Vanguard Festival ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit’
Vanguard Festival, August 2-3
My days of rolling around in mud, sleeping in over-heated tents, and waking up comatose are over, but I do love going to music festivals, so for me the Vanguard Festival as a concept was a tailor-made fit.
Having the festival in the beautiful Søndermarken park, with its ancient trees and prime location within the city was simply a stroke of genius. There was no need for shuttle buses or packed train rides, with Vesterbro and Nørrebro basically around the corner, most people could just walk or bike home. This easiness around transportation really summarised the festival’s vibe: easy.
With very distinctive line-ups over the two days, it was like two festivals in one. While some might think this was a bad thing as it seemingly broke up any sort of continuity, I thought it was bang on brilliant.
Friday was a much tamer affair than Saturday, with refined pop music and old guys being the general theme. My festival started in earnest by catching good old timers Laid Back. I have to admit that I have never been a big fan of the household duo, but they sure delivered, especially when they rode a white pony.
The main downside of the day was Jose Gonzales’ Junip. Not because they didn’t deliver, but because the sound was a hot mess. I quite like their music, but a prerequisite for enjoying a concert is the ability to not be angry at the sound guy.
Sixto Rodriguez was the main headliner of the day and it was an experience watching him perform. Life, however, does not seemed to have treated him well, as his physical frailty was an obvious hindrance to his performance. While Rodriguez, best known from the film 'Searching for Sugar Man', may have failed to deliver, a Swedish man in a top hat certainly did. Håkan Hellström's catchy hooks and loveable personality made for a fantastic concert cocktail.
There was nothing tame about the latter day of the festival. Pharoahe Monch had a banging set in the baking sun and Looptroop Rockers showed once again why they are the kings of the Scandinavian hip-hop scene.
Thankfully, this was just a mark of things to come. De La Soul may have started rapping a whole year before I was born, but you wouldn’t think that watching them perform. When Maseo said “many rappers want you to shoot people, but we just want you to have a good time,” he really summarised the vibe at the concert.
Among the legends of hip hop, there is one group that will always rise above the rest, Wu-Tang Clan. They brought the ruckus (and thankfully all of their members) and brought the crowd to a point of frenzy. There was attitude, hits and mosh pits.
It is always difficult to know what you are getting into when you go to a new festival and this time I was pleasantly surprised. I am willing to concede that this amazing summer weather we are having may have skewed my experience, but everything was positive about Vanguard. I really hope that the festival returns next year, and if it does, so will I.