Keeping a finger on the pulse


Getting in the ring with legends – HAM

in Live by

Do you know that feeling when after such an incredible gig you just need a glass of beer? Not even a cigarette that may decorate this moment, maybe just because it was a crazy windy day in the dark Reykjavík. You were speechless. Noone could rub out a wild smile from your face. You thought that possibly maybe the universe was just destroyed so you were moving in no time and no space. Although you were in the middle of the storm called Iceland Airwaves, you actually didn´t need to see any other band tonight. That was enough joy. That was a blast.

Does the name HAM tell you something? Maybe not yet. I must confess that I’m usually sceptical about legendary bands, although it’s pretty simple that not without a reason they are called rock legends. First time I heard of HAM when they released their last album entitled Svik, harmur og dauði in 2011. Quite late, I would say. They have been playing with breaks since 1988. Wait, what? 26 years of experience cannot lie – they a r e real legends. So for over 3 years I have been less or more curious how do they rock on stage and because HAM doesn’t perform much so, between me, you and the gatepost, I was sure I won’t experience it at all and I can only dream of such a gig.

Well… annual Iceland Airwaves music festival seems to be my personal sonic Christmas. As we all know, you can find something under Christmas tree or in your shoe, it doesn’t really matter where. Guess what? I found it. It was hidden somewhere in the middle of a massive storm, in a venue called KEX Hostel. But, holy moly, it was worth struggling against the wind to get there. I was regaled generously with… HAM. I have been living in Iceland for almost two years and haven’t seen anything like this before. That was an overwhelming experience – a concert room of this cosy hostel was totally packed up! It was impossible to stick a finger in between people. They stood on tables, chairs and anything that was possible to climb on. Just to see the band that presented on stage a pure battle of the high-powered heavy pulping sound. What a crazy scenery of synchronic and rapid waving sea of heads that spread around vibes of real joy! I was positively shocked because normally you would expect there only metalheads. But you know what? Middle-aged dignified women and men wearing tie also raised the roof.

All eyes were on HAM. They are like a mighty machine consisting of a wild rhytm section, guitars sharp like a razor and such harsh and powerful voices that were joined by throats of the audience. The band had at its disposal only limited time due to the KEXP broadcast but it really didn‘t matter to us, listeners. It was forbidden to get off stage without an encore. After almost 10 minutes of absolute craziness, a volley of the applause and a tireless chanting the band‘s name, the return of the king called HAM did truly happen. I’m still not sure I really experienced that. Maybe it was just a crazy wild dream? It was so unusual for Icelandic audience…!

Oh, do you like it? Don’t be afraid of sharing nice music with your friends and music lovers, in the end, sharing is caring and the more people around you know about good sounds the more possible is that soon you will enjoy it live in your town. Even if it seems like HAM will play next time on the very best festival called Eistnaflug in eastern Iceland. Maybe it’s time for you to drop by? 😉

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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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