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Brain Prolapse: Eistnaflug 2011

12 Jul

Broken…

My god I’m broken….

As of now i´m reduced to coughing, hacking fits and my head has turned into an intensive mucous producing machine. I feel like something has crawled into my head and died.

And the cause of this? Only the numerous types of germs and anthrax from the local sheep population and metal heads that emanated from this years EISTNAFLUG! Yup, as per usual, this years festival was as fun as ever, and there will be some proper reviews of the bands and the festival in coming editions of the Grapevine. But for now, while my brain is still running at fevered temperatures, here are some thoughts and highlights of the festival.

BANDS, BANDS, BANDS! (and Magni….)

This years line up was a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the bands were a bit ordinary, some of them were to be honest, a bit crap. But those that were good, were really, REALLY good! Some of the following highlights for example were;

– The bullish crossover thrash of MANSLAUGHTER (“Eistnafluuuuug!”).

– The truly defining gig from SÓLSTAFIR, showing why they are now destined for much bigger things in 2012.

– MOMENTUM and their awesome prog doom, which has us all joining in with cries of “Hooooolding Baaaack!” at the end.

– ATRUM & GONE POSTAL were the best of the local extreme bands that weekend.

– EIRÍKUR HAUKSSON. Man that geezer can sing! it was truly a style and effort from a bygone era of 80’s power metal that people don’t, or rather can’t, do any more. The kids loved them and so they should.

– PLASTIC GODS, especially singer Ingó whose growls were pitched for maximum power. My prostate was still like a sponge the day after.

– And of course there was HAM, but more about that later…

But there was one thing that was a little bit off. Well actually very way off, and that was the foreign acts that played. I missed Faroese band HAMFERÐ due to having to mend my shorts in a nearby bar, but out of the other three, only TRIPTYKON actually lived up to the hype. SECRETS OF THE MOON suffered from having the energy sucked out of their sails by Sólstafir, while THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT just sounded a big swampy mess. Perhaps they just thought that all they needed to do was turn up and the locals would fall over themselves, praising these big international stars. Sorry guys, but one thing that Eistnaflug is not is easy. People here know their noise and you have to bring your A game to this, otherwise you may well just fuck off and go home.

And as for the bands that sucked? Well a lot of them were from those early on the bill. Festival openers DÁNARBEÐ were very shaky, DIMMA was frankly cock rock wank, while TRASSAR (which had the singing exploits of one Magni “Rockstar Supernova” Ásgeirsson) was rather boring. He may be a natural performer and tried his best, but Magni trying to tell us that he was always a rocker wasn’t going to kid anybody, considering his latest Eurovision exploits barely a couple of months ago.

I rest my case

AN ARMY OF LITTLE PEOPLE HELPERS…

Of course the likes of Stebbi and Guðny are the “faces” of Eistnaflug, but their were the real people who made it happen, toiling away in the background. There were the cool, calm doormen (one of whom, i actually work with his brother!), who never got flustered and even joined the revellers at the camp site on Saturday night. Then you had the sound guys who really got the most out of the PA and made most of the bands sound biiig. It’s worth noting that the only time when a band demanded “their own sound man”, as was the case with the Monolith Deathcult, it was one of the few times everything sounded off. (UPDATE – Actually organiser Guðny has just contacted me to say the likes of Momentum, Mammút, HAM, Skálmöld and Triptykon also wanted their own sound guy to be present at the gig. So much for investigative blogging eh? I still stand by the shoddy sound of the Monolith Deathcult though)

And of course there were the lovely bar and cloakroom staff at Egilsbúð who not once told me to fuck off when by all rights, they really should have put a brick between my eyes….

FUCK THA´ POLICE!

Over the previous years the police approach to Eistnaflug has been one of “Softly Softly” with them taking a background approach and being more than happy to mix with the concert goer . More often than not this has been one of practicality more than ideology (there are only several police officers that cover the entire area of NE Iceland so rounding up dozens of partygoers can prove impractical), but the locals are not that worried or scared as it only seems that the main danger from the festival goers is to themselves.

But that all changed this year. There was a much more “Proactive” presence with many cars being stopped and searched on the way to the festival. And they tested out their new sniffer dog at the campsite several times over the weekend. They ended up making a few dozen busts, mostly for small amounts of weed possession. Now i can understand them having a “job to do” and sometimes trying to light up a bong in a car just as the police stop you is plan stupidity. But after a few busts, the police were STILL at it at 7am on a Sunday morning as the festival was winding down! Surely after busting people three times over, you could at least let them get some sleep.

Whatever the outcome, you’re likely to see more of an “Us V Them” element in future Eistnaflugs, and this is a shame.

THE ALICE IN CHAINS COVERS BAND ARE A GREAT BUNCH OF GUYS AND I WON’T HAVE A BAD WORD SAID AGAINST THEM!…

Well, OK you could say whatever you want, but the fact is that thanks to one member, i was reunited with my lost wallet. You see i rather drunkenly lost it on Thursday night and was fully expecting to cancel my cards on Friday morning if it hadn’t appeared at Egilsbúð. So imagine my surprise when i had a missed call from someone after going to the pool. Calling back, it turned out it was the guitarist to the Alice in Chains band. Apparently he was staggering back to his apartment where he found my wallet on the pavement. Upon checking the cards he went, “hey i think this that guy who writes for the Grapevine!”, whereupon he called the offices on Friday asking for my number! Man, what a save that was!

DEATH! DECAY! LANDI COCKTAILS! MAYHEMISPHERE MAYHEM…

This years mayhemisphere off venue was a lot better planned and organised this year with much more happening inside and out. There was home-made catapults, special hot stone shamanic tents, art installations, a makeshift bar (appropriately named “Blackát”) and the usual mix of corpsepainting and music. the main music highlight for me was the boys from KRAKKSLAUGHTER and NORN, as well as the frankly terrifying video and evil bats/spiders installation from Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir.

Ironically the drone music from her installation wafted downstairs into a place containing empty shelves and broken TV’s that according to the black metal kids, despite having no art made the place “feel like it was from Silent Hill”. I’ve suggested that perhaps for next year they should have one of the local kids dress up like the girl from “The Ring” and get her to sit in the corner and freak people out. Not a very good place for tripping…

SATURDAY…..

Or rather, just how fucking awesome were HAM? the place went totally mental for those puritanical Icelandic rockers. Several people and myself, who frankly should know better, were not only moshing and thrashing, but stage diving which i admit i haven’t done in a lone while. I may have also thrown my trousers at singer Óttar Proppé, but this can’t quite be corroborated, we shall just put that one down to speculation.

Oh and there were quite a few nipples from some topless female moshers, but people were too interested in HAM to take much notice of THAT! In the past i’ve often made (rather justified) remarks about most Icelandic concert goers inability to  let themselves rip and go mental. But I think the problem with HAM on Saturday was they were at one point everyone was going a little too crazy. But, hey it’s an experience that you just have to be there to see….

I also managed to listen to a few songs from a person who had an advance copy of some of the new album that HAM are working on to be released this year. All i can say is, i will definitely be buying it when it comes out.

THE LONG AND WINDING ROADWAY TO HELL THAT GOES ON FOREVER (KILL ME NOW….)

Now the journey back is usually bad enough by road. Expect at least 8-12 hours of hungover driving and that slightly guilty feeling that you may have done something really bad the night before that may come and bite you on the arse in later weeks. But of course this year, there were the flash floods in the east of Iceland that took the main road. This means that the only way back to Reykjavik was to go along the Northern route via Akureyri.

That takes at least 12 hours.

Add to the fact that my travel buddies weren’t ready to leave till after 3pm, meant we didn’t get back into Reykjavik until 3.30am on Monday morning. Euuurgh

Next year I’m taking the bloody plane.

So that’s it! Another Eistnaflug done and dusted and all that i have to show for it was several bruises, a sense of unease at my existence and some intense partying that means that i will be on a diet of mellow soul and carrot juice for the next 3 weeks…

(all pics from the Eistnaflug Facebook profile)

 
11 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Iceland, live music

 

Tags: , , , , ,

11 responses to “Brain Prolapse: Eistnaflug 2011

  1. Sigurður

    July 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I disagree with you on the performance of the bands, especially on The Monolith Deathcult. If you don’t like their music then that is one thing, bashing it as being “a big swampy mess” is unprofessional and lets me wonder if you are adequate to write an objective article about a music festival. To me Mammút and Benny Crepso’s Gang had great performances too, which you don’t even mention.

     
    • bobcluness

      July 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      I’m glad you saw Mammút and Benny Crespo’s gang and liked them. I didn’t mention them because i didn’t see them. I was at the Mayhemisphere at the time watching something else.

      I didn’t see every single band at the festival, nor was i required to. My reviewing for the Grapevine concentrates on Thursday only, with two other guys concentrating on the other days so you can be more than happy to take it up with them about those days. As i paid for my own ticket i am pretty much inclined to see as much or as little as i want.

      As with the Monolith Deathcult, i felt that something not quite as clear or punchy as some of of the other bands. It sounded more that they were going for all out noise alone. I thought it was just myself thinking this, but i chatted about this to some people from local bands the day after and they too felt that the sound was not as good as other acts.

      If you think that calling a band’s live sound on the night a big swampy mess is “a bit unprofessional”, then i don’t think you’ve actually read much of my previous stuff. But hey, that’s the wonderful things about opinions!

       
      • Sigurður

        July 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

        I like the Monolith Deathcult and I liked their live performance too. I had a few talks with them and they were really nice and definitely not arrogant, as (I at least understood) you are suggesting in your article. I didn’t like some of the performances at Eistnaflug myself, but that has probably in most cases more to do with my personal taste in music than the quality of the bands. My point was just that you don’t have to use offending description about the music of bands you don’t like, but you are right in that I haven’t read your blog before. Hope you enjoyed the festival, I know I did!

         
      • bobcluness

        July 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm

        I never really thought it was an issue of arrogance, it’s more about ensuring that always be wary that just because it’s a small festival in a far away place, you can never sit on your laurels. This was most evident with Secrets of the Moon. They were actually pretty good, but Sólstafir were so brilliant before them, a lot of people weren’t really paying attention to them that much. I mentioned this to the Sólstafir’s drummer the day after and he just laughed and said it was a common occurrence!

        I also had a chat with the guys from Secrets Of the Moon the day after and found them to be absolute gents and squires, really friendly. As with just about everybody who played there. Hey even Dr Gunni was unflappable after i quite frankly acted a bit of a dick in front of him.

         
  2. Halifax Collect

    July 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Snilldargrein!

     
  3. Rebecca Louder!

    July 13, 2011 at 1:09 am

    i have big plans for that shelf and tv room next year… BIG PLANS.

     
  4. Michiel

    August 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

    @ bobcluness: We N.E.V.E.R. sit on our laurels. We were booked for the Festival for already months and sitting on your laurels when you play in a place were you has never been before would be the stupidest thing ever. We worked our asses off and lost liters of sweat.

    We had a very good time and still receive very positive reactions about our show. The sound is out of control, our soundguy did the best he could and wasn’t satisfied by himself. The venue’s has some places were you only hear low tones so when you stand on a wrong spot the sound will be a mess. nevermind. We are a difficult band to mix so we always take our own crew with us. We take no risk with mixers who don’t know our music

    We of TMDC always had and have good relations with the press but your review is the 2nd review in a row who talks about thins that didn’t happen. Your colleague Bjorni Bjarnason wrote:

    ” These guys bring an endless mid tempo barrage of muddled guitars topped with the mother of monotonous growl. Shit Monotone Deathcult is more fitting!”

    WTF? We haven’t barely any midtempo parts and we use 3 style of vocals. What kind of journalism is this? people told me that Bjorni Bjarnason was totally wasted so how could he ever write good reviews? Are we talking about serious journalist or are we talking about people who want to have a free entrance and free beer?

    Fail and Kill,

    Michiel Dekker
    info@monolith-deathcult.com
    http://www.monolith-deathcult.com
    http://www.facebook.com/monolithdeathcult

     
    • bobcluness

      August 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Michiel

      Personally i don’t know if Bogi got a free ticket or beer… I certainly didn’t. That weekend damn near melted my bank account!

      My personal opinion with the night wasn’t so much the songs, it was more the quality of the sound. I just found it really difficult to make things out at certain times which i found really frustrating. Speaking to quite a few people afterwards it seemed i wasn’t the only one who thought this. But hey, i’ve listened to your album Trivmvirate a few times and i like it. Would i go and see you guys again? Hmmmm…. yes i probably would! Good to hear you sweated for Holland.

      As for us being journalists… HAHAHAHA! that’s a good one. we’re more frustrated amateurs at best. Personally my writing method is more the equivalent of a monkey throwing shit at a wall then picking its nose. After my obligations was done on Thursday, i pretty much wandered around, got wasted and just acted like a regular concert goer, so many of my views on this festival that aren’t from Thursday as pretty much just that, the views of a guy who wandered around and got drunk and hugged too many people.

      Anyway i think Bogi has now been spirited out of the country to avoid the vengeful wrath of unhappy punters and several bands. they’ve probably got him in a cave in Northern Norway or somewhere.

      At least you were nowhere near as bad as Dimma (shudders).

       
  5. Michiel

    August 15, 2011 at 6:19 am

    ” I just found it really difficult to make things out at certain times which i found really frustrating. ”

    That has nothing do to with our soundengineer but with our extreme lack of talent. That is why we play on guitars with extreme bodyshapes. This is what we do for already 9 years.

     
    • bobcluness

      August 15, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Well keep it up. Perspiration and practice makes better people of us all, which i’m sure some wise old bloke in a beard once said in 1971.

       

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