July 8, 2012 – 10:43
**** (4 out 6 stars); July 7 at Arena, Roskilde Festival
Highly respected Berlin DJ Paul Kalkbrenner did exactly what was expected of him last night at an intense, sweaty show at Roskilde’s Arena stage. As one of few DJ acts headlining the festival, Kalkbrenner was heralded as a performance to look forward to by Roskilde’s electronic music fans.
Starting slowly but surely, the Berlin frontman looked secure and content, clinging to a heavy bass line that was to dominate the better part of his charged show. In his native city, the German capital and in many ways today’s Mecca of electronic music, Kalkbrenner is known for more of a minimalist approach to his shows. Last night at Arena however, it was a different story, with a more crowd-friendly setlist dominated by driven, heavily-percussive tunes
Many of Roskilde’s attendees relate Kalkbrenner to his appearance in the cult film Berlin Calling, in which he stars as himself in a riveting tale about his past life. His most popular songs are those off the Berlin Calling soundtrack and it is these that most of Roskilde’s guests came to see last night. Kalkbrenner followed a driven and thudding, if not a tad repetitive line, before slowly and cautiously releasing several songs off Berlin Calling. The monstrous ‘Altes Kamuffel’ went down well towards the end of the show, whilst other tracks such as the distinctive, down-tempo ‘Sky and Sand’ provided minor, if not crucial, breaks for the audience to catch their breath.
It is difficult not to be objective about what turned out to be quite the show yesterday, though one did feel that the tonality of the concert was at many times repetitive and heavy. This notwithstanding, Kalkbrenner’s show ticked off all the checkboxes a late Saturday night show should. It was pulsating, intense and chaotic at the best of times, driven and emotional at others, and on the whole a very decent performance. Today’s Arena action features a highly anticipated show from English band Friendly Fires before pop darling Santigold checks in as the main act of the evening, making a return to Roskilde after an epic showing back in 2008.