I spent this weekend checking out Reykjavík’s Secret Solstice music festival. Headlined by rap crew Wu-Tang Clan (sans Method Man, and RZA, and some others), the festival celebrated the 24-hour sun with a selection of great artists, lots of beer, and some of the best weather I’ve witnessed in Reykjavík so far.
So much happened there that I decided not to pick best or worst parts, but rather notable ones, so here’s my top five:
5. Reykjavíkurdætur / FKA Twigs / dj flugvél og geimskip
I’m keeping this article at five, so I’m going to start with a combination of some of my favourite acts.
FKA Twigs: She was just so cool. Her performance, yes, was kind of bizarre, but I was into it. I didn’t know who she was until they showed her video at Húrra’s Dance-oke so inspired by this, I tried to mimic her dance moves
Reykjavíkurdætur: I fucking loved Reykjavíkurdætur. I have no idea what their music is about, but I am so down with the idea of sex-positive feminist rap. The small stage combined with the fact that there are so many members made the whole performance feel cozy and intimate. It also just looks like they are all having a blast on stage. Holding hands, rapping to each other, they dance like no one is watching. It’s true solidarity.
On another note, they all are so stylish. Seriously, I just want any member to go shopping with me or do my hair. (By the way, my email is email@example.com)
Dj flugvél og geimskip: Dj flugvél og geimskip (our current cover story) is indescribable. She, like her name, is just out of this world. Unfortunately, her performance seriously rests on her storytelling and I don’t speak Icelandic, so I think a lot of it was kind of lost on me. I enjoyed the music though.
Runners up include Busta Rhymes for asking for more money, Berndsen for 80s British synth-pop, Emmsjé Gauti for crowdsurfing, and Charles Bradley for fucking killer dance moves.
5. Bam Margera’s “Band”
Alright, yes, I went to see Bam Margera’s band. Honestly I was just walking by their stage, but once I saw his performance, I just couldn’t look away.
Before you judge, let me tell you a little bit about myself: when I was younger I watched Jackass/Viva La Bam/Wildboyz obsessively. I had a Bam Margera poster in my bedroom. You know how they always started each episode of Jackass with the “don’t-do-this-at-home” disclaimer? I was the kid they were talking to. My friends and I idolised them. I have personally been shopping carted. Not to mention, I had such a massive crush on Bam… it’s that heartagram tattoo, man.
But anyway, watching Bam Margera’s “band” did not make me re-live the glory days of Ryan Dunn scuba-diving in a waste treatment plant or Chris Pontius party-boying someone. I would compare it more closely to a car crash in slow motion… it was so fucking sad. Remember how you felt watching Britney Spears attack a car with an umbrella? This was the same—somebody help him! Someone give him a job!
He was so fucked up that he was falling over and the lyrics to his song involved such sophisticated topics as having a dick long enough to fuck yourself in the ass. His wife (who is super hot, by the way) was walking around photographing the performance in creative angles that hid the fact that were literally like 10 people in the audience. Is this what happens when you age and become a D-list celebrity? Thank God I’m not famous.
After the concert, he stayed to talk to some fans. I wanted to see how fucked up he was, so I went up to talk to him him. He slurred his words and never took off his sunglasses. Naturally, I took a selfie.
3. The Outfits
While Icelanders definitely indulge in some of the festival cliches —bindis, flower garlands, long skirts— they combine that with the characteristic Reykjavík minimalism, and wow, what a great combo. It’s a lot more black and fur, and a lot less sequins. Of course, nothing beats the absurdness of the crazy Coachella-look, but this just felt more natural. People looked good, but they wore Nike Frees rather than bedazzled bikinis. The fashion felt not only more practical, but classier.
Sunday was by far the warmest day we’ve had in Reykjavík this summer so far, so people really went all out with summer outfits you usually can’t wear here. Girls put on their shorts, guys donned their singlets.
I went with a health goth aesthetic for Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday wore an American Apparel dress set. Nike’s and bright lipstick completed my festival look. The nice part about having bright tattoos is that you can kind of just wear one colour and let your ink make you look stylish. (I think?)
In terms of male fashion —I like my men well dressed with cool sneakers so yeah, there was a lot of eye candy. I love Icelandic style.
2. My Hangover
I made the mature and adult choice to not eat any food at all on Saturday or Sunday. (Ok, this wasn’t a choice, it’s just what happened). Instead, I just drank beer (or whatever) all day. Having now experienced this, I am going to say it was a poor choice. But…
Once I went to a festival in New Zealand and woke up in my tent after having blacked out. I walked around the campsite and these five big Kiwi bros ran up to me and clapped me on the back, calling me, “that crazy American chick”. Similar things happened a few more times that day. I still don’t know why…
So compared to that, I feel like I handled myself pretty well. Unless tomorrow when I’m walking around 101, someone remembers me. I don’t want to know.
Anyway, I didn’t feel hungover until maybe mid-day Monday. But once it came it was so awful I couldn’t even look at the bright light of my computer. I tried to persuade people from the office to drink with me during lunch so I could get rid of it, but I thought that sounded like the beginning of a slippery slope that would eventually lead to alcoholism. Not today. Here’s my hungover face:
After work, I slept and then tried to run it out at World Class Laugar. Exercise is the cure for every hangover. But I wasn’t the only one — my roommate slept till 19:00 and a friend of mine posted the FB status,”Does solstice have a lost and found? I cant find my dignity….” Love it.
1. Gísli Pálmi
Okay, I fucking love Gísli Pálmi. I didn’t know who he was until we did a video with him a few weeks ago for the Grapevine (just wait)! But now I just think he’s incredible. That outfit, that attitude, those tattoos, the gold teeth… It’s the whole package. I love performers who really go for it. Musicians who go the extra mile. Like Marilyn Manson or Nicki Minaj, you know?
But I didn’t really understand why he was so big until I saw him live. Now I know: he’s such an energetic performer. Dancing erratically around the stage with pants so baggy, you wonder how the hell they are staying up. Does he tape them? Who knows. It’s a mystery.
He also has like 3 guys behind him (other members of Glacier Mafia, I assume?) whose only job is to dance around and drink on stage. And they wear face masks. I love it!
He thinks out every detail of this picture-perfect rapper fantasy. Not speaking Icelandic, I have no idea what he’s saying but I assume it’s gangster shit. Probably drugs or bitches or something. I’m down with it.
But most importantly, he punched Bam Margera. Did you see that video? Bam is wobbling around while Pálmi is fucking smiling the whole time. It’s amazing. I love watching people fight because you can really see into their soul in that primal moment and just fucking concentrate at Pálmi’s grin. He’s the real deal.
I also love his clothing. Fucking MVP of Secret Solstice.
Hannah is an intern at The Reykjavík Grapevine, and she likes to rock out.