ROSKILDE FESTIVAL 2009, Denmark
Written by Theis Rytoft Nielsen
Roskilde Festival is the biggest festival in the Nordic countries and is well-known for its ecological and environmental profile. The programme consists of eight days of beer, booze, sweat, fun, crazy experiences, you name it! It is during the last four days that the actual music starts. Before that, up-coming bands get the chance to prove their worth at the Pavilion-scene which is the second smallest of all seven scenes. That is the so called “warm-up programme.” I grabbed my gear and hit the festival in the afternoon on the first day of the music programme!
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
The Wolves had the honour to be the opening band at one of the scenes, ‘Odeon’, on the first day of the music programme. The sun was shining brightly at 5.30 PM when they entered the stage and started their lengthy black metal onslaught. Unfortunately, they never stood a chance in engulfing the audience who were totally dead, except from a little mosh pit that took place for a few minutes. The band seemed frustrated at small points since they were unable to make the crowd go wild. Aside from that, they were really enthusiastic about their head banging but were unable to put much effort into spreading their shady atmosphere across the audience.
The sound was great throughout the concert as the band tried to fill out the stage with their performance, which never worked really well either. Their effects on stage along with the light were highly disappointing and even though Wolves in the Throne Room had a great intensity, it never paid off in such a sunny setting.
I have never been a big Satyricon fellow but at 1 PM. I certainly was! Being a fucking crazy time for a black metal band to play unless the weather is rainy or cloudy, Satyricon had the time in the latest dice roll. I could almost see Satyr (front man) manhandle someone or smile viciously because of the challenge! Nonetheless, Satyricon hit the stage and after a few tracks they had the audience as travel companions on their path of darkness. People were pulled further and further into their black tones while the band was on fire with Satyr leading everyone down the road.
Mosh pits assembled to the right and left side of the stage. As well, they had a really nice sound this afternoon on all the instruments. The horns were thrown in the air and if some people doubted doing it, Satyr convinced them with his fist and an angry expression! Apparently, Satyr really liked what he saw from the certain members of the audience as he said: “I have been told that we can’t encourage you to do a mosh pit but we can play “Fuel For Hatred!” Satyr is a great asset for the band and I especially liked when he took up a statuette symbolizing the “Y” from their band’s name and pointed it in different directions. Satyricon did all the right things and the big crowd awarded them with their gratitude shown in moshing, horns and fists and not to forget, head banging! The band itself also seemed to enjoy the concert when they gathered at the middle of the stage to bow and smile at the audience.
Mixing a lot of sounds, Isis has created a unique appeal and has managed to get many fans to appreciate their special style. I had been looking forward to see this concert, especially after listening to their recent CD; WAVERING RADIANT, but my anticipation was not fulfilled at all! I had presumed that we would get a ticket into the circus of Isis’ lullabies; instead it was greeted by an uninspiring physical performance from the guys in the band. Their concentration seemed to be focused on the musical expression as if they were playing in their own session room. For that reason I got bored, as did many other listeners who left the tent during the concert, and the tones never manifested in my mind. They approached in a monotone way influenced by the reduced passion and presentation of the band members.
Unfortunately the festival had decided to put Isis on the programme at 4 PM in full sunlight, which regrettably had a major impact on how good the concert was. I am sure the experience would have been different and better if Isis had played later in the day.
A lot of faithful warriors had gathered at the concert before Amon Amarth to get a place amongst the Einherjar in the Golden Hall. We waited long for the ship that would take us into the fog of war and finally they arrived: Our great brother’s of the North, Amon Amarth! With their ship, they brought great pyre effects and devices that really set the setting for the night’s raid! As soon as they hit the shore, they took us aboard with the opening track of their latest album: “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Immediately when the guitarists started the first tones of the show a mosh pit gathered! This demonstrates how excited people were to see Amon! And we all got more than we bargained for when the bass and drums joined in! Unfortunately the vocals needed much more volume from my standing point just in front of Johan Hegg. It got better when they had played 7 tracks or so but a big shame! Surprisingly, it did not ruin anything for me since all the members of the band had an outstanding desire to do this concert! It was almost like a burning veil in their eyes when they played “Live for the Kill.”
All the people who were there to check the band out must have been amazed by their passionate performance and smiling faces. I love to experience that from bands; you can really see how they enjoy being on stage and present their music to an audience!
Amon Amarth surprised me since they played a big amount of songs from their new album: “Twilight of the Thunder God”, “ Free Will Sacrifice”, “Guardians of Asgaard”, “Where Is Your God?”, “Varyags of Miklagaard” & “Live for the Kill.” “Varyags of Miklagaard” especially stunned me since I haven’t seen it on many of their set lists. Another surprise was that “Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags” was not included in the set list! I had really looked forward to that song and been certain they would play it due to its popularity amongst the fans.
Their latest album is very great, but six songs is a lot in a limited set list of about one hour. I would have loved to see old songs like “For the Stabwounds in Our Backs”, “Bleed for Ancient Gods”, “With Oden on Our Side”, “Where Silent Gods Stand Guard” and “Across the Rainbow Bridge.” Altogether Amon Amarth put on an astonishing performance that released my inner rage as I shouted together with Johan Hegg on “Thousand Years of Oppression.” I loved every part of the concert and can’t wait to see them again.
Hailing from Canada these guys had travelled a long way to spread a metallic wrath at the Roskilde Festival! A lot of people had also made their way to the Pavillion stage so if Cancer Bats could pull it off, everybody could go home with happy faces.
I assume the front singer of Cancer Bats had a big smile on his face when he travelled home towards his bat cave because he was on fire this evening! He was fiercely wild as he made his way around the stage head banging and shouting at the audience! Sadly, he got too monotone as the concert progressed. Especially one specific sentence annoyed me: “Give it up for this motherfucker [insert song]!” It got too much when I had heard it for the fourth time.
Along with the front singer, the whole band seemed up for this concert when they entered the stage and after a few tracks, the audience really joined in on the songs! A lot of head banging marked this concert and Cancer Bats’ music really seemed to fit the Roskilde audience this Saturday afternoon. The band also played a cover of “Sabotage” from Beastie Boys.
A concert with an intro of melodic music always gets me excited. That was what Darkane had decided to do this Sunday at 1 PM. making for a great start and ending the concert with a good outro. The time between was a mixture of different proportions: The band did not seem fired up to perform except for the front singer and the drummer who both made a nice entrance to the stage. As the concert continued their efforts in this gig got better and better though which also affected the audience tremendously well.
Unfortunately the acoustics was unacceptable as the melodic part of Darkane’s music was impossible to hear properly and stayed that way through the whole concert. A huge shame since I think it is one of the most pleasant aspects of their music.
I am not well-versed in Darkane’s complete discography and had a hard time distinguishing the sound in the tracks because of the mentioned problems. This ruined a lot of the concert and I was bored at many points.
A huge praise to the band though, since most of the members came down to talk to the audience and sign autographs immediately after the concert! That is definitely not a thing you see often nowadays.
Pics from the festival grounds are on page 2…