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Things ain’t shitty these days, I got Prague legs from walking this city. That’s the way to do it. Walk around, reconnect, and feel at home in another city. The choirs are singing, people are thinking. Everyone, smoking away, everyday. The history is overwhelming my mind, I think through the ages, from the beginning of this city till now, every single face experiencing the same place at distinct moments. When you see that, you think crazy, how’s it gonna be? twenty years from now, two hundred years from now, twenty thousand years, two billion years. Destiny takes hold of me and I meet the right people at the right time. I meet a devoted friend on Karluv Most, it has been 5 months since we’ve seen each other face to face and we pick up right where we left off, “how you doing”, “good”,”good”. We begin walking and talking, heading towards the location of our host for the next two nights. When we arrive at Holečkova, we are greeted by Layla, a free-spirited young girl living in a flat with artists and musicians who are living for now with no interest in dirty dishes. We’re offered a mattress, fresh tea, and strike up conversation about life in Prague, the job opportunities and rich music communities. We’re given suggestions on what to do and where to go so begins our Old City journey. We take the tram to Narodni and make a pit stop at 5 Star Pizza Kebab, an ordinary looking joint where the kebab is unquestionably the best in Prague. We are in good spirits and energy levels rise to excitement, and as those scientologists say, excitement attracts excitement . We hop through countless themes, traditional czech bars, trendy crap, student cafes, a russian vodka club, until we get to Sherlock’s and things start happening. There’s a jam session going down and the big guns are out. The players are ferocious, armed with weapons of mass intensity. The beat hops around with a bounce accompanied by a funked up bass, each soloist gets the reaction they deserve, ranging from a golf claps to a whistle, holler, and a hoot. The night is young and already a plethora of moments take my breath away. Drink up more absinthe and down more czech beer. By now, the music is red hot when flat-mate Tomas appears out of the blue. Everything is “fucking brilliant” with him and many laughs are had. The tone is set. We grab another kebab at Five Star, a beer for the road, and march uphill to Holečkova.

Waking up in a new city, feeling like a million bucks, I’m ready to explore every dirty nook and cranny. To supplement the good vibration, summer greets us in late October, the weather saturates the mood of the place and life is good. With a bread n’ cheese breakfast on the bridge we take off to the National Gallery on foot and pass dozens of faces, among the flock are; young students on school trip, asians on invasion, seniors checking off their bucket lists, couples on a romantic getaway, and me, a man without a plan just coming and going. Carrying on to the Slav Epic, I cannot handle how one man could produce a series of work of such magnitude. The paintings delve into slavic history and folklore with a dream-like interpretation that communicates truths beyond space and time. The exhibition touches on deep rooted emotions and it’s epicness is unparallel to any other historical paintings I’ve ever seen. You are consumed into Mucha’s world. A world that lasts eternally. The only escape was the force of hunger, a call we were reluctant to answer but did so out of necessity and curiosity for local cuisine. That’s when we found Lokal, slav food on Dlouha, where you can get your meat n potatoes with a fresh, cold pint. It’s tough to fuck up meat and potatoes but, to master it with simplicity is another level of enjoyment on either side of the kitchen. After having our fill we set out to find the Metronome. We were told that it’s the best view of the city and it lived up to the hype. It is the burial ground for the largest Stalin monument with a damned good view. Today, Uncle Joe is long gone… now, it is a chill zone and the site of a huge fucking metronome where you can measure how long you can stay high on life. Slowly but surely, day turns into night and we catch wind about what is happening tonight. It’s happening at Cross, a multi-level music venue with different themes on each floor. What was once an underground basement club had now turned into an art installation fun house. There’s heavy metal music coming from random corners, ska night happening in a basement turned steam-punk bar, and the junkies are bottom floor in a dodgy drum n bass room keeping danger alive. The word of the bird is Skandaal, we meet people, enjoy the music, and live vicariously through ourselves.

The next day, my friend and I take different paths, he travels to Poland and I stay in Prague. Physically speaking I am alone but it’s ok. Where to go, what to do, who to talk to, what to say. Today is my brothers birthday and I’m gonna do whatever we’d do, so, I write a letter to the united states and treat myself to McDonalds coffee and a blueberry cupcake. After a while, I have chinese food. And after that, beers with the beautiful soul, Dasa. A day of walking, thinking, and talking through Old City and a night of relaxation, fun, and laughs around Bubny and Žižkov. When you meet a stranger, you can say anything so you gotta watch your words. Words are dangerous and sometimes difficult but there’s a feel to meeting people and you can smell the bull. You can feel people out with a blend of honesty and humor. You can be sincere or talk jive, you can give em both ears or tell em to shove it. You can be a passive puss or an opinionated ass. These encounters prove to be enjoyable because you end up learning about yourself. What would you say or do.

The following morning I take a walk through Parukářka, a park on top of a hill with the finest view of Prague. It made me feel massive and Prague has that effect on you because your perspectives are always changing when you’re walking up and down hills. It’s a bit like urban hiking. Being a walking enthusiast, it really soothes the head being on these journeys. To stick to the zen, I walk through aisles of an old cemetery and find myself among good company. The dead are relaxed and in a deep rest. We enjoy a calm, quiet companionship however my reservation isn’t booked yet so I return to land of the living. A cab driver once said “you can’t enjoy a nice day six feet below” so I make plans with a guide for Prague castle where my guide provides me with anecdotes and pieces of history to help me understand her and the culture she’s in. I am just listening, observing, and engaging. From my point of view, Prague Castle and the Cathedral are assertive, the only way to escape their grip is leaving the city. They tower over the land and remind you who’s the boss with the cash to build and rebuild. Because money ain’t a thing to these institutions, it’s an illusion, just a tool to control you and me. Think about living without money. What would you do? It’s tough to imagine. To change our dependancy on the current system would mean to destroy everything. To throw people into chaos and start from scratch. I think I might love that but it feels impossible so when I get money I enjoy it.  Money pays for a roof over head, puts food in the fridge, and builds a huge fucking horse statue in Vitkov.

The road less traveled involves choices with an allure to take more risks. Not knowing what happens in the next moment keeps it interesting. You’re allowed to slow down the hands of time and dive into the present. Going against the grain seems insane but, the lust for now is overwhelming and I don’t feel any pain while growing old like the city. Prague has become a part of me. Some honorable mentions from the trip, taking coffee in a cafe, drinking czech beers, listening to strangers, and moments of shared happiness. I think Prague is probably the most beautiful city I’ve seen in my life. The architecture is most obvious and the first impression is lasting. It feels like a magic kingdom, a real life disney world. The city is crowded during the day and lively at night. Music fills up space and your immersed in the life of the area. The personality of artists and musicians cast a reflection of the city and from what I’ve encountered they are both easy-going and intense about work. I think that is attractive. Food and beer is especially cheap and that allows one to indulge in merry traveling.

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Stepping off a short flight by way of plane, I’m riding the night train towards something unknown. Always staring out a window thinking simple thoughts. Welcome to Berlin, this is Germany not France. Inside the metro, I’m bit by a sharp yellow light and I’m paralyzed watching the world go by with the people I care about. Bonded by bewilderment, they too are experiencing firsts and at this moment Berlin is way too tired but the excitement has arrived. We’re getting closer to the edge here. Great citizens of the German republic are all over the streets, including the populous minorities and the ever present authority. Everyone is out, sub-citizens digging through trash, tough turks lurking on dark corners, african immigrants hustling and bustling with a variety of non-essentials, eastern europeans making a better life, asians running restaurants, americans sounding stupid, nationalists feeling proud yet ashamed, liberals fighting for change, tourists with khaki hats and huge SLR cameras. Politics is stinking up the air with a raw energy and tensions are ringing heavy chords through the streets. I’ve been teleported to another world and I cannot recognize the look of the place, nor the looks on your face or the everyday things. Green trees, grafitti, new families, cats n dogs, all the shizer on the strasse. I could be anyone here and I’m soaking in history with my own eyes. I only care to see as much as I can, to listen and understand but everything smells shitty and I’m aware of what’s going on when I’m not here. I ordered an adventure with moments of bliss and small bites of shit. It leaves a funky impression on my taste because Berlin is not just another city. Berlin is a good place, it’s cheaper than most places and has a good rating on the fun factor. Money goes further and you can get wasted on scenery, food, and drinks. Had one of the best kebabs in my life, the cheapest beers tasted great, and generated a surplus of good energy with the ones I love. A lot of laughter and healthy promise for an adventure delivered in real time.

Like Berlin, here’s cheap food for thought to cultivate discussion.

Walking about the city and looking around, listening and smelling, all at the once. Life is going on and I want to know the local people, the side streets, the big buildings, but everything is at face value and I’m welcomed with a light reception. This is ground zero of World War. Bullet holes survive on buildings and I think to myself “shhhhitler”. I can remember once upon a time being unable to distinguish the difference between fiction and non-fiction. From a young age, he was the most exotic character in school books. You could pick Hitler out of any large crowd. Nowadays, it might be possible to change Hitler into a pop-culture icon, give him the Andy Warhol treatment, make the swastika cool again, and let the innocent children experiment with his iconic stache. It was, and still is a scary story to tell the kids. Death, of Black Plague proportions. Heaven, hell, and the abyss backed up with all the souls crossing over to the other side. How about what’s happening right under our noses with these photoshop pros pulling societies strings. Could an invisible holocaust exist? What is worse than a holocaust? What’s the absolute worst thing to happen to someone? Genocide, extermination, annihilation. What about being denied your humanity, a decent living, and a right to live free. As long as you can fall back on your couch and watch the new drama reality, World War 3, the new TV series that’s exploding your mind with sex, power struggles, money whore-ship, guns and violence. It’s great to see all this bullshit on TV but it’s not real until all you ever had starts to change and you wake up in chains.

I think about my home country America and I imagine if all history, sculpture, museums, art, books were destroyed. What would happen? How kids would be raised without all these tools to shape and reinforce history is funny. I think it prevents the evolution revolution for idiots because conclusions are good enough. That statue has been there for years so yep it’s real. The TV said that, so yep it’s real. George Bush indirectly killed people but he gets his own permanent library because he’s a family man. Why do we kill each other? Does being a family man justify murder? I fight with myself in my dreams when I’m destroyed of conscious thought. I’ve killed people in my dreams so I try to be more good and less evil in real life.

Not sure where I’m going with this. So let’s move to the main course of the story.

When I took a seat against a concrete pillar in the airport and checked my phone reading “Jan. 6 1980” my perception of time went off axis for a few moments, I’d been shaken out of reality and felt that I could be existing at anytime and everything would remain the same. In 1980, I could’ve been anyone. In 2080, I could be anyone. That’s when I came up with the train. We choose which trains we’re going to ride. We city-folk hop on trains everyday for the weekly grind, sometimes you might hop on a night train to see another town or a long distance runner to escape the world. Some journeys last long, some as long as you’re sentenced to work or raise a family. Some get on and others get stuck. But time is a choo choo train. Here’s a thought on rails, we’re going somewhere but it seems like most people on board can’t slow down or take a moment to see and feel things. The first step is freeing yourself from within and deciding hey I can get on or off at anytime. The collective whole human condition is a runaway train fighting itself and I’m looking out the window in eternal wanderlust. We’re all riding the pain train and it keeps going and going and going. Until Van Damme, Seagal, or Willis step out of Hollywood and fight these motherfuckers who highjack our thoughts than we’ll continue to head to war, continue to struggle with poverty and soon enough we’ll be too dead to do anything. Train keeps rolling, rolling down the track, gonna take me home, gonna take me home. Gonna sit on my couch and scratch my ass because I’m OK.

Waking up in the wee hours of Berlin to catch the return flight back to Copenhagen proved to be a trip.

In my head is a city always in crisis and I’m forgetting why I’m here.

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RainbowSanktHansRainbow outside my window.

My dreams have grown in intensity this month and I’m trying to figure out what it’s all about.  Three nightmares in two days.

  1. I am in my childhood bed at my parents house. The bed is surrounded by sea water and a star-fish squid figure is trying to hurt me. I continuously stab the water with the tip of an umbrella until I vanquish the creature into a black liquid. I look out the window and see a full-moon. Tides shift and the water from my room recedes into my parents bathroom where my father is struggling. I rush in with a towel and successfully stop the water from flooding the room. I awake feeling concerned for my father.
  2. I am by my friends deli in my hometown where I have a vanilla ice cream with my good friend Tom. I have to urinate and unbuckle my belt near a garage. There is a spanish dude watching me. When I turn around there’s about 70 working class immigrants in the area getting free pizza from behind a truck. I ask for a slice. A figure begins giving a speech to the crowd and at the blink of an eye everyone is in Nazi uniform. The young leader comes up to me and performs a baptism of some sort and places his thumb on my forehead. Someone from the crowd yells in a foreign tongue and a police car appears. Everyone scatters one way and I run in the opposite direction. The cop car chases me and I awake with a hummingbirds heart rate.
  3. I am at my friends basement and we are starting a new band. The idea is to write down band-names on paper and vote on the best name. Then I am at parents house and I cannot recognize anything. The dinner table is white and the lighting is very bright. I turn on a vacuum and there is something wrong with the electrical outlet. I spill water on the vacuum plug and the wire begins to spark. A fire starts and smoke fills the room. I cry to my mother but she is not there. I open a sliding door and throw the vacuum outside into a pile of snow. I wake up with tears in my eyes.

Loneguy

Captured this image on a long bike ride north of Copenhagen.

My bike is a great vehicle of freedom and I really enjoy riding. Especially so during a downpour. I hide my electronics, grip the handles and put the pedal to the metal. A roller coaster rush of blood begins  and I’m screaming with my whole body enveloped with madness. Riding in the rain, zooming by people cowering underneath store canopies. I scream, laugh and cry. They look at me and see an olympic champion swimming down the avenue. I’m going for gold until I hop off my ride.

But anyway, here’s a lyric I wrote for this lonely statue.

I am alone

Alone again

Where is my head?

In another bed

Where am I?

Stoned, where I stand

It’s empty

Silence so loud

Run away with these words

Everything ever heard

The ghosts by the window

Watching me eat

Sleeping with me

Fucking me

Tapping the walls

Trying to say something

I hear nothing

Nothing but ringing

Silence so loud

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Malmö festival was the self-prescribed experience for festival withdrawal. It produced euphoric effects in small pockets and nourished cravings but there was a price to pay in kicking the habit. Unforeseen challenges and general naivety made the trip memorable with brute intensity in a dead city. What I mean by dead is that I didn’t see any edge to the place, nothing was really happening (besides for festival), the living stay home inside their coffins while the dead play in moderation before the swedish reaper politely asks em to return home. The one and only liquor store closes mid-day, the bars close shortly after midnight and the store-beers are just awful. Searching for excitement in Sweden is like looking for good basketball players in Denmark. On any given day, there’s a 25% chance someone might show up and a 50% chance they’re decent so usually you end up shooting hoops with no one to challenge you but yourself. What I mean by intensity is going for a ride with little money and surviving on the streets. The first bad omen was losing 10 kr. to a coffee machine and not being able to make sense of how to get the money back. Not a big loss but a loss nonetheless. We learned that most places accept our Danish crowns but the exchange is received at a one to one ratio with the Swedish krona. So, any time you buy something you pay the higher swedish prices and lose a little extra on top with the exchange. It’s a lose lose situation. We were forced to count every crown, luckily we saved money sleeping around town. 

Stepping off the train into Malmö central station had me gung-ho about the next 24 hours. Nothing was planned and the only item on the itinerary was hard alcohol. A bottle of whiskey is like bringing an extra sweater to wear underneath your skin. The hard lesson we learned is hard alcohol is not easy to get. There’s one store, owned by the government, and it closes around 5-6 pm. The control over alcohol shows up on the faces of the citizens. I’m the only guy beer in hand during Mikael Wiehe‘s main stage performance. He’s an older fella, playing music your grandparents can enjoy. Good sound, good songs and good musicians. His stage banter danced around like the tip of a conductors stick and all I could understand was “Bradley Manning” and “Julian Assange”. Getting fizzled off 2.5 % alcohol beverages we venture further into festival area and are struck by two beautiful sirens killing it softly on stage with chill-wave sensuality and steamy soft-core vocals. They’re called Say Lou Lou and that’s either a french expression or infant yap. The best part was how beautiful these girls were and I think 100% of the male audience thought so too; daydreaming of sharing an early morning vanilla yogurt with these girls in a white room on an all-white bed. I left reality with a blood alcohol level of .01 and thought I might never come back. I fell further into hypnosis by Anna Viser‘s gyrating hips at an oriental dance exhibition. Lovely ladies young and old, of all pan tones, moved them bodies to an ipod bumping world music with the accompaniment of a live percussionist who gave the doumbek hell. Shifting rhythms and alternating currents produced a visible connection between body and sound. The crowd of Malmös minorities yelped, hollered and whistled with cheer. These dancers would have been exactly what the saudi prince had ordered. Capping off the night of music was Linnea Olsson and she hit a grand-slam, an expression nobody here understands. There’s a young princess on stage with her cello, looping bass lines, laying melodies on top and delivering a powerful vocal. Each number is stunning, the crowd responds with standing ovations and she is in total control of her sound. She’s a cleaner version of Björk armed with a big classical axe. I felt beyond satisfied by that performance and so began the exploration of a non-existant night-life. With no money and no where to go, we crashed by a coffee shop that had suitable ikea furniture outside. It got damp and chilly before I could count to 2 am. 

Waking up in an over night freeze, we had to go to the nearest indoor facility open at dawn. McDonald’s welcomed us in with open arms. Hot coffee and a cheeseburger was like taking a hot shower after a week long grind. No one is about but the alcoholics, homeless, and employees of this sanctuary. Walking around sleepless in the early morning felt like being in the perfect movie where everyone is fulfilling their script and nailing their roles. The bus driver arrives at 8:55, picking up tired actors and dropping off the new cast into our scene. I’m not part of the movie, I am just an observer but I can’t shake this strange feeling any longer and it’s driving me up the coconut tree. I want to break free, improvise off the script and piss on the director. I had lost my wits so I drowned myself in a Zywiec and took a nap riverside. The stale jazz music sure helped me in to a state of intense day dreaming right until the sound of a distorted guitar had shaken me out of unconsciousness and my operating system hit reboot. From Dead Air shook up the festival with heavy riffs and an inspired performance by a growling vocalist. They seemed young, like they were just beginning their studies at university and deciding if rock n roll is a plausible life choice. The drum/bass mix wasn’t right but the performance was exciting, relaxed and full of good humor. With friends moshing, older folks curiously observing, and me getting energy from the band it was time to go and explore for more. I had found it in Klubbkören, a 30-piece choir providing a nice mix of RnB, dance, hip-hop, and world sounds conducted by a hipster band leader. The band leader is bringing energy to the choir with his funky dance moves, cueing vocal lines with flamboyant hand gestures and flashy movements. I was fascinated by the concept and the vocalists as individuals proved to be very powerful. A good-time was had and a cheeseburger was well-deserved. The final band, The Driftwood Sign, was not anything spectacular, just young fellas doing a heavier Pearl Jam. The drum sound was particularly disappointing, a non-existent kick drum ruined the whole sound for me and the band. The tent was packed and people enjoyed it but I was ready to pack it in and get back to the Mediterranean of the North. 

Overall, it was more of a cultural learning than a music festival. What really irked me was how much street food you could possibly pack into a city center. I guess food festival is part of the package, among the art stuff and other important happenings. Just a handful of stellar moments among the throngs of beautifully restrained Swedes. The inability to get inebriated gave me the sober perspective of everyday culture. You need to make some money to enjoy all the expensive food and drink. To make that money you gotta find a producer who’ll give you the role. Feels like a weight on the soul that I’m not particularly interested in. I wish I liked making money and some people think that’s a poor excuse but maybe it’s a poor motivator. I don’t really know where I’m going with this but I don’t think I would go back to Malmö as I much rather spend time in Copenhagen where things are happening. You can make shit happen without money. But you’re in shit when money doesn’t happen. Invest in yourself, your soul, and a money tree. 

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By the end of Langeland festival I was relieved that this paragraph of my life was coming to an end. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy my stay in the danish country-side, I was just worn out by the week-long family vacation. All good things come to an end and I was glad that my stay had ended with a tranquil over-night drive back to Copenhagen.

When I think of Langeland, I hear the theme song that must have been played everywhere within shouting distance at a rate of brainwash. I spent time partying in the tents doing the hill-billy ho-down and you hear a lot of danish folk tunes that bring natives from a two step shuffle to a stomp, hop, and a clap. It feels like a polka and brings out the inner bunny rabbit. These are like typical country-side barn-yard bon-fires that bring all-ages together for good-times. It’s the place where Lasse met Linda, Soren met Stine, and Claus does his penance for the church of beer. These ceremonies are like going for a swim in the community gene pool. When the recipe of physical attraction, dance skill and social charm cook together in a stew you never know what it will do. The younger boys are naturally shy, learning and observing the mating rituals of older males. The inexperienced have to learn the game quickly and instinctively replicate dance moves that are cool.  Older males are confidently rolling the dice with anything and everything that resembles feminine figure. Young girls are fending off about 99% percent of males only inviting the most attractive and charming mates. The more intoxicated the female, the easier she is to fool with false confidence and shitty genetics. If she keeps her wits and uses her wisdom than she will select the best mate. It was always her choice to begin with since the beginning of time. This is the power of the pussy.     

I hadn’t ventured into the festival area until danish pop idol Medina hit the main-stage. Disco balls shattered and young girls cried their eyes out as their idol was only a stones throw away. She’s got a sexy confidence to her stage presence, nothing flashy or over-the-top just her band and the music. Her voice held strong through-out the set and delivered number after number with sweet emotion. 10 minutes later and I’m joined by friends to see “non-american influenced” danish hip-hop act Østkyst Hustlers. I’m expecting a page out of the Beastie Boys Bible but instead get a whole new testament in performance, story-telling, and crowd interaction. The music can be described as a bluesy blood sugar sex magik with deep pockets and bluesy licks. Every musician is given the spotlight treatment and nail their cues, sinking the audience under the table. The 3 MC’s tell everyday stories and turn them into poetic performance. The good-times are rolling and the crowd is sliding left to ride, hands up in the air, bouncing to the one-two-three. I couldn’t understand a single word that was spoken but I fully understood the message. These cats are doing their thing and having fun… one line I had translated was  “We might be getting old. But the thing is… so are you!” And with a roar they launch into an encore and leave the crowd in a frenzy. Closing the night was Alphabeat, a danish party-band with sugary soda-pop harmonies lead by a young male and female duo with support from pop-corn beats that have you bouncing till your kernel bursts. The lead male has the charisma of a pre-pubscent teen watching his first porno going bananas all over the stage wanking his tambourine and exploding confetti into the crowd. The lead female is a slice of cutie-pie that probably tastes really good. They drop an ecstasy bomb on the crowd and teenagers fortunate enough to be at ground zero take their excitement back to the camps. 

A band that didn’t seem to fit the program was 90’s rock band Saybia, with a main-stage audience that was too young, too old, and not all too present for the performance. I could at any moment stand front-row if I wanted but decided to stand third row as this was my first exposure to their sound. Their sound is akin to danish rock act Kashmir & early-Radiohead without the melancholy. It’s a marsh-mellow camp-fire sound with deep stories and touching moments through-out the performance. The next act comes from a recommendation by a drummer dude who I met earlier in the week and as expected the drums in this act were upfront and a force to reckon with. Pretty Maids are years past their prime but still deliver a good rock show with a charming front-man who resembles Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler. It’s the danish interpretation of LA rockers Motley Crue and Guns N Roses. It’s tough to get past the superficial layer and think that these old men look a bit ridiculous but they’re the keepers of the metal key waiting for the next generation to take hold.  

An unusual performance was given by peace-loving, socially responsible band Outlandish. What I mean by unusual is that the back-up musicians talents out-shined the performers in vocal deliveries and instrumental intensity. The group is fronted by three MC’s of different minority decent, a latino, a moroccan, and a pakistani. Their message of love, peace, and respect for all human-beings is a nice message for the kids but I felt like there was a bit too much cheese and not enough meat on this sandwich.    

I guess it’s worth mentioning some of the bigger names who were there but, not really there. Tina Turner, U2, Lynyrd Skynyrd. You get the point. The older folks really enjoy that kind of stuff but I doubt they even know where Sweet Home Alabama is. Year after year these folks will return to the island summer tradition that is Langeland, where the skies are so blue. The areas surrounding are very beautiful with narrow tree lined paths opening up to sun-tanned wheat fields and colorful houses planted along streets that breathe a sea-side charm.  

This festival is made for families because their is a lack of edge in the atmosphere. First, their is a noise curfew and if that doesn’t shout “old-timing” than I don’t know what does. Second, there is the all-danish music program which is a mix of old and new pop-acts, rock bands and child stars. You have a kid zone where children can wild-out and indulge in imagination. You have a youth-camp where teens and pre-teens are experimenting with alcohol and the opposite sex. For young people, it’s the plan B if your parents did not let you go to Roskilde and you want to train for Roskilde-style partying. For older people, it’s the festival experience where you can relive those crazy times and bring the kids too. 

I think about all the faces I’ve met and spent time with. The shared ideas and perspectives gained. Flowing in the present with intimate strangers. This is what the tour experience has been to me. Coming home to dwell on your experience and what you’ve learned. We are always alone looking for a connection yet we’re always disconnected. When I meet someone, I always think that this is the last time I will see this person ever in my life so I better make sure my impact is a positive one. Learning to be yourself without any censors. Filling life with sweet surprise and genuine gestures. Letting the right people in. Not giving a fuck and drinking too much alcohol!  

Poppies WaldoCamp Dream DrummerComedian Apolo Applause AssedOut Balance Bookbag Bowling CampBurtReynolds CampPingPong ChurchofBeer Dick DJs Doctors Faceless FeatjerHill2 FestivalRadio July4th FuckHypocrisy GameCity Horseman HossDoppleganger Jesse Lakeside LakesideOld Lightnap LongassWord MetalCamp Mickey OrangeStage PhilCollins Sombrero Spiderman Windmill Unicorns Sunset

I’ve never tried heroin but I hear that it is heaven in a needle. I’m not a fan of narcotics, nor is Roskilde, their slogan this year was “against drugs” yet the Roskilde experience is like being on drugs. Here I am, the 26 year old virgin to festivals of this magnitude, it is like entering the belly of a giant beast, being thrashed around the digestive tract and vomited out in one piece. You come out with a new perspectives asking yourself, what the fuck? The Roskilde environment is one of controlled chaos. You have what seems like unlimited freedom for a short amount of time. It goes by quickly and it’s tough to live every moment to the fullest. There are ups and downs, moments of positive energy and moments of exhaustion, feelings of community and loneliness, excitement and enlightenment, wonders and hungers. The waves of energy would look like the seismic activity of San Andreas fault on a bad day. It’s a utopia from civil society where big ideas are presented and opinions are acknowledged, challenged or accepted. It is a beautiful expression of the human condition. For me, the Roskilde metaphor is we are here for such a short amount of time that we should live and love to the fullest.

The music started for me while I was unpacking batteries at Volt headquarters. It was a Monday and I heard music coming from a near-by tent. After soundcheck and midway through the first number I thought I would take an early lunch-break and see this out. It was an unofficial live show in a backstage tent attended by a dozen or so volunteers by a band known as HÉRÖ, a gypsy surf ensemble with foot-stomping bass lines, balkan beats, surf guitars, and soloing violin. Intense melodic lines from strings interjected with shouts and one-liners by a front-man donned in a sailor cap. It only went downhill after that performance with all the house music that pounds you from every angle of camp. It was like everyone was armed with sub-bass weapons and attempting to mug you for your patience. But patience is a virtue, it’s a trait that no one can take away.

First big stage experience was with soul brother, Bobby Womack. All the little girls are sitting on the floor reserving their space for Rihanna and I’m dancing like an old ass man to the chunky funky realness. I’m loving it, the musicians on stage are making their rounds with Bobby leading the show. “Bring it down boys, let’s bring it down so we can here my brotha blow that brass.” From open to close it was a soul-shake down and I was brought back across 110th street. And then it was the wait for Rihanna, 15% of the Roskilde budget and it was what it was. Kids screaming while this black cat struts with sexy gyration and street beat humps. To go along with image is a GQ band, a really awesome black drummer and overall good pop songs. I’m just not buying into the whole package, a bit too gangsta for a young lady like her who is one year younger than me. Crystal Castles is a drug without drugs. The music, lighting, and performance is a methamphetamine without taking the damn thing. Alice Glass is rock n roll, thrashing around stage, screaming, fucking, drinking whiskey, smoking weed while the two other fellas are holding it down and keeping the energy way up. You need to be totally absorbed or your tank will run out quick. Caught the last 2 songs of The Blue Angel Lounge coming down off the Meth I had just experienced and it was a nice change of drug. It was like coming to see Peter Gabriel back from a safari with Joy Division vocals, tribal rhythms/percussion and post-rock guitars. I was running on fumes and passed out in my tent in seconds flat.

Henry Rollins Spoken Word was a pleasant surprise and had a lasting impact on my festival experience. I think there should be more spoken word events mixed in with music events. This guy has some awesome stories being a punk rock frontman for decades and has met more people than any CEO, politician, or president. He’s really down to earth with his fans and continues to work-hard on his performance. He touched on topics of suicide, drug abuse & politics with the main point being take care of your body, keep pushing forward no matter how hard your struggle and become a catalyst for changing the world. Wake up every morning with a goal to kick ass and make a difference. Efterklang had my attention until the heat drained me of energy. I needed the relief of shade and a cold beer. They have a great band with a charismatic front-man opposite a female who takes lead every so often. A top class indie act that has risen from grass-roots Copenhagen to the world stage. Kris Kristofferson has balls the size of Denmark getting up on the main stage with nobody but his acoustic guitar. I hadn’t payed much attention to his music being a few beers deep and wrapped up in conversation. He was playing for the people chilling out in the sun, resting from a week of party, and fans who sat-up with ears fixed towards the stage. Quadron, the main squeeze for many danes with her latest 2013 release, is an artist who became big in America before gaining popularity in her home country in Denmark. Quadron is also what you get when black and white have a baby. My female partner was really feeling the sensual sounds and interpreting them in a sexy way while I stood there blank eye in desperate need of an americano. Lead singer Coco O can really sing a tune and her backing band was really tight, babies are definitely made to her music. Fast-forward with coffee, liquor and Metallica! From the first note I had been rocking out like that same kid who played air guitar on a tennis racket or air drums in the back of my fathers car. These guys are middle-aged but still having fun and really enjoy putting on a good show for the fans. Huge enthusiasm from the crowd and great sense of camaraderie amongst everyone there rocking out. Opening up with Blackened and playing over 2 hours of material from almost every album went by in a flash.

I caught Ensiferum for a song when I heard a double-bass drum pounding at high noon while going for a walk. It looked like a bunch of vikings on stage with their so-called axes singing songs of norse mythology. I thought it must feel silly to be an older dude wearing outfits like that and shredding on stage. So I left with that funny thought. Than I ran into what I thought was the best band of the afternoon, Wintergatan, a rocking swedish Sigur Ros with folk instrumentation. They put on a really sincere performance with personal anecdotes in between songs that had charmed the audience of all ages. Over on the stage next door, The Heliocentrics had set up a groove and let jazz inspired vocalist wail like a saxophone over the grooves. You could feel a bit of awkwardness within the ensemble but the audience was entranced in hippie-dance bouncing around like pogo sticks. The Sword was nice, but the sound wasn’t mixed very well. It was like seeing Black Sabbath in modern times but after about the 5th or 6th song I started to get riff nausea and decided to head over to James Blake, the a master of new-wave electronic trios. James Blake is in control of his music and leads with his vocal melodies mashing them up with electronic effects and loops. The backing band follows his lead providing a down beat and rhythmic textures to move the listeners body. The set climaxes at appropriate moments with huge bass pedal lines that reverberate your entire skeleton and noise crescendos that can probably explode a babies soft head.

Everyone asks me, how was Roskilde? or if you’re in the know with Copenhagen slang “How was Ros?” I say it’s beyond words to explain what it is. It’s mayhem in the camps. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are. You are present, in the moment, in the chaos with your thoughts. Doesn’t matter what your intentions are… you just do what you have to do. Some of my fondest memories has to be the generosity of the people you meet. You never know who your universe will collide with so you take everyone at their word. And the word is the good enough for me. I’ve known a lot of people who bullshit with words but I’ve got a renewed sense of trust in a strangers word. We’re all strangers trying to find a common ground and everyone just wants to have a good time. When you get home there is loud silence. It seems that maybe it was just a dream? Recently, it’s been hard to tell the difference between all these experiences . One way I can distinguish the difference is that there’s always a feeling of dissatisfaction in reality. How can I be satisfied when I’m always hungry, thirsty, and looking for more. I’m not really sure how to satisfy myself but it helps to satiate these basic needs and forget they were there. The hunger is always there, it’s like a black hole that keeps eating and cannot be full. In reality, there is a sadness when you know about the higher pleasures of music, imagination, and different worlds. When that’s not readily accessible it’s hard to cope but you choose your sacrifices and wait for the next opportunity you lose yourself. Forgetting your existence for a few moments is that feeling of wasted bliss. It’s that feeling I’m always chasing. Roskilde is accessibility to that feeling we’re all chasing.