A couple of fun facts about Iceland: more than half of its population resides in the capital, Reykjavik, and a good 80% of them speak better English than mother-tongue English speakers (yes, I am looking at you, destroyers of proper spelling, faithful lovers of abbreviations and text-messaging talk, and haters of correct grammar). Not everyone looks like Björk (remember the myth of blonde, clear-eyed scandinavians?), and judging by the amount of great musicians this country has given us, they've got nothing better to do on cold, dark winter days than make music. Now that we've got this cleared, close your eyes and imagine what Icelandic Country-Folk could sound like. Foreign and airy and quiet, right? Wrong. I'll throw a name out there: Calexico. Yes, believe it or not, you don't need a desert for a backyard or a texan accent to make music that sounds like it was conceived during a long indian summer; add a very vibrant, deep voice that resonates off of the B72 walls, and you've got Hudson Wayne. There is something about that band I'd never heard of which already fascinated me during the soundcheck, an ability to sound so familiar and cozy and at the same time so unscandinavian, if I may say so, and this fascination continued throughout their whole set as I watched them charming their audience little by little, until said audience was almost sad to see them go offstage to be replaced by the seven members of Seabear. By that time, I was already wonderfully and bittersweetly happy.

As soon as the band climbed on stage, the crowd went crazy. If it wasn't for the fact that there was no actual space to move (I mean this. The crowd was one gigantic pair of Siamese twins), people would have thrown their arms into the air and jumped up and down from pure happiness. The lead singer smiled, greeted Vienna, smiled again, and showed off his German at the end of the first song with a perfect „Dankeschön“. They played a good amount of new songs from their new album We Built A Fire (which was just released on Morr Music) among which Leafmask and Wooden Teeth, and old favorites such as Cat Piano. I was on my guard at first, because even though I thoroughly enjoyed every song, they were not as communicative as I was expecting hoping, but after a couple of songs that changed completely and as Sindri introduced every song, something called charisma made the miracle happen, the mood lifted, and the room turned into one big living room party – with laughter coming from the audience as a string broke on stage and a guitar was accidentally swung into the violin. The musicians on stage took turns being nervous, concentrated, friendly, and cute. The show ended in a joyful tone, with a wonderful cover of Chris Isaac's Wicked Game. I know, the song itself is meant to be sensual and deep, but the images of the video flashing into my head combined with the fact that Seabear were actually covering this song did nothing but make me smile. Overall a great show, where Hudson Wayne's earthiness balanced out pretty well with Seabear's explosive character. Takk fyrir!

(liking the photos? here's a couple more from the soundcheck!)