Wednesday, 22 February 2012

GFF 2012: Backyard

In deciding to host an open-air concert in his garden, Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson cites modest intentions: “we just wanted to record some group of friends in a simple way,” he shrugs. Director Árni Sveinsson unfussily documents the resulting mini-festival from set-up to hot-tub wind-down, as the toast of Reykjavik’s music scene (local giants Bjork and Sigur Ros excepting) thrill an ever-growing crowd.

As you’d expect from so small a city, there’s a genuine sense of community amongst the participants, which makes the domestic nature of the venue (Hlöðversson’s flat is given over to coffee stations) rather apt. Musically, there’s plenty to enjoy, both familiar (Múm’s If I Were a Fish makes for a spellbinding centrepiece) and less well-known (Retro Stefson’s disco-rap and Reykjavik!’s hardcore screams deliver welcome variety). Both gig and film culminate with Hlöðversson’s band FM Belfast performing signature track Underwear, the ennui of its refrain “nothing ever happens here” firmly contradicted by the buzzing atmosphere they’ve helped create.

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