Words - Nick Bason / Photos - Nick Miners

FM Belfast take to the stage at Cargo with an air of expectation over them. The show is on the eve of the release of the Icelandic outfit’s second album, “Don’t want to sleep”, which should see the electronic dance crew make the leap from Reykjavik party band to established international artists. The three years since 2008’s “How to make friends” album have seen them build up a reputation as a live band not to be missed, and they’ve brought over six of their core members for this short European tour.

The band launch into set opener “I can feel love” with cries of “Shall we have a disco?”, and the following 65 minutes are pure uplifting electro-pop genius. It’s clear that FM Belfast are a band at the top of their game, and by the time they lay down new track “I don’t want to go to sleep either” four songs into their set, the Cargo crowd are eating out of their hands. The material from the second album has helped refresh the band’s live show, and it’s not often that an audience greets the live premiere of unreleased new material with such unbridled throwing of shapes and pulling of dance moves.

The core of the performance is their first album, and “Frequency”, “Par Avion” and “Lotus” (the band’s re-working of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name”) unleash the full joyous force of an FM Belfast gig. New track “In Line” gets the audience doing a kind of lasso dance that is as bizarre as it is entertaining, and there’s not one dull moment throughout the set – from either band or audience.

Singers Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir and Árni Hlöðversson are the fulcrum of the chaos around them, but FM Belfast have always felt more like a collective rather than a traditional band. When they are joined onstage by guest star Snorri Helgason, it’s clear the audience know their Icelandic music scene and Snorri pops up throughout the latter half of the set to add percussion and general bonhomie to proceedings.

The encore of a remixed “Tropical” and “Underwear” bring the show to it’s frenetic conclusion. The Cargo audience sings as one the latter track’s chorus of “We’re running down the street in our underwear”, and no one in the room can fail to have been converted to the FM Belfast cause. This is a band who have a good time, all the time, and it’s hard to think of a better live act out there right now.