To be perfectly honest, by day three of Innipúkinn, I was hardly thrilled to be heading to another night of music at Iðnó. It wasn’t the music that was problematic. It was the overall setting: the whole festival felt too tame. People didn’t seem engaged in the music, opting instead to chat in the back of the hall, or hang out on the porch overlooking the Pond. There was one woman who decided to dance the weekend away and you could see her, front-and-centre, during almost every act. At first it was painfully awkward to see her dancing in the otherwise stagnant concert hall, but by the third night, the joke was on us. Why wasn’t everyone dancing like she was?
I arrived at the end of Gang Related’s opening set, a four-piece indie rock act in button-down shirts. The crowd was embarrassingly small. A few more people showed up for Sudden Weather Change’s set. Their live performance doesn’t really do justice to their recorded sound, but overall, the songs were hit and miss.
Hardcore favourites Muck followed. It’s not my kind of music, but the theatrics of their performance really sold it—flashing lights, long-haired head-banging. Still, the crowd remained calm—shouldn’t I have been thrashing instead of chilling against a wall with a cold Tuborg in hand? Their performance was solid. They rocked so hard that the “K” fell from the “INNIPÚKINN” sign that hung above the stage spelling “Innipú inn,“ which sounds like a seedy motel in Greenland. Muck finished their set strumming their instruments, unplugged from amps—a clever, understated ending, which drew attention to the distinction between noise and silence.
The next act, a piece of performance art by the Shivering Man, drew the crowd in, finally. But not in a conventional way: Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson (Shivering Man), entered, shouted at the crowd, got naked and lip-synced to Klaus Nomi. Finally, the curious audience packed in.
Ojba Rasta followed, and their well-polished, well-balanced live sound finally got people moving. It didn’t matter that some of their lyrics are pretty vapid: “It’s all good, it’s alright / I feel jolly good tonight.” At least people were dancing. I had to leave to catch sleep before an 8 am bus ride (which I ended up missing anyway). But I was happy that the awkward energy had dissipated in dancing by the time I left. I can only imagine that R&B outfit Úlfur Úlfur and electronic musician Oculus kept people moving into the wee hours of the morning.