The Icelanders – A Chronicle at Lollapalooza
Written by Gustavo Mesa
In 2009 there were just five talented young guys from Iceland who found themselves in a country place “isolated with not much to do”. As many others do they decided to start a band just to pass time. Four years later, here they are, in a green area inside of the park, full of tents, free drinks, and barbecue smoke in the air, arcades, and band members of from various bands walking by.
The trajectory Of Monsters and Men has been culminated since their first rehearsal to now. With indie-folk music compared to the Arcade Fire and The Lumineers, they won the Músíktilraunir 2010 a traditional battle of bands in Iceland that chose the best band performance of the year.
For the past thirty years their hometown has hosted the event. They have also signed with a big label record company who released their new album EP Into The Woods, and in 2011 released the album My Head Is And Animal that hit number six on the Billboard album charts.
The show ended a few hours ago and the band is now speaking with the press. The vocalist and guitar player Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir talks with a journalist that is standing to my left. The vocalist and guitarist Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson is addressing other journalists standing to the right of me and I am addressing the renaming band members – guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, and bass player Kristján Páll Kristjánsson.
The band was wearing the same clothes they had on during their performance – the bass player had on a shirt, and a vest with bowtie, and the drummer had a Chilean flag tie on around his neck looking like some kind of super hero. They were very impressed about how well both the Chilean audience and the Brazilian audience knew their music.
“It was a big surprise for us” Kristján said, and Brynjar complements “I had no idea that people knew about us here. Seeing them singing ours songs, and saying ‘hey, hey, hey, hey’ was amazing.” We were thinking, “Oh boy what is this?” Arnar adds. “The energy and strength the South Americans have is probably the one of the best in the world.”
The guys from the band Of Monsters And Men have played many festivals in the past but not as many as Queens Of The Stone Age or Pearl Jam have.
“Even being through what we’ve been through on the stage we still have no clue about how things work at all times,” the guitar player said. The trio appreciates these events because the public is “savage and crazy” and the band also gets the chance to perform on the same stage as their idols like Queens of the Stone Age, The Hives and Kaiser Chiefs do.
Arnar admits that it is “cool to spend time with these guys.” However, Brynjar says, “We don’t talk much with other bands maybe it’s because we are the only Icelanders here at Lolla. I don’t think many people know much about Iceland around here…” To know more about this story and others, go to Lollapalooza: Your own festival