From Iceland — Summer Celebration

Summer Celebration

Published May 9, 2008

Summer Celebration

I was sure the editor of Grapevine was busting my chops when he asked me to cover The Reykjavik Grapevine’s Sólarsamba Concert at Organ. Reasons being the following: my own band was playing, I was partaking in the planning the event and I manage the venue. But I could see where he was coming from: He wanted the insider’s look on a night like this.

The event drew a big crowd early on and everyone got into positions to enjoy the evening’s opener, Swords of Chaos. The band delivered a tight set of high-energy, best described as Battles battling Mike Patton’s grandmother in queue at Wal-Mart. Very interesting.

Next up were indie-folk darlings Seabear who cooked up a warm brew of lo-fi pop while back-stage conversations brewed between bands and friendliness seemed to be the theme. Excitement grew in the air, for the highlight of the night drew nearer: Maggi Kjartans, legendery old-timer of the Icelandic music scene was present to perform his contribution to the 1988 Eurovision semifinals, Sólarsamba.

It had been 20 years since the song made its way into people’s hearts and it had never been performed since with Magga Gauja, Maggi’s daughter who sang the song with him when she was 12 years old. I was excited to see how people would react to this rather strange addition to the already indie-ish line-up. As they jumped on stage, it was clear that it hit the spot. In the 15-minute medley, the crowd danced, smiled and laughed like Eddie Murphy was in the house and even danced the Conga!

Kimono were up next, but since I was on stage for that, I can only give you our point of view: fun fun fun.

Skátar closed the night with their weird-rock antics, a set that could just as well have been performed in Las Vegas at a tanning convention. Their songs are as entertaining as looking at pearshaped men in golden spandex tights. Come to think of it..

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