The tiny non-profit co-op organic-café shop Hljómalind on Laugavegur has proven to be an incredibly popular concert venue, especially within the Reykjavík punk scene, where the sXe section holds a special affection for the place. Obviously, as a venue, Hljómalind has many drawbacks, size perhaps being the most obvious one, but the cramped closeness and the enthusiastic crowd, and the community feeling always makes a Hljómalind show a positive experience.
Opening the festivities was the confidently named The Best Hardcore Band in the World. xTxBxHxCxBxIxTxW (probably the longest acronym in the world), submitted their own take on a very punkish trashcore. Known for their raw delivery of PCHC (Paradise City Hardcore, Reykjavík’s hardcore scene’s semiserious attempt to label a genre, such as NYHC or CTHC), The Best Hardcore Band in the World opened with a new song: “written at practice yesterday,” declared vocalist Fannar. A few more days of practice certainly could not have hurt, as the performance was all over the place, but opening difficulties aside, the band came away unscathed. But that is usually what they do, as the quality of the delivery often seems to take a backseat to their contagious joy of playing anyway.
Apart from a positively cool name, the Brat Pack delivered a more traditional twochord punk rock. The kind that might have fitted into the Repo Man score (a cult movie classic featuring original Brat Pack-er Emilio Estevez and 80’s punk rock, and actually, televangelists and aliens, but I digress…) They did not particularly blow me away musically, but again, enthusiasm goes a long way.
The schedule called for the punk outfit Morðingjarnir (The Murderers) to appear next. However, the band had not arrived yet, so the headlining act I Adapt took the floor early. Fresh off a two-week tour of the U.S. the band was honed to perfection, performing one of the tightest sets I have seen from them. My five-year old son, whom I brought along for the all-ages show, was standing on a chair behind the crowd when the first instant-mosh-pit-inducing guitar riffs from ax-man Ingi spontaneously set the crowd on fire. He lasted about five seconds standing on that chair before a flying patron knocked him down. Lucky for him (and the patron in question) I was there to catch him. Obviously, an I Adapt show is no place for children.
While blazing through new material such as Ape City and Familiar Ghosts, I Adapt’s powerful performance proved that they are the best band in Reykjavík most people do not know about. Hopefully, that will change with an upcoming album scheduled for release later this year.
By the time I Adapt finished, Morðingjarnir was in place, although the crowd immediately got thinner. Despite the apparent discomfort of guitarist/vocalist Haukur, suffering from the dreaded day-after syndrome, the trio maintained the positive vibe with a forceful set of happy punk, highlighted by bass player Atli’s singing performance on the last song.
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