How does the first weekend of August look like in Iceland? A three-day musical feast, for those who chose staying in the city, has taken place in Reykjavík during this long weekend since 2002. It is called Innipúkinn Festival.
This year´s edition was held in two flourishing venues in downtown – Húrra and Gaukurinn. Specially for this occasion a street in front of the clubs was turned into a festival garden with grass and tables where festival goers could sit down and chill out sipping a beer with friends or order a snack at a food’s wagon. Húrra and Gaukurinn adjoin each other so a clever organised schedule gave a possibility to check out what is going on in both venues without too big loss… until traditional festival´s delays appeared.
It is impossible not to picture a nicer opening of the festival than a performance of singer/songwriter Snorri Helgason with his entire band. A classy charming folk music. The show got listeners gently into a festive lazy and serene mood. But the biggest surprise of the first day for me was Justman. A dim voice of the singer wreathed in Húrra and reminded me a bit of Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen. He skilfully creates sonic mosaics basing on guitar walls of sound fueled by powerful drums.
As the most relaxing and offering the best entrancement show I could choose performance of an amazing duo of esteemed personalities on Icelandic music scene – Borko and Futuregrapher. It is not a secret that Futuregrapher is sometimes called Icelandic Aphex Twin and his dreamy soft electronic combined with energetizing rhytms of Borko was almost an intimate experience and an incredible possibility to dance and sink in other state of mind.
That night Gaukurinn presented a heavy stuff. Bands like punk Börn, garage punk Pink Street Boys or hardcore Muck made some noise. In case of the second of mentioned artists a youthful punk energy almost bubbled away from stage. Simply insanity. Muck also didn’t save their crazy power. Singers screamed like mad almost spitting their lungs but they always present far more than 100% of the norm. A superb show with mostly fresh new material.
The second day of the festival at Húrra was successfully kicked off by Loji with his brand new bigger band that performed a premier material. His sound was enriched in electronic beat and synthesizers that made his music darker. Loji got a support of the magnetising female vocal showing its potentiality in low-pitched tones. They gained a point thanks to a cover of the legendary band Mínus entitled ‘The Long Face’.
Low Roar played a magical show with a full band accompanied by Mike Lindsay and Mr Silla that allures with her voice. With new deep compositions they created together a quaint melancholic, fragile and touching mood. Charming.
Benni Hemm Hemm is an unusual artist. Why? He, so talented and with own rich material, initiated a good fun by performing golden oldies of ABBA. His entire huge band with a brass section, guitarists and male as well as female backing vocals – a stage was almost bursting at the seams – did a fine job since the festival goers had a good time then.
The third day was a capstone of the festival and it started with Fufanu’s nicely oily and synthetic basslines hidden in the shadow. The band offered an intricately built walls of guitars, impressive drums and relentless groove. A gloominess, shoe-gaze and some kind of abyss of sounds.
But the most charming artist of that day turned out to be Ólöf Arnalds with her ukulele and so talented Skúli Sverrison on bass guitar. They enchanted the audience. Ólöf is an incredible stage personality with a specific high-pitched voice. In a lovely way she created in Húrra her own private world that listeners eagerly wanted to join.
After such a heart-felt music it came time for a truly dance storm when Boogie Trouble jumped on the stage. If you did not dance, you were a looser then. They played delicious tones related to disco from 70s and 80s. A new song entitled ‘Steinunn’ gave the audience a special kick and literally the temperature started rising.
A high-powered post-punk band Grísalappalísa and a legendary Icelandic bard Megas together on the same stage – this is how the epic grand finale looked like. They definitely know how to rock. Their rock’n’roll explosion of the sound is simply mercilessly addictive. There was absolutely no air in totally packed out Húrra – it seemed like everyone wanted to experience a crowd surfing of the singer and smashing version on Skrítin Birta that closed the whole feast.
Another time, thanks to Innipúkinn, it turned out that even so-called boring people that stayed in the city during this last long weekend of the year can have a blast and Innipúkin Festival 2014 made a really good impression. Looking forward to the next edition!