I wonder if the Motions Boys have been having nightmares about power. For those of us who were there for the Great Motion Boys Power Blowout of 2007, there was undoubtedly a little anxiety in the anticipation of Motion Boy’s second live set. The “What if’s?” seemed to be popping up everywhere, and you had to wonder if the May 24 accident was a matter of faulty electrical cables, or fate.
So when Birgir Ísleifur came on stage at around 9 o’clock, people crowded the front very nervously. There was something fragile and delicate about the audience, as if they were all concerned for the Motion Boys and their performance at the biggest venue in the city. I hate to say this, but the crowd was so delicate with the Motion Boys that I think they might have been afraid that breaking out into one single dance step would blow the power right out again. Even though the incredible, all-star line up put on a top-notch performance, and Birgir Ísleifur had all the Mick Jagger moves a crowd could ask for (moves that should have inspired any audience to swoon, Icelandic or not), the Icelandic audience was again more stubborn to dance than a middle-schooler with braces.
One justification might have been that most of the songs Motion Boys played at NASA have been inaccessible since their last show (only Waiting to Happen and Hold Me Closer to Your Heart are available online). The unfamiliarity with the music may have made people less willing to dance, but I still don’t buy it. I was disappointed with the fact that the Reykjavíkians didn’t make an effort to show their support for a good local act. When I saw the way they moved for the headlining act, I was slightly unsure of their loyalty to their own music scene.
On came The Rapture, four dark Brooklynites in thrift-store t-shirts. The band immediately exploded into the scratchy guitar and rickety bass riff from Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks. The Rapture played a lot of stuff from Echoes, and Pieces of the People We Love, which are not my favourite albums, but the sound in the theatre was gritty enough and I didn’t feel like I was listening to their overproduced albums. The band was not as entertaining to watch as Motion Boys, but front man Luke Jenner managed to pull some cool tricks out of the bag. I had heard and seen him play the clanky dance riffs a la Gang of Four, but I had no idea that he could shred at the guitar, and once he started playing quicker and faster the energy in the room peaked. By now it seemed that half the dance floor was full-on leaping into the air. And even though it was an American act, it was nice to see that the Icelanders at least knew how to get sweaty.
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