Eistnaflug has long been the annual meeting place for Icelandic metalheads (and increasingly international ones as well), but it has also traditionally played host to a number of acts that don’t quite fit the genre. This includes local faves like Mammút, Agent Fresco, Grísalappalísa, and more. Each year, however, I hear metal fans complain that it’s not dark enough, or that they are out of place, but I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, they’re not metal, but if Eistnaflug only had such acts, it would tire the fans out, their ears would ache, and the festival couldn’t retain the same number of frequent visitors. Eistnaflug needs diversity, and that’s exactly what The Vintage Caravan bring into the fold.
I first saw them under similar circumstances two years ago, where they supported Skálmöld. In an article I noted that “most people seem to be enjoying themselves, except for a small group of grumpy metalheads who twiddle their thumbs in the corner.” Since then their music has gotten tighter, and after extensive international touring, their stage presence has improved by leaps and bounds. They are pure unadulterated fun, blasting through their take on ’70s rock.
For the last two years they’ve tried one-upping themselves, and this year was no exception. In 2013, singer Óskar Logi crowdsurfed on an inflated boat. In 2014 he was joined by bassist Alexander Örn crowdsurfing on an inflated pool. Instead of repeating that same trick, this year they all stepped on stage in drag! We’re talking revealing dresses, tights and makeup. And then they played what they usually play, energetically, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Although their music is very different, the performance reminded me of Æla. Said post-punkers usually stepped onto the stage wearing men’s clothes, only to rip them off mid-way through the set, revealing dresses (or vice-versa). Æla said in an interview that it was a feminist statement, that the gender performances have no effect on the music. When I catch up with Alexander Örn after the show, smoking with a couple of friends, he said although there were similarities, that wasn’t their message. “People at Eistnaflug don’t judge you by the clothes you wear, or if you have make-up, it’s all about the music,” he says. “We just wanted to top our performances from last year.”
When one friend asks him what they would do next year, Alexander says he has no idea. Another friend drunkenly says there’s only one real way to do that: “you need to get silicone implants!” They all laugh.
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