This day started off really slow. Sunday's are tough days for both festival-goers and performers alike. However, there were four shows I was amped to see. First off, White Lies, a four-pack of 21 year olds from London, absolutely blew me away. Lead singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh is a treat to watch. Although he is much younger, he sounds a lot like a combo of Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal from Tears for Fears, Tom Smith of The Editors and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. McVeigh, along with Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums), Charles Cave (bass) and Tommy Bowen (keys) play really ear friendly, dance friendly, lyric catching indie rock. Moody and dramatic, but completely appropriate, I can see what the hype is all about. They came out and absolutely killed their set, and the audience sang along to every word and danced wildly while McVeigh bellowed out his dramatic lyrics. He's a fist-clencher and I totally subscribed to it. Not only did they play all of their hits but they treated us to a Portishead cover as well. I will 100-percent see these guys again. A great performance and really great songs.
|Crazy Danes... Roskilde Festival 2009|
Whitest Boy Alive surprisingly turned out to be a great dance party. I love these guys, but think of them more as a relaxing summer day, chilling by the pool, cocktail in hand, kind of band. Not so. Well, yes they are, but they're also really fun to dance to. The crowd at the Arena was huge and everyone was feeling these guys, who by the way look like the nerdiest, whitest boys alive. I was not expecting lead singer/guitarist Erlend Øye (also of Kings of Convenience), a tall, skinny guy with glasses, to have a major stage presence. He did. Although they described their sound as being an electronic dance music project in 2003, they are currently happy to be a band with no programmed elements. Their music is jazzy, funky, jamband-like, dance provoking, sing along friendly and laced with synths. Øye interacted a lot with the audience during the performance as well, making for a really fun show. They're playing several festies this summer so I'm eager to see them again.
Next up at the Arena was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They definitely put on a high energy, exciting and visually stimulating show (the giant eyeball is a nice touch). Lead singer
Karen O is a ball of fire and rocks OUT on stage. I felt like I was watching the Pat Benatar performance I never got to see growing up. From what I saw, Miss O is a dramatically fantastic performer and if you like the alternative, garage punk scene, this is the band for you. I only caught a couple of songs because the lines to Coldplay were literally 1000 people deep and I was not about to miss being up front for that show.
|Roskilde Festival 2009|
Coldplay. Holy Coldplay. So, there is a reason they are insanely popular. I think people love to hate this band because of their success, but I think they are 100-percent worthy of it. They've been popping out amazing song after amazing song since 2000 (remember "Shiver," "I'll See You Soon," "Trouble," "Yellow"?) and they haven't slowed down. Viva La Vida, their latest, was at the forefront during this performance, but they pleased everyone with older hits. They actually opened with "Clocks," which immediately put everyone in a great mood. They also played "Green Eyes," "God Put A Smile Upon Your Face," "The Scientist," "In My Place" and "Politik"... not that you could hear anything Chris Martin was singing since the crowd was so loud. They did a couple of songs off stage as well, including a five-song set in the middle of the audience. The highlight of this journey to the center was when they played an acoustic "Billie Jean" and had everyone singing along, accompanied by a cell phone light wave from front to back. The moon was full and stunning, which might have something to do with the restless, enthused crowd. Every time there was a quiet moment, the audience would chant the middle part of Viva La Vida - "oooooh ahhhhhooooowaaaah" - and throw their hands into the air. It was not lost on the guys and they kept amping it up more and more for us. Confetti flying everywhere, huge bouncy balloons floating above us, a rousing encore, a solo song by drummer Will Champion - it was unreal. Nobody left after the show was over, just more and more chanting both towards the stage and up towards the full moon. What a way to end our first festival overseas!
This was an absolutely stunning festival, any way you slice it. It will be really hard to beat this one, in terms of size, energy, friendliness, performances and green awareness. Denmark has done it right and I will be back again. Mange Tak!
Continue reading for a few more pics of Roskilde Festival 2009...