Realised i hadn’t updated this in a while, but I went to Eistnaflug last week (first time in a couple of years) and I wrote a review about it for The Quietus. Go and read it HERE.
There were a few things that for space or initial laziness I left out. But I can put them in here.
– If there is a “Big” band that is not mentioned then it’s because I was simply elsewhere putting out organisational fires, or I just didn’t fancy watching/writing about them. Make of that what you will. I will say that I was a bit miffed at missing ICARUS and VALLENFYRE but them’s the breaks I guess.
– Despite the fact that some people were getting wistful for “the good ol’ days” of hanging outside of Egilsbuð and going in and out whenever you wanted (Me included), the change to the sports hall was going to come eventually. and Stebbi and the guys did a very good job of it. Despite the lower levels for bands lower on the bill, the quality was overall pretty good (despite hearing things such as Sinmara say they didn’t even do a line check, never mind a soundcheck!). Things such as the quality of the food available (more options than the “Burgers only” of previous years) to the efforts of the staff were just on a higher level than before. This shift in size could have made things go really tits up. It didn’t.
– I’m not going to go into our off-venue shenanigans because the fact is that everything that could have gone wrong pretty much did! and it was still fucking AWESOME. We will be much more in your face next year, but some of the music that FALK and Vánagandr put together was definitely on a par with the main stage. and this was helped by the light/soundsystem which mean that instead of sounding like a bee in a tin cup, everything instead sounded like the coming of the end times.
My highlights? loads, but 2 stood out – MARCELLVS L was something else. More a visual artist than a musician, his whole philosophy to performance pretty much destroyed all those who came to listen to him. In complete darkness (apart from a single flashlight), and on the stage floor, he was incredibly loud and punishing, but instead of using noise artist things like feedback distortion, he simply used things such as a whistle and field recordings he took from a nearby horse farm. Have you ever heard the REAL sound of a horse that loud or close up? I hadn’t, and nether did everyone else. It must be something about hearing animals in fear or distress that brings out something in us, because it brought several people to tears. One friend broke down and had to leave, it was just too much. The poor family who came early to see CHURCHHOUSE CREEPERS got the shock of the life. Their daughter burst out crying in the foyer. The fact that it looked like he was going to set himself on fire (!!!) and ended up nearly shutting the place down due to petrol fumes was… different. I admit to being almost ready to punch him on the spot, but now I think… what a guy!
the other was of course was ÚLFMESSA II. I pretty much wrote all of it in the quietus piece, but it other things, such as the light show, the mixing of dark, gloomy, bleak musical textures and instruments (drones, dusty old organs, etc, etc), the fact that one of the ULFMESSA members was going into the crowd with a staff and eyeballing/provoking people to react, either to himself or to the music. Intensity can be an overused adjective, but that was the whole point – to shake the audience out the usual bored torpor and make them react to what was going on around them. I often hear so much guff from artists about them wanting their music/art to be an involving experience, but they often lack the ability/guts to work out what that actually would entail in the first place. These two acts alone rendered pretty much everything you’d get from the likes of LungA or the School of Art as obsolete.
Oh here’s some video from Days Two and Three of Eistnaflug that contains some choice highlights that I wrote about.
Other fun highlights
– the closeness of Iceland in a nutshell. Before MANNVEIRA were due to play, I spoke with Kim Kelly about them.
“Yeah, them and all the really cool metal sounds are coming from these group of guys who come from Akureyri and have known each other for years.”
“Wow, that’s really cool!”
“And see Mannviera’s singer? I know him really well because his mum is best friends with my wife!”
“Awww! that’s so sweet!”
“Yeah. But the boy still has the darkness in him (put up my fingers in a cross shape in his direction going “Hsssss!”)”
– Our summerhouse had no toaster so it was friend bread all weekend. I forgot how good fried bread was. Drooooool.
– Having Dagur form MISÞYRMING on my shoulders while BEHEMOTH were playing. It’s just a thing, OK?
– This track was pretty much the Official Anthem of our car. Aðalsteinn played it a Gazillion times. Helgi Örn called it “the greatest track he’s heard in a long time!”