One of the best things about a festival like Iceland Airwaves is discovering bands for the first time. With so many of the bands coming from Iceland, you’re almost guaranteed to see a lot of acts you’d never find back at home, unless you happen to live there or somehow stumble across a used copy of their CD in the “Miscellaneous” section of your local used record store. With that in mind I was excited for Airwaves ’12, even more so because my friend Tristen was attending for the first time. So when our group of four descended on Gamli Gaukurinn for the opening night of the festival, I was already wondering what new group would catch our attention. It turns out I didn’t have to wait long to find out when Legend took the stage at 11:20 PM, the fourth band we saw that night.
JEFF: T, I don’t know about you, but the very beginning of the Legend set had me a bit nervous.
TRISTEN: Agreed. Having the guy working the boards/synths stand on stage and stare out at the crowd is not what you expect to start a set. I think it took five minutes of background noise (and blank staring from the band) before the lead singer made it to the stage. It also took me about five minutes to determine I did not like Legend.
Since we were there for the band coming on directly after Legend (Agent Fresco) I didn’t think we had any choice but to stick it out. But, I was certainly open to suggestions.
JEFF: Yeah, I was feeling the same way. The singer moved around a lot when he finally came out… but didn’t sing. I was in the same boat you are, looking at my watching and thinking to myself, “how long until Agent Fresco?” But then they kicked in and Krummi Björgvinsson started to sing… and I was completely hooked. Mesmerized might even be a better word.
TRISTEN: It took me about two and a half songs, although the first song they played “Amazon War” has no lyrics so I probably shouldn’t count that, to come around. Somewhere in the middle of “City” I realized these guys were really good, “Howl”.
Between Krummi’s undeniable stage presence and the quality of their songs Legend were one of my favorite acts we saw at airwaves. I ended up going out that next morning, to Lucky Records in Reykjavik, to track down a copy of their CD Fearless.
JEFF: And we burned a copy of it onto our Mac, and I put it on my iTouch. You couldn’t stop talking about it for days afterwards, so I finally played it when we took the bus out to the Blue Lagoon on Sunday morning. It was perfect for riding on the bus through that barren landscape. And when “City” came on…. forget about it. Somewhere out there in Hollywood, or Bollywood, or wherever else people make movies, some director is searching for that perfect track for a gangster/cop/sci-fi flick involving the big city. They don’t know it, but this is the song they’re looking for.
TRISTEN: Here is one of the downfalls of digital media. I just bought awesome CDs, but since I did not bring my laptop I had no way to get them on my iPod or play them on the plane ride. So my anticipation to listen through the CDs I picked up in Iceland was sky high when I finally got home. Once again, even though I got some great music, Legend really stuck out as my favorite.
The CD can’t capture the energy from the live show, but the ten tracks are all solid with a couple standouts, “City”, “Sister” and “Devil in Me” specifically. You are more the music writer so I will let you make any band comparisons, if you feel any are warranted. I would just recommend giving Fearless a shot.
You can even get it on iTunes now, so you won’t have to wait to get it on your iPod.
JEFF: Really I’m not even sure comparisons to other bands are needed. Sure, you can pick up a hit of Depeche Mode, or perhaps a slight whiff of The Cure, but there’s some metal influences here too, and the guys from Legend bring it all together, stir it up in a pot, and come up with something unique. Not metal… not industrial… not electronic… but something all their own. And while I completely agree with the strength of the songs you mention, I’ve got to say that while we both agree that “City” is the best song on the album, I put “Lust” up there as a very close second.
As Tristen mentioned Legend’s Fearless is now available in iTunes, so you have absolutely no excuse to not go and listen to their tracks and decide for yourself. I think if you will, you’ll find your mouse pointer hovering over that Buy button.