Keeping a finger on the pulse

Johnny and the Rest

Dancing with the wolves – Johnny And The Rest

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An alarm clock. A snooze. Again and again. It becomes a never-ending loop. At some point I started wondering how was it possible that last winter I had been waking up at around 5 a.m. and then I hadn’t needed extra 2 hours to get up from bed. Was that a miracle or what?! God bless Rás2 for playing every single morning Wolves in the night so I had been immediately up… how I miss it recently in those dark mornings! And for now 8 a.m. is enough, I promise, it doesn’t have to be earlier.

On one hand, darkness in Iceland doesn’t allow me to get out of bed and lately I realised why some bands will forever and ever explore in their lyrics the subject of sleep and dreams. On the other hand, it creates perfect conditions to befriend some new bands. Like it happened in the dimness of Skuggabarinn during Iceland Airwaves 2013 when suddenly someone started singing in a way I could describe as pouring warm delicious honey and, as you may know, eating honey is a very good thing to do, like Winnie-The-Pooh says. A luxury bar turned imperceptibly into kind of creepy whisky bar. Hail to Johnny. And The Rest. They took me back. I felt like I’m again a little girl listening to old good 70’s blues with daddy.

Ok, enough about darkness. Smile as wild as you can, enjoy the summer solstice of 2014 in Iceland. Can you smell the air and grass underneath your feet? Johnny And The Rest is conquering the stage. I’m still waiting for the day they will reflect on the album exactly how amazing they sound live. So… two totally different and contrasting but beautifully working together vocals are starting spreading charm. One of them was mentioned above, so low-pitched and warm. I can recognize it everywhere… and I grin broadly just thinking of it. The second vocal sounds higher, crazy, wild, a bit dirty and harsh… like Jim Morrison’s. Guys just wanna have fun on stage and easily are reaching their goal. Seems like it doesn’t really matter if they play indoor or on some open-air event like Secret Solstice Festival – this joyous quartet is able to start an uncontrolled fire of the energy and tame the crowd by making an electrifying impression by their psychedelic rhytm’n’blues and stage attitude. Can you see how they rock…!? They deliver sound rich in blues riffs and guitar solos and headline-grabbing bass lines. Moving swiftly on, the band is offering lavishly high points of the performance in the shape of some catchy and melodic hits like Wolves in the night or sounding more reggae Mama Ganja that involves almost entire audience and spreads good vibes around. Johnny’s gang is trying to call a good weather on this longest day of the year and at the end of their performance they are playing a song entitled Golden Tibet with a repeated like a mantra phrase sjáðu sólina (see the sun). Well, well, well… aren’t they warlocks? Look at the sky, they are succeeding! The sun is coming! They promised they are gonna give a hell of the show at Secret Solstice. It was so heart-warming, they proved they deliver.

It is hard to imagine they could play without radiating such a joy of being on stage and playing together. Johnny And The Rest is not just a band. It is a state of mind of the band members, some kind of addiction but you are not really able to overdose it. British have already experience their performances. Shall you do that too? Remember, you are welcome to the safe house of sinners.

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Stína has followed her passion to Icelandic music as a music journalist since 2010. She joined then a writing team of Muzyka Islandzka - a Polish website dedicated to Icelandic music. Spreading her wings, Stína started her adventure with Icelandic language and moved to Reykjavík where she studied the language at the university. She also takes an active part in life of the local music scene. Since 2014 Stína had run a music blog that was transformed in 2017 into a printed magazine on Icelandic music.

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