It seems everyone enjoyed Sónar Reykjavík so much that the first tier early bird tickets have already sold out for the 2018 festival on March 16th and 17th (notably down to two days from the typical three). You can still get the remaining tier-two early bird tickets for 10.990ISK/€92/$100, but, as always, supplies are limited for this price. The full price ticket is twice that, so if you know you’re going next year, now is the time to act! (Tickets HERE)
In light of the highly affordable tickets for next year, I think it’s fitting to review some of the most impressive up-and-coming Icelandic acts from Sónar Reykjavík 2017.
In no particular order:
The very first act I caught at this year’s festival was Glowie, who is essentially the Icelandic Britney Spears. She was even wearing those tracksuit bottoms with the buttons up the side paired with a sports bra. Very Britney circa 2000.
Photo Credit: R Zhuklevich
I will say that the size of the stage and time of performance made the whole thing a bit awkward. The stage they had her on was quite large. The same stage that Fatboy Slim and Moderate would later play on to packed audiences. Glowie, unfortunately, played at 20:00, so there weren’t that many people there yet. Had the stage been more intimate, the audience would have been probably more into it. Regardless of all this, she held her own on stage and delivered a good performance.
Oh man. This was a great performance. Nerdcore at its finest. GKR put on a solid show to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd. Everyone knew the lyrics, particularly to his hit track “Morgunmatur”. It is quite brilliant to cash in on awkwardness and breakfast. GKR boasts an entirely inoffensive, yet quality repertoire worthy of a second look.
Photo Credit: R Zhuklevich3. Hatari
After seeing their performance, the description on the Sónar Reykjavík website makes a lot more sense: “Hatari is a multimedia performance project which aims to unveil the relentless scam we call everyday life.”
Hatari took the stage with absolute conviction. Not once did any performer on stage break character. This was the most impressive part of the performance. The costumes had a Third Reich feel to them, which I can only assume was intentional given the whole performance package. Their music was loud, aggressive, and unrelenting electronic beats mixed with a live drummer (who was sporting one of those spikey BDSM motorcycle masks, naturally). Or as Sónar described their music “a concoction of dance-focused MIDI-music, punk & Icelandic doomsday poetry.” I have no idea what that means, but people are really digging it.
Icelandic hip-hop collective Shades of Reykjavík have been around for a few years now, but they just keep refining their act, and it’s showing. Their performance at Sónar this year was full of energy and practically flawless. Their command of the crowd was remarkable. With more than just a couple groupies in the crowed, it’s apparent they are just as popular with the ladies as with the guys. They have some wacky videos worth checking out too, case in point:
This kid is extremely popular in Iceland at the moment. He wrote and released his album Þekkir Stráginn last year when he was just 16. Now at the ripe age of 17 it seems he is still refining his stage performance, but that didn’t stop the crowd from singing along to every single song he performed. His music is the right mix of autotune, bass, and passion, which might just be why he is so popular right now. We’re all looking forward to how he develops as an artist, that’s for sure.
Samaris is a dream. The electronic trio is comprised of a producer, a clarinetist, and a silky smooth vocalist. Ethereal is a common word used to describe this group, and while it comes close, it doesn’t quite capture the enthralling sounds of Samaris. When I listen to them, I get the feeling I’m hearing an ancient lullaby because my Icelandic is rusty and I have no clue what she’s saying, but it’s beautiful either way!
If you are into hip-hop/R&B fusions, then you will want to check out Sturla Atlas. His music is composed of often explicit, but well executed lyrics sung with a dash of auto-tune over simple and effective beats. Some songs will be much more hip-hop, others more R&B, Sturla definitely rides the line, and comfortably. There’s also lots of 101 pride (101 being the zip code and colloquial term for downtown Reykjavík) throughout his albums, which is a surefire way to hype up any crowd in Reykjavík.
Photo Credit: R Zhuklevich