are a music blog after all) in order to distract a bit from all the bad things. And if we’re talking about things that make us happy, Roskilde is one of my happy places.

I’ve attended the Danish festival, held in the city of the same name, multiple times now and it never fails to impress. From the varied musical lineup to the art installations to the general sense of community, the festival has a great vibe and in many ways it seems to embody the Danish concept of hygge. Or to put it in terms most Roskilde attendees would understand, the Orange Feeling.

This year, Roskilde Festival is celebrating its 50th edition (providing everything’s back to normal by then) and while I probably won’t be there, I was lucky enough to attend the 2019 edition, where I saw a diverse lineup of acts spanning a wide range of genres.

Of all the acts I saw over the course of those four days, one of the most unique performances I took in was a set by Copenhagen-based composer Astrid Sonne. Her sound, combining electronic and classical elements, was rather impressive to hear and to see performed live, especially within the confines of the festival’s intimate Gloria Stage.

Check out the video for “Area Under A Curve,” off of Astrid Sonne’s latest release Cliondynamics, below.

Roskilde Festival Review: Whores., Converge, Petrol Girls, July 6

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything | Leave a comment

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At one point relatively early on in the band’s set, Whores singer-guitarist Christian Lembach announced to the crowd that it would all be coming to an end soon. Seeing as how the band was barely even 20 minutes into their set, he clearly wasn’t talking about their show. No, he meant it was ALL coming to an end, as in the world and everything in it.

“Don’t you know the apocalypse is coming?” he asked the crowd before adding, “Thanks for coming out. If we’re all gonna die we may as well all party.” That may seem a little grim for a Saturday afternoon, but hey, you don’t really go to see noise rock bands for uplifting messages. Nevertheless, he’s got a point – you might as well party and there was something of a party atmosphere at their show with a small group enthusiastically moshing near the front of the stage. “Look at you animals all mixing it up,” said Lembach as he looked upon the pit approvingly. The band’s aggressive noise rock (I caught hints of Helmet, Unsane, Jesus Lizard and Melvins in their sound) definitely struck the right note for me on a day that got off to a mellow start, pushing me in the direction of many of the heavier acts on the bill for much of the rest of the day.

Hardcore veterans Converge put on one of the heaviest, most intense shows of the day during their set later that night on the Avalon Stage. I don’t think I’ve seen the band live since the early 2000s (possibly even since the Jane Doe tour … I am old) and was impressed to see the band (especially vocalist Jacob Bannon) hasn’t really lost any of the energy from those days.

As much as I was enjoying Converge’s set, I had to cut out early and make my way across to the other end of the festival grounds to check out London’s Petrol Girls, who also put on an intense show with a strong political edge. The band has a strong feminist message in their music and covers several other issues within their lyrics. Though they were playing a festival show, the band made it feel like a gig in some tiny punk club, building up an inclusive atmosphere and a safe space.

A powerful performance from a band that I hope to hear a lot more from in the future.