Mind Cleanup – RF16 edition

Roskilde-Festival2

A year and a half ago, while traveling, I met the most wonderful couple from Denmark. I only spoke to them briefly but you know how it goes, sometimes you just need 5 seconds with someone to know you have a click.

Our friendship was sealed after their visit to my hometown some months later, and now it was our turn to visit them. And besides just being great friends, they also gave our trip a major upgrade by giving my boyfriend and me super-special wristbands, granting us access to some behind-the-scenes action (and above average toilets).

It was an amazing week. Let me talk you through some of it!

Music

First of all, there was the music. It’s worth mentioning that the festival gates may have opened on Saturday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that the music terrain opened (for the masses) and the big names starred. The first part of the week was primarily camping ground partying (not to be underestimated). There were also some smaller stages and performances in the so called “warm up”-days. The bands named below are some I feel are worth mentioning as most other reviews don’t seem to take them into account.

Warm-up

One of the bands I saw during the warm up days was M.I.L.K. Kind of an akward looking dude with a bit of a seventies look and a chilled out vibe.

Wednesday

  • And then, when the gates to the musical grounds opened (and the camping grounds were starting to look and smell increasingly troubling), the first performance to kick the whole spectacle off hit me like a bucket of ice cold water on a hot summer day. It was refreshing and energetic, as well as confronting and slightly uncomfortable. It was filled with love, hope and forgiveness. In all honesty at some point I had to sit down because I was too emotional to stand on my feet any longer.It was the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, with Damon Albarn.

    It wasn’t so much the songs themselves, but what they stood for that brought me to my knees. Just imagine dedicating your life to music and finally being able to play in a major orchestra in Damascus and then seeing everything around you being destroyed. Many of the musicians fled the country, some stayed. In short, the orchestra fell apart. And even at Roskilde festival, some members could not be present because of visa problems or other complications due to their status as refugees.

    These incredibly strong people, with their very Arabic rhythms and melodies, did not sing of their suffering (as far as I could understand from their comments in between songs). They played and sang with joy and gratitude for being alive and well, inviting the (incredibly white) audience to join in. THEY were welcoming US… It was as much beautiful as it was painful…

 

  • My personal highlight of the week was a performance we hadn’t even really planned to go to. It was Pat Thomas and the Kwashibu area band, that lured us in when we walked past their stage (after watching Slayer).

Their connection with the audience was so energetic that the whole tent was pretty much bouncing up and down. They themselves seemed to be surprised by the love they were getting from the crowd, as some of the musicians took out their phones at some point to film what was going on in front of the stage. Pretty bloody awesome.

  • Another unexpected surprise was Odesza. All though the duo had already made their appearance in my playlists before the festival, I had absolutely not expected their performance to be as vibrant as it was. It wasn’t just the fact that they were switching back and forth from drum kit to mixing board that made it entertaining, both to the eye as to the ear. It was also the colors and lighting they were using on the very cool cube shaped Apollo stage. It was truly mesmerizing.

Thursday

All though we had had quite wonderful weather during the warm up days (which turned out to be a truly appropriate name) by Thursday, everyone was wearing their rubber boots and fashionable ponchos. Luckily we had managed to find a dry spot when the heavens truly started to pour down on us.

  • As it turned out, our place of dry refuge gave us an audio image (we couldn’ t see her, only hear her) of a very entertaining performance by Elle King. She switched effortlessly between country, blues, reggae and pop. And she turns out to be very funny as well!

If you only know her song Ex’s and Oh’s, as I did before hearing her at Roskilde, do check out her other stuff. She rocks.

  • Our next show of the day made us feel like uninvited guests at a Norwegian private party at first, but the atmosphere was pretty contagious and the songs turned out to be pretty easy to sing a long to; it was (pardon my French) Kakkmaddafakka. These extremely Northern-European looking guys really made me smile, as they sang “I wanna be a gangsta. An original G. So come on, please give me your money”. I loved how they were being so polite about it, hahaha!

 

  • All though I did not stay to watch the whole performance, I was dealt a small slice of “what the fuck”-ness as I walked past Grimes‘ performance. Besides not being particularly good, imho, it had the same weird alien vibe that K-Pop artists have going on these days, only… weirder? Thanks Grimes, you really made me feel old…

Friday

  • Luckily Calypso Rose showed up on Friday to save me from that Grimesy feeling. It was the performance we had been looking forward to all week and boy did she deliver! The 76 year old bootyshakin’ queen of calypso knocked my hat off as she sang: I am the daughter of a warrior. No time to rest or retire. Others have come and gone but Calypso Rose is still singing on.

Even after she had left the stage and the lights were switched back on, the audience was still chanting her name. I swear, she must have put a spell on us! Hail Calypso Rose!

Saturday

On the final day of Roskilde Festival 2016 the camping grounds started to empty out pretty quickly. One of the final big performances on the iconic big orange stage was primarily a big feast of recognition for all the Danish visitors, as Dizzy Mizz Lizzy rocked the podium. All though I had never heard of them before, I think they would do very well in the Dutch charts as well. In the video below they play a medley of three of their most popular songs (I think). If you’re into drums and raging guitars, give ’em a go!

Food

Roskilde Festival prides itself in being a non-profit event, providing really cool projects in Denmark and abroad with funds to make the world a better place. Also, their is a strong focus on sustainability and social awareness during the festival itself (all though the enormous amounts of beer and liquor do make it challenging to stay focused on these topics at times). When it comes to the restaurants and food stalls at Roskilde Festival, only proprietors were invited that could demonstrate that at least 80% of their ingredients were of eco-friendly origin. Pretty cool!

My culinary highlights were:

  • The most commonly served lemonade :  hyldeblomst, aka elderflower!
  • Polish sausages, that didn’t turn out to be Polish
    (the Danish word for sausage is actually pølse, so I have learned)
  • Best falafel I’ve ever had
  • ginger shots
  • Danish pastry

People

I am not quite sure how to sum up all the lovely encounters I had during my week at Roskilde Festival, but it was truly heart warming. I don’t know how the rest of Denmark really is (or how many of the great talks I had with Scandinavian looking peeps may actually have been with Norwegians or Swedes) but from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for making me feel so welcome. Or as one of the Kakkmaddafakkas said:

Thank you for reminding me what normal is

As my blog only covers a tiny slice of what the festival had to offer, I added some other reviews of the festival below:

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Guilty pleasures

We all have them, those songs and artists that we hate to love and love to hate; they’re our guilty pleasures.

Sobby latino songs, Miley sing-a-longs, Rihanna rebel songs, Christina bootyshakers, Nickelback nanana-rock, Gaga-marches; ah yes, there is a time and place for all of these (which is usually around midnight and behind closed doors, curtains and windows :p )

So which songs would make me blush the hardest getting caught singing and dancing along to? I can feel it coming in the air tonight: it’s a list!

1.

This perfectly dramatic song can get terribly on my nerves when played on the wrong moment but when it hits me right, oh my poor neighbors!  Ahora quiiieeeeeeeeeeeeen?

2.

Like many of the fans that were with her from the very start, I was disappointed at first when Shakira started selling more sex than music. When she sings in Spanish, she still wins me over every time though and this song in particular… OK, I’ll say it: I Love it!

3.

Despite finding this guy kind of gross and the fact that I have no clue what he’s singing, my knees and shoulders can’t help but twitch, bob and rock when this songs comes on.

4.

My love for this song brings me back to high school angstiness, which pretty much gives away my approximate age, doesn’t it? Anyhoo, turn it up, here are the Guano Apes!

5.

I never really made up my mind about what I really think of Eminem. I’m always excited to hear new songs of his but don’t really listen to him much all in all. His apparent anger and ultra-specific lyrics always make me feel a strange mix of sympathy and pity. This one song however, is just really kind of cool and encouraging and great to scream along to in the car!

6.

This videoclip always mesmerizes me. It makes me feel like such a terribly arythmic, unflexible, good-for-nothing white girl… which is actually pretty accurate… My goodness, look at what those hips can do! And not just that, it all moves independently of each other too! Amazing… and the song is so catchy too!

7.

The next one I have trouble admitting even to myself. It’s a song by a Dutch folk singer, now deceased, but legendary for the tears he forces down grown men’s cheeks, especially after a couple of beers. It’s one of those songs that the whole pub sings along to whenever it’s played. The song’s title means “Blood, sweat and tears”, which pretty much says it all. Also, it’s the title of the bio pic about Andre’s life.
I am most definitely not a fan, but yes I know it by heart and will channel all the inner pain I have in me to sing it the way its s’posed to.

 

A top 7…. That’s kind of meager, no? Not a top 5, not a top 10… I guess it kind of fits for a kind of wrong list for kind of wrong music… right?

Have a good Friday!

 

November rain

The time of the year has come that Guns n Roses legendary song is played on the radio more frequently. It killed me when I heard some channels choose to stop the song before its climactic second part (let’s call it the funeral part). That’s usually the part where I crank up the volume just a tad more, for that final climax!

Anyhow, I realized that this is a song that is very rarely covered, even in these cover-crazy times… I looked it up to see if perhaps I had missed some talented garage band giving it an honest try, but there was really nothing noteworthy. I did see a bossa nova re-do which should never have happened and some guitarists giving it their all, but with no vocals.

I know this song may be most loved for its guitar solos but come on! The background vocals in the beginning, the heart wrenching guitar-vocal team up at the end. Isn’t there anyone who dares give it a go? Is it that holy? Or is it that hard? Or has it become that uninteresting….?

I guess I’m just as melancholic as the weather and want me some weeping guitars…