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Roskilde Festival 2002 : Roskilde, Denmark

Denmark's four-day rock jamboree tickles the pleasure zones that other outdoor rock events can barely even spell...

Roskilde Festival 2002 : Roskilde, Denmark

Glastonbury has the edge in magical ambience, no question. But when the weather, toilets, maximum-security fence or dismal band line-up let you down, Roskilde comes through like the best festival friend you ever had. Every June, Denmark's four-day rock jamboree tickles the pleasure zones that other outdoor rock events can barely even spell.

Saturday night belongs to OXIDE & NEUTRINO and their SO SOLID CREW family, shunned by Glasto but hailed like drum'n'bass Viking warriors in Denmark. With just three MC's on stage, this is the pared-down mobile infantry of the Solids army. But still they deliver Roskilde's most hyper, spring-loaded performance, with no hint of bad-bwoy posturing.

Meanwhile, on the Orange Stage, NEW ORDER are in spectacularly shambolic, sarcastic, fuck-you mode. Then comes an almost-magnificent PRIMAL SCREAM, with Bobby Gillespie again resplendent in white Jagger-esque frock coat. The Scream surpass themselves when they mash up Krautrock with post-punk with electro, but cod-classic rock'n'rollers like 'Medication' and the new bluesy ballad 'The Lord Is My Shotgun' sound clumsy and creaky.

But hey, forgive my non-Danish cynicism, because Roskilde is also full to bursting with summery surprises - like an impossibly youthful and healthy-looking ARTHUR LEE fronting the latest line-up of fragrant Sixties psychedelic-latino-soul survivors LOVE. Or an inspirational TRAVIS, sounding luminous and lovely under the Nordic sunset. Sneer all you like, but these mellifuous Glaswegian populists provide the perfect full stop to Europe's finest fresh-air rockfest.

Stephen Dalton

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