Adventures in Iceland: Reykjavík!October 27, 2007
Reykjavík!, a heavy/indie-rock/post-punk band with some members from Ísafjörður (though now relocated to Reykjavík) and comprised of Bóas/Haukur/Gummi/Geiri/Kristján, was my first introduction to a cross-disciplinary constellation of Icelandic artists. Though I was fairly bleary after 24+ hours of travel sans sleep and the first lovely segment of the poetry festival, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl enticed Conor and me to join him at Café Amsterdam to partake of the dulcet tones of the local “penis rock ‘n’ roll” scene, as he’s fondly dubbed it.
After thrashing to two warm-up bands (complete with musician leaping onto table and pouring Jack Daniel’s into open mouths), the audience had sufficiently prepped its flight muscles and was ready to embrace Reykjavík!. I was instantly enamoured with their style, which proved quite generous to its audience — whether through sharing microphones, Bóas the singer in the thick of dancers while belting out a tune, or inviting guest artists to join them onstage. In fact, I was literally pushed onstage at one point and told I could have a microphone only if I screamed or spoke into it. So I screamed. Naturally.
And which illustrates my point: generous with audience. I found Reykjavík!’s comfort onstage, and in sharing the magic to create with those in the room, delightful. As for the cross-disciplinarity, the night held further marvels as Reykjavík!’s guitarist, Haukur, introduced a song midway through the set by chanting, “EiríkurÖrnNorðdahl-EiríkurÖrnNorðdahl…” which sparked an impromptu poetry recitation by Eiríkur as the band rocked alongside him.
That initial introduction to these uninhibited, exuberant performers had them swiftly stowed behind my left ventricle. And what pleasure to get to know them over the proceeding week, and to see them play a further three times. With each successive show, my initial impressions of generosity and warmth were strengthened.
Though each performance was special for its own reason — first night: seeing Eiríkur read with them; third time: small music store stuffed to the gills, standing next to ten-year-olds; fourth time: ears that nearly bled — the second performance was the most ecstasis-producing for me. Pure exclamation point over the head. That yesyes feeling. Why? Reykjavík! + modern dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir.
Ohh, thank you thank you: a door has opened.
See clip below. This was easily one of the best things I witnessed at Iceland Airwaves, and has me thinking again about the conventional ways the female voice is expected to sound.