Eistnaflug is by far the friendliest festival I’ve ever been to. As a metal-concert-vet, my first metal festival is shaping up to a great one. Though the climate is quite a bit colder than in previous years (I’m told), there is enough energy here to keep spirits warm.
Misþyrming kicked off Friday with an explosion of black metal. After having played their debut album ‘Söngvar elds og óreiðu’ on repeat for the last few months, I selected them as one of my Eistnaflug picks. I’d seen them previously at Húrra, a tiny dark stage, but this massive venue catapulted the band to new heights, as Misþyrming’s energy easily filled up any empty space and beyond. Though small, the crowd was enthralled, violently head-banging to the music, the band responding in kind (I think I even saw them chuck an LP into the crowd for good measure). Everyone in the audience sported various black metal shirts or patches—you could tell they had shown up early especially for this.
I had never heard of Börn before, but I went to see them based on the strong recommendation of local musician Lord Pu$$whip. Wow, was he right. With a bubble machine and a plethora of different hairstyles giving the visual cues, their show was pure punk. Börn had a confidence about them that made everyone feel comfortable—looking around I saw only happy faces nodding along in solidarity. Though they were screaming in Icelandic (which I do not speak), I still felt included and caught up in their gritty vibe. If you missed them yesterday, they are playing today at the off-venue at 19:05, so go support ’em.
But no one got everyone going more than Grísalappalísa. If you’ve never seen them live, you just have to at the next available opportunity. The crowd was smiling and rowdy—natural considering how much energy lead singer Gunnar Ragnarsson emits, jumping off the stage and running through the audience tangling festival-goers in his microphone chord. All of this, of course, was done in leather pants and accompanied by ’90s video girl dance moves. Scored by a groovy soundtrack, that includes a saxophone, Gunnar stroked men’s faces and took swigs from a hip-flask at every available moment. It was one of the more unusual musical experiences I’ve had, and though their music doesn’t really fit under the umbrella term of “metal,” it was freaky enough for me.
The highlight of the day for me was without a doubt the Úlfsmessa II at the off-venue. With Misþyrming, Naðra, NYIÞ, and Grafir, the show was a killer combination of dark darkness. The performance kicked off with one of the members (they all wore hoods) offering the audience a sip of wine from a goblet like a communion. They had another walk around the audience silently, staring and being stoic. It was creepy and over-the-top.
I felt at home.
More from the GV’s Eistnaflug coverage: