Culture
Music
AN EVENING AT GRANDROKK

AN EVENING AT GRANDROKK

Published July 11, 2001

Grandrokk is one of those places that has what so many pubs promise but few deliver, atmosphere. What is it that gives a place atmosphere? It’s certainly not the stale air, cigarette smoke or stench of alcohol oozing from every pore. That applies to every bar in Reykjavík, and probably the world. It has something to do with decor, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, or any dive with a few amusing placards and posters of 70´s rock stars would have atmosphere.
It’s got something to do with staff. Bartenders are given power seldom entrusted to mere mortals. At a whim they can send you farther up into the heights of drunken bliss, or have you banished into sobriety, and the amount of money in your pockets does not always determine whether you wind up in one group or the other. You are completely at their mercy, and pray they treat you kindly, offering a sympathetic ear and refreshments for a small fee.
But most of all, atmosphere has to do with the clientele. You can have the most intimate decor, and the most benevolent of bar staff, but if the clientele doesn’t add colour, or even stays away altogether, your bar will be nothing but an empty shell.
Grandrokk used to be situated at Klappastígur 30, where Sirkús currently resides. Grapevine spent many a Saturday afternoon there in its youth, downing pints and dreaming of a promising future in publishing. Little has changed but the price of beer. At the time, you could get Jever on tap for 300kr, by far the cheapest in town, and this attraction cut across many a cultural divide. At Grandrokk, you would find teenagers coming to get drunk for the first time and old bohemians getting drunk for the last, and everything in between. On occasion, someone would spontaneously get up to read poetry, the music was turned off and everyone would quiet down and listen. Ah, happy days. But alas, it was not to last.
Grandrokk moved to its present location at Smiðjustígur 6. The number of beers on tap multiplied, but, tragically, so did the price, and a nightly pint of Jever became a thing of the past. Nonetheless, the atmosphere moved to the new place, or, in fact, spread evenly among the two successor bars. The younger cats, the hipsters and the artistic wannabes and willbes remained put at Klapparstígur, whereas the older ones relocated to Smiðjustígur. The most notable of these was the chess club Hrókurinn (The Rook). Almost every table in the bar has a built in chessboard, and you can come in there at any time of day to play, and be sure to find a number of willing opponents. Be careful of playing for beer, though, as most members are pretty proficient, and have often gotten in foreign teams to compete. Among notables who have played The Rook are Kasparov, and Anand. The Rook won the Icelandic cup for chess clubs in 2002, and has just returned from a tour in Greenland.
As Grapevine enters the bar at 5 o clock on a Friday, the evening is just kicking off. First up is a pub quiz. 30 questions are asked, and the winner wins a crate of beer, but the catch is that at least 15 questions must be answered correctly. The regular quiz host is unavailable, and the newcomer is given a hard time of it. It happens to be the 4th of July, so the questions are dedicated to American Lowbrow culture. This does not amuse the regulars, most of whom know more about Icelandic poetry and the sagas than about Oprah or Star Wars. Every question is second guessed and/or shouted down, the host puts up a heroic defence but is in the process of becoming the most reviled man in the room. He asks who was the commander of British Forces in World War I, in one of the questions not dedicated to the theme of the day, and the audience smell blood. He neglects to mention whether this refers to Army, Navy or combined forces, and for a moment it seems as if Iceland might witness its first lynching of the century. As tempers flare he belatedly announces that it was the Army he was asking about, his life is spared and the competition resumes. As it turns out, the result is a tie between two people who both managed 13 points, but no one was a contender for the crate of beer, so the sudden death rule is not invoked (Grapevine manages a measly 9).
The quiz over, there is no pressing need for the use of mental faculties, at least for those not playing chess, and hence the bar is hit hard. The regulars at Grandrokk are considerably more talkative than your average Reykjavík bargoer, and this with only the aid of moderate amounts(as yet) of alcohol. The first man Grapevine finds itself engaged in conversation with to claims to have designed the backdrop for films such as Angels of the Universe and Nói Albínói, and says he wrote the story Ikingut, also made into a film. He lectures Grapevine on JFK and the magic bullets, and about how LBJ and the southern oil barons had him killed. Then, in yet another attempt to expose Grapevine’s ignorance, he pulls out 12 matches and challenges Grapevine to take one away, promising that Grapevine will wind up with the last match, and hence lose the game. Grapevine duly finds itself holding said last match.
Everyone having had their share of merriment, and chairs being requisitioned by chess players, it now finds itself talking to a man who titles himself an artist. He proudly announces that unlike most of his peers, he is a member of the Conservative Party. Attempting to convince Grapevine of the merits of this, he tells us that all this talk of the poor getting poorer is merely relative, it is in fact the rich getting richer, and hence there is no need to worry. Grapevine finds itself quite as dumbfounded by this as by disappearing matches, and decides to concentrate on the drinking. We think it best to end our report here, and let Grapevine go about its business, among the friendly late night drinkers at atmospheric Grandrokk. Vladur



Culture
Music
HOLY SHIT DOOMRIDERS ARE IN TOWN!

HOLY SHIT DOOMRIDERS ARE IN TOWN!

by

Hey guess what! Doomriders are back in town! And they’re playing Húrra tonight! This seminal metal band tore our faces off and shook our guts to the core when they burned down Grand Rokk eight years ago (with the help of I Adapt). That show certainly left a mark on a lot of people in Iceland’s metal scene (much like the 2004 Iðnó appearance by Doomriders’ stalwart Nate Newton’s other band, the mighty Converge), so much that noted hater Bogi Bjarnason is even excited for the show. This is what he told us: To wrap your weekend up on a high note,

Culture
Music
GY!BE, Deafheaven, Mudhoney AND MORE For ATP 2015

GY!BE, Deafheaven, Mudhoney AND MORE For ATP 2015

by

While some of you have barely gotten over Airwaves, the news just keep rolling in for next year’s SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS! So, imagine you’re at All Tomorrow’s Parties , the  sun is beaming down on your face as you close your eyes and hug your friends, laughing jovially at how lovely life is, while your ears are being made love to by Canadian post rock LEGENDS: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. YEAH! They will be joined by (drum roll please): Belle and Sebastian Run The Jewels Mudhoney Deafheaven Iceage Loop Chelsea Wolfe The Field White Hills Ghostigital Vision Fortune Younghusband Tall Firs

Culture
Music
Carcass Announced For Eistnaflug 2015

Carcass Announced For Eistnaflug 2015

by

Metal pioneers Carcass and heavy metal stalwarts Kvelertak were added today to Iceland’s annual Eistnaflug metal festival’s lineup. The festival is held each year in Neskaupsstaður, but announced that it’s upping its ante this year, inhabiting a bigger venue and with more tickets available. Carcass originated in Liverpool, England and have been playing since 1985 and are considered by many the founders of grindcore, as well as being credited with influencing the melodic death metal movement. Last year they released their sixth studio album, ‘Surgical Steel,’ which is their first in seventeen years. The complete lineup for Eistnaflug is as follows: Agent Fresco (IS)

Culture
Music
Markéta Irglová Plays in Harpa Concert Hall tonight

Markéta Irglová Plays in Harpa Concert Hall tonight

by

Academy Award winning musician Markéta Irglová will play at Harpa concert hall tonight as part the final step of her two-month tour around Europe and North America. Markéta first came to prominence as a seventeen year old in the Irish feature film ‘Once.’ The film ended up claiming the 2006 Academy Award for Best Original Song and Marketa subsequently toured for years with her co-star Glen Hansard under the banner of “The Swell Season”. In more recent times Iceland has become Markéta’s adopted home, and her new album ‘Remember’ was entirely written here. “I came to Iceland for the first time with

Culture
Music
Welcome To The New Year

Welcome To The New Year

by and

By the time this issue hits the streets, we will be halfway through the fourteenth edition of the Iceland Arwaves festival. At the day of publication, Friday November 7, Straumur will be hosting an off-venue show at the independent cinema Bíó Paradís, where Vorhees, Sin Fang and Unknown Mortal Orchestra will perform (in that order!) from 16:15-19:00. Later that same day, we will also be hosting an official Airwaves show at Gaukurinn (starting at 20:00) where, among others, Oyama, Strigaskór Nr. 42, Black Bananas and Fufanu will grace the stage. The off-venue in Bíó Paradís continues throughout the weekend during

Culture
Music
What’s That Pinging? It’s Sónar-Eistnaflug Announcements!

What’s That Pinging? It’s Sónar-Eistnaflug Announcements!

by

What’s the best thing to help with the post-festival blues? Some might say staying in bed with a ready supply of Parkodin and Coca-Cola; some might say jogging, water and some kind of paleolithic food regimen. I say: NO! The answer is more music festivals, of course. With that in mind, Sónar Reykjavík and Eistnaflug today unveiled more big names to joint their star-studded 2015 lineups. Sónar will see: TV On The Radio returning to Iceland for the first time since their memorable Airwaves show in 2003, joined by the languid disco-pop of Kindness, Swedish singer and rapper Elliphant, and British producer

Show Me More!