From Iceland — You Can’t Always Force It

You Can’t Always Force It

Published November 7, 2015

Rex Beckett
Photo by
Erik Luyten

I swear, I wanted to party last night. When I saw my work schedule for this week I said to myself, and everyone around me, “Well, I’ll just have to go all out on Friday night.” That was my plan. So why was I sitting in bed at 2:30am with two slices of pizza, watching a Seinfeld, when my phone rang and my friend slurred, “Where the party at?” across the Paloma-line up background noise? Why!?

I had bolted out of the Ariel Pink show as soon as the man himself stepped off the stage. I had had enough trouble keeping myself vertical during the set, which was sometimes really fun and goofy and musically impressive (especially by the bassist, whom I’ve been serving soy-lattés to all week). But when shit got proggy, I got foggy. Good thing I was in the front so I could prop myself up on the divider. I kept looking back into the crowd and seeing my friends all drunk and happy dancing and making out. They were all so cute and I wished I had been in that zone, but nope. Just bopped along to “West Coast Calamities” with the little energy I had.

It’s also a good thing I got a pizza slice before getting to Harpa. Had I not, I probably wouldn’t have been able to withstand the wretched bore that was Grísalappalísa. Is this honestly what passes as punk these days? It just sounds like INXS rejects minus the sex-appeal. Any band that self-describes themselves as ‘controversial’ is pretty much as dickish as when iTunes sorts a band into the ‘unclassifiable’ genre. Without that slice, I would have been so hangry.

I could have used a slice or something over at Gaukurinn while watching JoyCut. If you like songs that start off pretty and then go absolutely nowhere, then you would love this group! I thought that one up while walking towards the back of the room to find a nice couch to sit on and sip my beer. Luckily, they were very easy to ignore, like muzak or the soundtrack to a Hollywood blockbuster.

What has been impossible to ignore during this whole event, on the other hand, is the rain. We could not stand the rain while trying to stand in line at Nasa to potentially see Braids. Having already seen them a couple of times (hell, a couple of them were my neighbours back in Montreal), I decided a roof and a cold beer was preferable, which is how we ended up at Gaukurinn.

It’s also a bummer that we left the warmth and comfort of Iðnó where we had peacefully enjoying Oyama in an attempt to see Braids. When Oyama weren’t being their lovely shoegazey selves, they were handling sudden gear challenges like champions by drawing out a single chord for as long as it took to fix the issue and joking that they wrote the song this way. Their set was also graced by the presence of the ever-fabulous Karen Pease, who is honestly the coolest audience member in town. If you haven’t caught her zero-fucks-dancing at a show, I am really sorry. You missed out.

Of course, my sense of partying was probably sucked out of me along with all my adrenaline after my band Antimony played two back-to-back off-venue shows in the afternoon. I honestly underestimated how much energy that would draw out of me. I have a new sense of sympathy and camaraderie for any artist that has to play more than one show a day, not to mention those who play over 20 during the festival. How the fuck do you even do that?

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