Knife Magazine

Summer memories : Roskilde 2019

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Words & Photos by Gustav Frich

Another Roskilde Festival has come and gone, and generally, it hasn’t changed. The camping area still looks like a scene from Mad Max, people are running hopelessly around in banana-costumes, and a beer-bong seems more important than a shower. It's tempting to (do as I did) blame the weather, the omnipresent soundboxes and all the mumble-rappers (that seemed to steal the lineup this year), but of course, the deeper, existential truth is, that I'm the one who has changed - and not altogether for the better.

Though just one year older, my squeamishness, my hangovers and my craving for comfort all appear to have seen an exponential rise. Or that's what I tell myself, as I wake up in the dew-soaked shrubbery of the Backstage Village, a curious place with all the pretense of an actual backstage area, but with none of the glamour.

That being said, my week at Roskilde was also a memorable experience. Some of the concerts were​ absolutely amazing, the company couldn't be better, and I finally visited the infamous Infernal-camp.

Therefore, Knife Magazine presents an unorthodox, illustrated and hopelessly incomplete collection of musical braveries from Roskilde Festival 2019, as per my own hazy and biased memory.

GULLO GULLO

On record, I find Gullo Gullo a challenging listen. It's heavy, abrasive and quite weird. Frontman Anders J. Mogensen once said in an interview with his former band KLOAK, that while metal at the time seemed to convey phallic strength and erection, metal was more about the image of a semi-flaccid penis sort of waving around sideways. Though Gullo Gullo incorporates a lot of doom-ish elements, I couldn’t help but recall that image, thanks to the frantic, hardcore vocals. The wet, but enthusiastic crowd got a show played with energy and attitude.

JOSIAH KONDER

After a lukewarm six-pack from the camping area, I was joined by the rest of the Knife crew in time for Josiah Konder. With several helping hands, the band had expanded its instrumentation to include percussion, cello, saxophone and choir, with impressive sonic results. It is, however, the songwriting that makes Josiah Konder stand out amongst the growing crowd of post-Iceage rockers. This was recently proven on the new single “Fall Away”, which, unsurprisingly, was a climactic moment in the Roskilde set. At times, the sheer number of hired-guns on stage made it difficult to focus, but that was mostly outweighed by the stage presence of the core members, especially the naturally charismatic, suit-clad frontman, Julius Ernst.

BABY IN VAIN X CORPUS

I had not previously witnessed the collaboration, which ran 10 nights at the Royal Danish Theatre, so I arrived at Gloria unprepared. Guitarist Lola Hammerich, hidden behind a glittery wrestler mask, sustained a solitary synth note for minutes, and the packed room was dead quiet with anticipation. The dancers entered, and the show took off. The music was more glam than I expected, or maybe it was just the colorful choreography unfolding, precisely yet playfully, that invoked a different in feeling, coupled with the signature, Baby-in-Vain gloominess. Drummer Benedicte Pierleoni-Nielsen was wearing bunny-ears. Amongst confetti and laser-eyes, there was a real pain in the faces of the dancers. Whimsy and art merged, as Baby in Vain and Corpus conquered the audience.

YVES TUMOR

Yves Tumor entered the stage in plateau shoes and a giant wig, sided by a zebra-shirted shred guitarist. The raw minimalism that I had experienced at Knife Fest in Mayhem some years earlier was gone, but the unique energy was intact. I don’t understand how – but Yves Tumor and his band simultaneously kept their cool with elements of ambient, noise and lo-fi soul, AND channeled Mötley Crüe in a haze of seemingly never-ending guitar solos. The mantra “dare to be inconsistent” never made more sense.

I believe that a festival is equally about experiencing and forgetting. I have no more good recollections or photos to help me, so, therefore, I will, by order of my editor, produce some conclusive remarks about the last of the two.

When reporting about a festival, there are bound to be two kinds of untold stories.

First, are the conscious omissions, things either too trivial or scandalous for text. Some trivialities; Robert plant was surprisingly great. Spiritualized was Spiritualized, in the best sense, while Dylan was dylanesque in the worst. As for the scandals, it will suffice to say that stimulants were taken, colleagues (In lack of a better word, I do not want to imply professionalism on my part) offended, and plenty of general stupidity displayed. All in all, a festival, and a good one. But I think the actual blanks – the memories rendered irretrievable by drink, the dozens of forgettable kindnesses done and the endless bumping-into-old-friends was what made mine, and probably everybody else’s festival. Thank you all.

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