Oyama’s album release concert at Húrra on November 13
Arriving at the end of warm-up band Nolo’s set, I hobnobbed with a few friends and wondered if I really should have abandoned the birthday I left to come here. It had been a full year since I last saw Oyama, and I had the following to say about them then:
“They embrace the feedback and keep the vibe nice and cool, but I can’t help shake the feeling that Oyama needs a bit more experience, and a better sound check before headlining the likes of Mammút and Pétur Ben again.”
That was my gentle way of saying they flopped, and that I really really didn’t think they deserved being the headlining act of the night. I was offered a free ticket to tonight’s show, but declined it, because from past experience I really didn’t think Oyama would be good enough for me to want to write about the gig.
But I was wrong—the gig was fantastic!
Full disclosure, I work with John Rogers, the band’s manager, on a day-to-day basis, I’m on good terms with their producer Pétur Ben, their guitarist is my third newest Facebook friend, and I can’t help shake the feeling that their bass player looks a lot like one of my brothers. I am far from unbiased.
(The resemblance is uncanny)
Having said that, I really enjoyed last night’s show. When I saw them in 2013 they were experimenting with new sounds, and John told me that their set had mostly been unrehearsed. This gig, however, was an album release show for ‘Coolboy,’ and I instantly fell in love with the album and the band.
With a beer in one hand and my smartphone in the other, I furiously took notes of how well the bass sounded, how the two guitars created a really fleshed-out wall of sound, how soothing the melodies were, how diverse the composition was, and how great the energy levels were.
New song “Siblings,” for example, was absolutely a delight, and highlighted to me that in the year I had shunned them, they had matured into real contenders on the Icelandic indie rock scene. Their new material felt fresh and full of substance. They were tangibly better.
My only regret of the evening was not buying the album at the show, as I won’t get a chance to get a signed copy anytime soon due to the band’s upcoming Japanese tour.
Have fun gang, I look forward to seeing you in 2015.