Músíktilraunir has been around for 24 years. This year 50 bands started out competing among themselves in five different groups at five different semi-final nights at Tjarnarbíó. There each band played two original songs, competing to advance into the finals. The audience chose one band to go to the finals and a panel of judges one or two, depending on how good the bands were. Eleven bands made it to the finals this year.
Músíktilraunir is an important event in the Icelandic music scene and has been for the last two decades. It gives young musicians a change to get out of the garage, play through professional
equipment and most important of all – in front of lots of people. Many Icelandic musicians have made their first music steps in Músíktilraunir. Popular
acts like 80´s band Greifarnir, all girl rock band Kolrassa krókríðandi, Botnleðja, Maus, Mínus and hip hop sensation XXX Rottweiler all won Músíktilraunir at one point.
Other musicians competed but didn’t win but did something great later on. A good example is Jónsi from Sigur Rós, the Júníusson-brothers from band Vinyl, Hössi, former rapper for Quarashi and Siggi, organ player and songwriter for reggae-band Hjálmar, to name a few. Músíktilraunir is an event that gives young musicians a valuable opportunity to make something of themselves and to know how it is to play in front of an audience in professional circumstances.
When the results came in at this years Músiktilraunur—Iceland’s annual battle of the bands– Jakobínarína came in first, Hello Norbert second and The Dyers third.
In our opinion, the order should have been reversed.
Our favourites were Hello Norbert and The Dyer, both of whom played rock and roll infused with the right amount of pop. The Dyers’ guitars were spot on, and we couldn’t help thinking this was the band we were sure had the most promise.
Jakobínarína took the task of following The Dyers with remarkable bravado, and we readily acknowledge their stage presence. They know how to perform and you could see that they were having fun on stage. As for the sound, a neo-German meets Manchester experience, it required timing, and they had this down pat.
So, Jakobínarína got studio time at Sundlaugin (The Sigur Rós Studio) among other rewards and will probably make an album this year. Hello Norbert and The Dyers also won studio time and are just as likely if not more so to become popular here in Iceland in the years to come.
Ed. Note: Our reviewer, Ágúst Bogason, has competed in Músíktilraunir, and is the guitarist in the successful rock meets pop band Jan Mayen.