From Iceland — Batteríið - Thursday

Batteríið – Thursday

Published October 16, 2009

Rex Beckett

The Swedes are taking over The Battery! Thursday night boasted three of the festival‘s Swedish hotshots, and the energy in the place was electric.
The night opened with Elín Ey, playing her growly sexy blues as the room filled up and got socially lubricated. She has the kind of voice made for this music and clearly knows her instrument very well, but her stage presence and command on the audience are still in progress. The more the room filled up though, the more comfortable she got and finally wrapped up with total ease and confidence.
Following the trend of solo musicians with guitars, our first Swede, Moto Boy, hits the stage shirtless in a black leather jacket and lipstick, and proceeds to sing his rendition of the religious song Pie Jesu in perfect soprano. The spotlight beams down on him and his eye contact with the crowd is Mona Lisa-esque as he plays the stripped down catalogue of his songs. His songs actually fare much better live with the simple voice and guitar than with all the instrumental production on his album. It is intensely moving, and I am, to tears. I also appreciate a singer than can make a fat joke about his shirtless body, when he weighs 78kg wet.
Christine Owman from Malmö then got up for her turn at commanding the stage alone. This girl has brought along a musical saw and a ukulele, which she manages to make her sound downright dark. Her songs have a bizarre air of emergency and desolation, and the old industrial footage projected behind her only increases this feeling. I cannot for the life of me understand why she wore a pink tube-dress to play in and the performance lacks a certain physical flamboyance that her songs seem to demand.
Between sets, I watch the venue‘s sound technician step all over cables and generally be neglectful and disrespectful to the equipment. Later in the night a monitor fell down during a set and the sound guy didn‘t notice, even with one of the musicians yelling at him, until my friend went over to remove him from socializing. This sort of technical irresponsibility is a pain in the ass when an artist is giving it his all.
Anyway. The next act has had many good things said and written about him, so I am curious to see what all the fuss about Eberg is, but there has been a line up change and the next act is now Berndsen! That‘s cool; I‘ve wanted to see him too. His stage presence, as well as his bands‘, gets an A for effort, but musically they leave a lot to be desired. With only four songs to play, there is no use speeding up your hit song. Saxophone solos are still really dickish.
Batteríið is packed now, but I am yawning and hoping for someone to wake me from my slumber. Luckily, Sykur have my full attention before their line-check is over. They have a shit ton of keyboards and gear and look ready to abuse it all. They happily start off pandering to the Swedes in the crowd, but all bodies in here are dancing. Their super fun electro bleep-bloops shift seamlessly from song to song and those keyboard riffs are so catchy, that the audience is actually singing along to them. Sykur are basically dry-humping their instruments and making everyone in the room hump back. They go on for really long though, even bringing up a couple of guest vocalists (that only took away from their music, really), and I wish they had left us wanting more. Who am I kidding, I totally want more.
Before the night‘s whipped-cream-on-the-waffle comes on, a pack of loaded Swedish girls in the audience have begun singing Tequila repeatedly and obviously spilling beer on everyone in their path. Security has let way too many into the place from the stage entrance and it‘s a bit too much to handle. People are hanging in through the windows. The guy next to me who seems hell-bent on ignoring my existence continuously shoves me into a light fixture. One of the guys in guys in Sykur frantically searches for the bag with their CDs, which someone has ‘misplaced.’ (We find it.) It‘s a total shit-show in here.
Then the lights go dark and five incredibly stylish and fit people march onto the stage with the kind of attitude generally reserved for ultimate fighting champs. Juvelen commands to much rabid fawning and pawing from the audience that it is no surprise to see them lose their shit once the band starts their power-electro club anthems played on entirely live instruments. It‘s so nice to hear an electro band with a real drummer, but holy shit those drums were so fucking loud. The man playing them is absolutely merciless. Juvelen has the fiercest and most awesome backup singer/dancer since Apollonia. The main man keeps shedding layers of clothing and milks the crowd for all they are worth until they are bone dry. The whole thing is out of control and come-in-your-pants-fantastic.

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