In celebration of 20 years strong, the Greenland Whalefishers have put together this very thorough and entertaining documentary that is like a dream come true for fans of the very talented Norwegian Celtic punks. Combining brand new interviews with live footage old and new; going behind the scenes with the band in the studio; as well as TV appearances; music videos and tributes to the band from fans, friends and other bands (i.e. Flogging Molly). ’20 Years of Waiting’ is a pitch perfect celebration of one of the scene’s very best bands.
Vocalist/songwriter Arvid Grov narrates the band’s journey through a series of in-depth interviews that also include different band members at different times. The documentary is in English and while Arvid has a thick accent and a word or two at times get lost in translation, his stories are precise, his memory strong and his passion evident throughout.
There’s a real feeling of camaraderie that runs throughout the film. Every member is interviewed and every member believes not only in the music but in the leadership of Arvid. They all love what they do and all consider themselves very fortunate to be a part of the band. They’re also all very interesting and unique individuals. Fiddle player Odin and his ingenious, custom made instruments and inventions are a particular highlight.
Greenland Whalefishers are obviously heavily influenced by Celtic folk music, and as drummer Orjan readily admits, the Pogues comparison is almost inescapable. But what shouldn’t be overlooked is the connection to, and influence by, punk rock. Particularly 70’s flagship bands like The Ramones, The Clash and The Buzzcocks.
In that vein, what can’t be underestimated is the area in which this band is most impressive (after the music itself), which is their entirely DIY mode of operations. Literally everything this band does, or has done, from the shows, to the albums, to the marketing, to the t-shirts, is done by them (with a little help from their friends).
When you consider that this is a band who has brought its music to five continents, countless cities and countries around the world, you realize that is no small feat. It’s something that will make those who love the band, appreciate them even more.
’20 Years of Waiting’ is something I wish I had for all the bands I love. Like ‘Westway To the World’, like ‘End of the Century’, like ‘The Filth and the Fury’, it is a love letter to a band who have done things the way they want to do them, on their own terms, creating their own success. What’s more punk rock than that? Here’s to 20 more years.