suitable live venues going under, so seeing Grand Rokk getting back
into the game is a thing to celebrate. Once one of Reykjavík´s most
popular rock venues, it was sadly transformed into a sports bar a
couple of years ago. But now, after a bout of rarely straying away from
big screen football, the doors are once again open to those that take
sweaty musicians over sweaty athletes.
If finding a venue is becoming a problem in Reykjavík, it’s probably
downright hellish in Ólafsvík, where Endless Dark hail from. And it
shows. They clearly know how to work their instruments and their
vocalist is, to say the very least, impressive but they don’t look at
home on the stage. Their noughties emotional metalcore lacked energy
and the long awkward silences between songs got tiresome very quickly.
They have potential and a knack for writing hooks, but what they need
is more experience.
Next up were Johnny and the Rest and if imitation is really the
sincerest form of flattery, the 70s can really be proud. Somewhat the
odd men out, Johnny and the Rest played 70s influenced blues rock with
a large dose of cool but completely lacking in soul. They played their
parts like pros, but the result was flat and uninspired.
A surprisingly refreshing 50 Cent song later, Shogun took the stage.
And what the other bands lacked Shogun brought in spades. It was their
party and they made that clear from the get go. Their performance may
have been a little sloppy at parts but they more than made up for it
with sheer energy, delivering a powerful set that got the crowd moving.
Shogun may not be doing anything groundbreaking with their mix of
modern hardcore and metal, but what they do they do well. They are loud
and they play it like they mean it. Barely stopping between songs, the
only break they took was to inform people that there will be an after
party, and at the after party there will be free beer. But no matter
how much of that free beer people drank, Shogun’s performance surely
was one they will remember. But Shogun weren’t the only highlight of
the night. Being back in Reykjavík’s finest hard rock venue was a joy
and one can only hope it will be a frequent one.
- Who: Shogun, Johnny and the Rest, Endless Dark
- Where: Grand Rokk
- When: Saturday, January 31