From Iceland — Supersport! Wants You To Sing Along

Supersport! Wants You To Sing Along

Published April 16, 2024

Supersport! Wants You To Sing Along
Photo by
Art Bicnick/The Reykjavík Grapevine
Supplied by Supersport!

A release show in Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík made for holy moments

“Doing it in a church felt somehow appropriate. Even though we’re not big on religion necessarily, this music does feel holy to us,” Bjarni Daníel Þorvaldsson of indie-pop band Supersport! reasons why the band selected Fríkirkjan as the venue for their latest release concert on April 6. The night, which was dedicated as a wistful farewell to Supersport!’s latest chapter defined by October 2023 release húsið mitt, was expectedly saturated with care and beautiful music.

Fractals of evening sun glimmered through the windows and caught on pews and hats as performers einakróna and Benni Hemm Hemm performed opening sets. Einakróna, led by Björk Magnús on vocals, were charming and genuine in their set. In one song, use of the glockenspiel gave everything a particularly divine feel.

The well-established Benni Hemm Hemm followed and featured both their defining experimentation and spotlighting of brass instruments. Both set the tone for a night of purposive music.

When you come to a concert we want for you to feel like a participant in an event rather than just an audience member.”

Fríkirkjan was beautifully porous — the sound we heard throughout the night seemed to linger in the air and hold in the nave, like flavor into a cast iron pan. “The room was interacting with the music in a really nice way,” Bjarni remarks “It was good to be in a room that had a lot of feedback.”

Supersport! takes the stage

It seemed as though we transitioned from sunny evening to dark night solely in the ten-minute pause between the openers and the main act. Admittedly accentuating that effect was a lighting change, from the natural blues, greens, and yellows that accompanied the openers, to a stark, static red for Supersport!’s set. Intentional and recurring, this red wash has been a hallmark of the band’s live sets for a year or so.

Curious about that choice, Bjarni says, “I just feel like red is the coolest colour, it’s maybe not the most beautiful colour, not necessarily, but definitely the coolest colour.” Following that, he added “I just really like also to have some sort of continuity, just having static red lights feels like a thing you can do in most places and I think it’s nice that when people come to shows again and again, we’re lucky to have people who are supporting us in that way, coming out each time. And everything looks cooler in the red light.”

The band’s characteristic clear harmonies were only more illuminated in the church’s nave. Their set began with a straight-through play of húsið mitt, an undeniably great album that is truly best enjoyed live. After húsið mitt, the band both played not only older songs but a few new ones.

A communal affair

As the night began, disposable cameras began circulating. Occasionally, you’d see a flash from the audience as someone snapped a picture. That’s something that began at the music festival Hátíðni, which Bjarni has a hand in organising. The act created something Bjarni describes as “communal documenting —trying to capture several different points of view of the same event.”

I asked about the band’s ethos around live performance. Bjarni muses, “I think our idea is giving an opportunity for a musical experience that feels interactive and not passive… when you come to a concert we want for you to feel like a participant in an event rather than just an audience member.” Bjarni cracks a bit of a smile before adding, “so actually it was quite disappointing in the last couple of songs that people didn’t sing along.”

Closing the chapter

Of course, there were a few songs Supersport! didn’t expect the audience to sing along to — their new ones! “I’m so extremely excited about this new music that we’re making now, and I have no idea where it’s headed. We made these songs a week before we played them,” he pauses, then adds, “It feels like right off the diary page in a way, quite fresh and raw.”

The final song of the set was the popular and beloved “Hring eftir hring,” followed by an encore performance of “eitt lítið vorljóð”. Standing shoulder to shoulder, Supersport! performed “eitt lítið vorljóð,” a solely vocal song in four-part harmony. Fittingly choral, it’s the final song from their debut tveir dagar. When I asked about what drove this choice, Bjarni told me tveir dagar was a chapter they never got to close due to the pandemic. In their words, it was nice to “reference that period as well, and give a farewell to both.”

After this final goodbye, the audience burst into applause, rising from the pews to cheer as if participating in mass. As we spilt out into the street after the show, we were greeted with a particularly harsh wind. Unbeknownst to everyone, it had begun while we were inside — a perfect way demonstrating how the night’s performances maintained our full attention.

Look out! Supersport! plans to release an album later this year, with a European tour to follow.

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