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The month of June has been quite a ride. With Distortion, Tinderbox, Northside, Copenhell and the general election now in the rear-view mirror, July is finally upon us, and with it comes the summer’s highlight for many, the Roskilde Festival.
Musically, Roskilde has shifted from its rock and metal roots to a more commercial programme this year with a lineup that’s heavy on the hip-hop. There is no doubt that its headline acts in the past have been grander, but there are still several exciting names to look out for and surely a few surprises lie in wait as well, as they do every year.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
July 1 at 8:30 pm, Arena
Although Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’ continues to be a karaoke bar staple, the Gallagher brothers’ days as a duo are now long gone. The feuds of Noel and Liam Gallagher are well-documented and both have tried their hands at solo projects. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are musically not all that different from the seminal Britpop sound that he helped cultivate in Oasis’ 90s heyday. If anything, there is a more mature, comforting appeal to it – make no mistake, if Gallagher can recapture some of his previous magic, this has the potential to be one of the best concerts at Roskilde this year.
July 1 at 8:45 pm, Apollo
Young Fathers hail from Edinburgh with roots in Nigeria, Scotland and Liberia. Having won a Mercury Prize last year, Young Fathers are steadily evolving into a force to be reckoned with. Flying the flag for British experimental music, Young Fathers draw on trippy universes flanked by a blend of sharp hip-hop lyricism and epic choruses. Their sound that draws quite a few parallels with the music of trip-hop artist Tricky combined with a witty dosage of J Cole-esque influences.
The War on Drugs
July 1 at 11pm, Arena
Some music seems like it was tailor-made for a summer night in Roskilde. Such is the case with The War on Drugs, whose particular brand of American rock mixes a retro feel with indie cred and sprawling sensibilities. Their 2014 album Lost in the Dream was hyped to the heavens with very good reason and should sound even better when infused with Roskilde’s famous ‘orange feeling’.
July 2 at 12pm, Pavilion
Sarabi (a Swahili word for mirage) hail from the Eastlands slums of Nairobi, Kenya and are one of Roskilde’s wildcard entries this year. Socially-critical lyrics alongside well-strung instrumentation and a talismanic lead singer with an exceptional work ethic on stage are what you can look forward to when they take to the Pavilion stage at noon on Thursday.
July 2 at 4pm, Pavilion
One of the lesser-known names in this year’s lineup, Steve Gunn’s music is artistic acoustic wizardry at its best. The sorcery behind it lies in complexly-woven guitar motions drowned in a dark tunnel with strange echoes and ticks flanked by comforting vocals every now and again. Gunn is a deft guitarist and his vocal techniques have a Bon Iver-type quietness to them; music for a more tender, comforting moment at Roskilde.
July 2 at 8.30pm, Arena
Roskilde Festival always delivers the goods for metal fans and this year is no exception. Perhaps the biggest name among the metal acts at this year’s festival is the mighty Mastodon, who should be coming with something to prove. Their 2011 performance on the too-big and too-sparsely-crowded Orange stage was something of a letdown and didn’t come near to the powerful performance they deliver in smaller venues. Better placed at Arena this year and having taken a trippier and softer turn since their last appearance, the progressive metal veterans are sure to be a tour de force.
July 3 at 10.30pm, Orange
The last time Disclosure played at Roskilde, they were billed as an interesting act to look out for. After countless gigs around the world since, the two brothers from London are now established festival headliners despite having a rather slim repertoire of their own music. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Basement Jaxx and Faithless, Disclosure have taken UK garage and dance music back to the top of the charts, which in an age dominated by trashy EDM is a welcome addition of quality to the electronic music narrative.
July 4 at 8.30pm, Gloria
Chelsea Wolfe is something to the antithesis of Nicki Minaj, who will be playing Orange when goth queen Wolfe takes the stage on Gloria. Her music is both incredibly dark and beautiful and will take listeners on a journey that goes throws blasts of crushing rock into quiet and eerie soundscapes. Her unique style of gothic folk has been embraced by underground rock and metal fans and she earned herself wide exposure when her track ‘Feral Love’ was used to soundtrack the season four preview for Game of Thrones.
July 4 at 10pm, Orange
At 73 years of age, Paul McCartney is surely past his prime, if you ask most. Then again, once you’ve sold over 100 million records and won 21 Grammy awards, surely things are only supposed to go downhill from there. The only former Beatle to return to Roskilde’s Orange stage, Knight McCartney has recently collaborated with the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West and Nirvana and is back to touring the world. The Orange scene will be all his come prime time on Saturday.
July 4 at 11pm, Arena
Africa Express is a terrific example of how cultures can be brought together through music. Featuring a varied palette of artists from Africa and Europe, their shows have seen artists like Fatboy Slim, Amadou & Mariam, Paul McCartney and Rokia Traore perform in various venues around the world. Befittingly, this year, Africa Express will be closing Roskilde on Saturday, with names such as Trentemøller, Damon Albarn, Spoek Mathambo and other unannounced acts lined up for what should be a memorable performance.