Right Vibe, Wrong Headliner - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Right Vibe, Wrong Headliner

Right Vibe, Wrong Headliner

Published August 24, 2007

A diverse mix of concertgoers flocked to bar Organ on a Wednesday evening. Four bands were about to perform but only one would actually hit the spot. The night’s concerts peaked with Jan Mayen’s performance some two hours into the programme. Too bad they weren’t the headliners.

First act of the night was noisy rock band The Foreign Monkeys, a young and confident four-piece from the Westman Islands. The winners of last year’s Battle of the Bans were not in the best shape that night, but still got the crowd worked up with intense and pure rock tunes, ‘Black Cave’ in particular.

Next in line was the established indie-pop band Dýrðin, who tried to move the show to a more danceable direction. Their first song made for a promising start but the lack of diversity and strong vocals soon became utterly wearing. The small crowd that had moved closer to the stage seemed to like their cheering summery pop songs and bizarre lyrics (‘I’m a bubble girl / in a bubble world’) but I honestly can’t say that I understand Dýrðin’s cuteness that reviewers have been raving about. The only thing that made their set enjoyable to watch was singer Hafdís, not because of singing skills but an energetic stage performance, which was something to admire.

Luckily, Jan Mayen immediately kicked-off with their no-bullshit guitar-driven indie-rock and brought back my hope for a good evening. Their set was almost entirely focused on the recently released album, ‘So Much Better than Your Normal Life’, with two exceptions. At the point they played ‘Nick Cave,’ the hit song from their first full-length album, ‘Home of the Free Indeed,’ the crowd went wild, head banging and screaming “Nick Cave is a real motherfucker” while throwing each other around the floor. This moment was definitely the night’s highlight.

With a rock-star voice and unpretentious attitude, singer and guitarist Valli owned the stage. His joy of performing shined through every expression on his face and backed by guitarist Ágúst, strong drums and smooth bass-lines, the band reached familiar heights when presenting the new material, especially when playing ‘Joyride’ and ‘We just want to get everybody high’, proving once again that they are fully capable of rocking the roof off of any venue in town. Watch out, their release concerts are only days ahead.

This should have been a great opportunity for the following act to work their magic. The crowd was ready to party and in the right frame of mind for some more quality live stuff. Sadly, the US melodic pop group The Besties didn’t deliver the task. Fronted by two female singers/keyboardists, the band never seemed to find their way, although they looked happy and seemed to be enjoying themselves. The sad thing is that the same didn’t apply to the many concertgoers who, one by one, fled the scene, leaving the place emptier by the minute.

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