Roskilde Festival 2018, Day One: Slaves get sweaty and St Vincent stans Nine Inch Nails

'Danish Glastonbury' has started - and it's very hot

Roskilde Festival in Denmark has officially kicked off festivities for its 48th year. The home of cricket burgers, Europe’s best party village and people running naked for free tickets, the ‘Danish Glastonbury’ certainly has its own spin on how to have fun drinking warm beer in front of a big speaker. Here’s what’s happened so far.

The festival got off to an extra-sweaty start as Slaves turned up the heat (and the ridiculous volume) in the Pavilion tent. It was the band’s first show in Denmark, but the Kent-natives’ brand of loud, brash punk rock had clearly struck a gritty chord on the international stage.  The tent was packed out with eager headbangers, leaving the stragglers to push each other around outside in the 27 degree evening sunshine and dust clouds. “THIS ONE’s CALLED ‘FUCK THE HI HAT’,” screamed drummer Isaac Holman into the distressed mic. “FUCK THE HI HAT, FUCK THE HI HAT,” he snarled, bodies clashing beneath him, before heading off on his own crowdsurfing mission into the horizon – soon disappearing into a blur of flesh and sweat. 


Later, axe-wielding goddess St Vincent emerged in full latex robot mode for her evening set on the Arena stage. Bewitching the arena with an ambient red glow, Annie Clark commanded the stage with a fearless confidence – the kind that’s needed for thigh-high boots and cynical indie pop (Who knew ‘Los Ageless’ would be such a great festival banger?)

Those of us who were looking to be tapped in the feels were treated with an elegant outro, with St Vincent rounding off her set with a pained rendition of ‘Happy Birthday, Johnny’. Bleary-eyed, and with her poker straight bob now decidedly ruffled, Clark looked like she’d been on an emotional rollercoaster by the end of her masseducing set. (You and us both, Annie).

As dusk approached, the Real Slim Shady stood up. Taking on what is thought to be Roskilde’s biggest ever main stage crowd, Wednesday headliner Eminem played a jukebox hitlist for his first ever Danish performance. “This might be the largest fucking crowd we’ve ever seen,” he told the assembled masses. Most were unable to see more than the top third of the side screen, but the atmosphere generated by the 45-year-old rapper’s sheer energy and charisma was enough to get 100,000 people slamming their arms up-and-down to ‘Without Me’. Read the full report here.

Closing the first day of music were Nine Inch Nails, who put a stranglehold on any post-midnight fatigue with a strobe light show of such an onslaught that had audience members were putting on sunglasses as midnight approached. Opening to ‘Branches/Bones’, Trent Reznor and co made the ground shake with groaning reverb and volume. From the brittle menace of ‘God Break Down the Door’ to the industrial throb of ‘Closer’, NIN’s set made for an attack on the senses and the spirit. In an ending that was part uncomfortable, part awe-inspiring, Reznor led a mass-singalong to ‘Hurt’ for the band’s final track. St Vincent was in the crowd somewhere, stanning with everyone else.


Experienced NIN at Roskilde,” she wrote on Instagram. “Thought I broke my nose moshing for a second but it was chill. YES. YES. YES.” 

Nine Inch Nails’ setlist was:

Less Than
March of the Pigs
The Frail
The Wretched
The Lovers
Shit Mirror
Ahead of Ourselves
God Break Down the Door
Copy of A
Gave Up
The Great Destroyer
Burning Bright (Field on Fire)
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

Roskilde continues tonight with Superorganism, Khalid, Stormzy and Bruno Mars.