Dimma - Live In Harpa, Reykjavík, Iceland - October 8th 2021
This performance will be remembered as the first independent concert of a heavy metal band at Harpa – Iceland’s most prestigious concert hall. According to its official website, “Harpa is one of Reykjavík’s most striking landmarks and a centre of cultural and social life in the very heart of the city. Harpa is a tourist destination and an award-winning work of art that has been visited by millions of people since opening in 2011”. Some of the more impressive awards Harpa has received are: "Mies van der Rohe - European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Award (2013). Harpa was chosen as one of the best concert houses of the new millenium by Gramophone Magazine 2010 and rewarded as the Best Conference Centre in Europe by Business Destination magazine in 2016. Most recently it was an unbeatable choice by the jury for the USITT Architecture Award for acoustic".
Dimma sold all available tickets online, before the concert. They had performed already at Harpa, with a symphonic orchestra, but 8th October this year was their first concert at Harpa with their base line-up: Stefán Jakobsson (vocals), Ingó Geirdal (guitar and backing vocals), Silli Geirdal (bass and backing vocals), and Egill Örn Rafnsson (drums). Locals consider this quartet Iceland’s leading heavy metal group. Even though other Icelandic bands may be better known abroad, when it comes to heavy metal, Dimma is unmatched.
The event was closely linked to the promotion of their ground-breaking (in the artistic sense) studio album “þögn”. The concert comprised two parts, with a break in between: the band first played the album from start to finish, then they performed some of their earlier pieces.
The acoustics were even better than expected. Considering the venue, we were seated. I was given tickets no. 1 and 2 at the best area, just next to the stage. I thought the sound was a similar quality to listening at home, from very decent hi-fi equipment. However, I’m sure everything was live, no playback.
The musicians had a contagious energy. They maintained close contact with the audience, were running around the two-level stage, headbanging and encouraging the audience to join in chanting and clapping.
At one point, the vocalist Stefán rode into the stage vertically on a special lift (perhaps inspired by Iron Maiden, but impressive nevertheless), and next time run off the stage to climb three meters up the outside of the balcony. He was singing with one foot on the railing and the other outside of the balcony.
An interesting moment was when Ingó played a two-minute neoclassical guitar solo (like Yngwie Malmsteen) – short, but enough to add that little something. He had a cross hanging from his guitar and the mic stand was made from chain links welded together.
Bassist Silli seems to be the greatest headbanger of the band and his musical role is essential – especially that Dimma only has one leading guitar. By the way, I enjoyed observing how perfectly the two brothers-founders (Ingó and Silli) understand and complement each other.
To finish, the members of Dimma took a group photo, showing a full house of fans, all having a great time. They bowed the way Motörhead always used to do, while Stefán gave us a fist-bump.
One of the pieces was performed by the Icelandic diva Guðrún Árný. It was a cover of her “Andvaka”, which for the LP “þögn” was made into a mighty and wonderful hard rock ballad. Specially for her, the tech team dragged a piano onto the stage, so Guðrún could play her intro, and then sing. When she left the stage, she got a standing ovation – and was clearly overjoyed to see the audience’s enthusiasm.
Other special, guests were twelve members of the choir “Stormsveitin” (meaning: “The Stormtroopers”), who joined at the right moments (although quite infrequently). They sang from the balconies on the third floor, just by the stage (six on each side).
I do consider the evening particularly exciting and simply unforgettable. I’m not alone in this opinion – many local fans commented, saying it was the best show they had ever seen. Those who did see it want more and are eager to know the new dates – the proof can be found in the comments section on Dimma’s official Facebook page.
I wrote to guitarist Ingó the next day: “The show was spectacular. The whole band was so full of energy, and sound quality just like at home. Amazing performance, wonderful lighting, first-rate guest, great songs. Brilliant.”
PS: We would like to kindly thank the organisers for the invitation.