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Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
@jeremydwilliams
10:54 AM 17th July 2022
arts

Gig Review: Hatari - Electric Ballroom

Icelandic techo-punk-rock group Hatari first came to international attention when they were selected to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2019. With their BDSM driven imagery and anti-capitalist rhetoric, they proved a divisive presence.

While many saw them as a novelty act, others hailed their sound as one of Eurovision's finest moments. Three years later and the band have more than proven the nay-sayers wrong with a stunning debut album and sold out shows the world around. As they finally landed in London to deliver a Covid-delayed show, Camden's Electric Ballroom was packed to the brim on one of the hottest nights in British history to immerse themselves in the experience.

Ahead of their set, London's premium Jewish Queen Ash Kenazi took to the stage for a comedic turn featuring some pop classics, a little bit of opera and the story of a straight caterpillar blossoming into a gay butterfly. With faultless comedic timing, their lively performance featured a Communards classic on a treadmill and a key moment from Fiddler on the Roof re-imagined.

Fully warmed up (both mentally and physically), the audience screamed with glee as the lights changed and the powerful Mission Statement appeared on the screens and the band members entered the stage one by one. Masked drummer Einar Stefánsson was first, followed by the robotic Matthías Haraldsson and playful Klemens Hannigan. As they launched into Ódýr, the audience were immediately entranced as they spiritedly sang along.

With Hatari never breaking out of their fully realised characters, their performance was a faultlessly choreographed vision that was powerful, thought provoking and uplifting. Although there are clear audience favourites - X, Spillingardans, Klámstrákur, Klefi / Samed and Engin miskunn - the audience consumed every moment of the all too brief performance.

While their epic new single, Dansið eða deyið, shows signs of a slight sonic move towards a more dance heavy sound, it was with the encore of the Eurovision classic, Hatrið mun sigra, that the audience were inevitably at their most united.

Hatari may be seen by some as a novelty Eurovision act, but the truth of the matter is very different. They are an alarmingly astute concept act that know how to both deliver a killer performance and compose addictive anthems.