Fleet Foxes! Fleet Foxes! That was the cry I heard in 90-degree heat as people ran to the Arena Stage to see the Washington natives. I have seen Robin Pecknold and company several times and was excited to see them in such a different venue. Under an enormous dirty blue circus tent with people crammed all the way to the front and spilling well out of the sides of the four-posted tent into the grass, this certainly was a different local. The guys started slow and precise, as they usually do, to show off their vocals and immediately shush anyone who doubted their skill. The crowd was getting a little antsy (Did I mention the heat? Where were the cup of water throwers when you needed them?) and sensing it, the boys really started cranking it up. "White Winter Hymnal" and "Ragged Wood" were perfect back-to-back sing-along songs for the crowd to get behind. Once the flow started, the Foxes started to have some fun with the long time slot they'd been given. "Should we do it?" asked Pecknold. That meant, should we play Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams?" Answer: "YES!" Fleetwood Foxes, what? For the first time ever, the guys played this old school gem and everyone loved it. They were laughing through the whole song, commenting that they had officially become a 'jam band' and that they were taking over for Phish. I don't think that translated to the crowd, but I appreciated it. Speaking of appreciation, I have to say that Pecknold's beard has gone to a new length of amazingness. He was sweating profusely up on stage and it's no wonder. Between the excess hair and the long flannel and jeans, there was bound to be some water works happening on this blazing hot afternoon. All in all, they had a really great time on stage, kept talking and laughing with the crowd, commenting on the bizarre flags that people were waving (as Walt pointed out, it looks like we're either off to war or to a soccer match), thanking everyone over and over. The first lines they sung perfectly summed up this day, "What a life I lead in the Summer." Amen to that.
|Robin Pecknold - Fleet Foxes :: Roskilde Festival 2009|
The Mars Volta was another highlight of the day. These progressive rockers annihilated the Arena Stage just when the sun was starting to set and the pre-stay-up-all-night energy was being released. I had never heard them play before and my overall impression was simple: these guys are crazy talented. Read Kayceman's recent feature on the guys to get a better feel for what they are about. I couldn't keep my eyes off the drummer Thomas Pridgen (just check this clip out), with his dreads flailing around and his ripped arms beating the crap out of his instrument. Lead singer Omar Rodriguez Lopez was in perfect form, extremely energetic and wildly spirited. A sound that fits in no genre, these guys are worth seeing live for sure.
|The Mars Volta :: Roskilde Festival 2009|
I left Mars Volta before the set was over and ran to the Orange Stage just in time to hear, "Hi ya cock-lickers." That was Liam Gallagher's warm welcome to the huge crowd Friday night. Ahhhhhh, Oasis. This was the show I was most looking forward to Friday and I was not disappointed. In fact, they blew me away. I've seen them before and I'm used to the tantrums, the drama, the lack of enthusiasm. This was not the case tonight. Liam and brother Noel had played Roskilde back in 1995 when they had just put out Definitely Maybe, the fastest selling record in U.K. history. Tonight, they got an upgrade to center stage at prime time and they rocked everyone silly for over two hours. "Live Forever," "Wonderwall," "Lyla," "What's the Story Morning Glory?," "Slide Away" and "Roll With It" made the crowd go nuts and at one point Liam said, "Are you having a good day? Well, it's about to get better." He might've even smiled when he said it. No, strike that. He did, however, stick his tongue out and put his tambourine on his head. He did this repeatedly as he blankly stared out into the audience, which apparently meant he was having a grand old time. "It's been a real joy to play for you. It takes a lot to put me in a good mood, but you've fuckin' gone and done it." He put us in a good mood, too. Noel was left on stage alone a few times to serenade us with acoustic gems, the highlight being "Don't Look Back in Anger," where he stopped singing and let the audience carry the entire song. Chills. Many people singing at once is pretty amazing but 100,000 people singing at once is... wow. Tears were flowing all around me. They ended the energetic set with "Champagne Supernova" followed by "I Am the Walrus." All in all, the highlight of the festival to this point. They're cocky, but they have reason to be - they're really fucking good.
I caught only a little of NIN because I wanted to get a prime location for Röyksopp in the Arena tent. Trent Reznor, although older and now engaged, can still rock his audience into an absolute, mad frenzy. People were going bananas as per expectations. Röyksopp, however, was a musical collective I had never seen, yet have been enjoying for a while now, so I wanted to see what they were like live. For newbies, they are an electronica duo from Tromso, Norway. Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge have been producing underground electronic music since 1998 and have amassed a major following (hence the enormous crowd for a 2:30 a.m. set). You might've heard their song "Remind Me" in that annoying Geico caveman commercial? Let it be known they are much better than that one song. Tonight they had special guests join them on stage (including Euro star Robyn) throughout their very theatrical, high energy performance. Costume changes, power punching, dance moves and moody smoke waves coupled with high octane, sweat-producing songs made for a wild set. When translated, Röyksopp means "smoke mushroom" and I can see why after watching their hallucinatory performance.
|Oasis :: Roskilde Festival 2009|
Continue reading for Saturday's coverage from Roskilde...