Roskilde 2008

Another year, another summer, and another Roskilde Festival. This year the sunshine returned to the festival as I opened up my summer holidays by gorging myself with beautiful and surprising music.

I didn’t get to see and hear as music as usual, as earned my ticket working in a Smoothie bar for part of the festival, but I managed to her some good stuff all the same. Here were my favorites from each of the 4 days of the festival:


  • Gossip – loads of fun with their energetic electro-punk. The lead singer is a charming girl with a great connection with the audience. Definitely worth a live show another time.
  • Radiohead – Dreamy stuff. I’m not a big Radiohead fan, but they played a good concert. I felt lifted up and carried away, and when the concert ended, it was like waking from long, heavy sleep.
  • Friday

  • Band of Horses – I haven’t really heard much of their stuff before, but it worked well and was very engaging rock music. The lead singer seemed eminently likable as he smiled at the crowd with his crooked smile.
  • Battles – I heard this from a couple of hundred yards away working in the Smoothie bar. And it sounded quite good from there. Apparently, Battles is an exponent of the Math Rock genre, which I’ve never heard of before. Apart from having a cool name, their music is quite symphonic at a distance, though a friend of mine who attended the concert said that it was a bit too noisy and disorganized up close.
  • Saturday

  • The Ting Tings – Fun and uncomplicated. The Tings Tings consists of a drummer and a singer who also plays the guitar. The tunes are catchy, the drumming is excellent and basically, they play joyous indie pop, which is well worth a listen.
  • José Gonzalez – Swedish singer/songwriter best known for his cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” as featured in an advertisement with thousands of bouncy balls on a San Francisco hillside. His voice was very soothing for a mellow afternoon in the sunshine.
  • Lykke Li – another Swedish singer/songwriter whose melodic and sweetly formed pop is at once melancholic like summer rain and intoxicating like chilled white wine.
  • Saturday night was a night of nonstop dancing for me. From 11 pm to 4 am I oozed from dance scene to dance scene, mixing genres and tempi all through the night. First up was American Girl Talk, whom I’ve heard of from his appearance in the excellent Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy. He mixes and pitches all sorts of music together in a inferno of groovy music where you can recognize fragments just well enough so that you can sing a long while at completely different speeds and beats. It’s remix culture at its very best, and a great performance as well.

    From that point on, my night was positively balkanized between the amazing balkan horns and rhythms of the German band Shantel & Bucovina Club Orchestra, the Austrian DJ Dunkelbunt and an Albanian wedding party hosted by Fanfara Tirana. All three of these were amazing fun with irresistible rhythms and those clarinets playing dizzying, sizzling balkanbeat:

    And in between these bands I also managed to attend the Chemical Brothers show, which was a loud, flashy return to the big beat music I was a big fan of 10 years ago. The combination of all of this music made it a perfect Saturday night.

    A great way to kick-start my holidays!

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