Culture
Live Reviews
Saving Iceland Mega Concert

Saving Iceland Mega Concert

Published July 13, 2007

A barefoot girl with long blonde hair reaching down to her lower back was dancing enthusiastically to the deserving catchy beats of Retro Stefson when I entered NASA on a slow Monday night. In front of and around her people were leisurely sprawled across the floor, many sitting Indian style, patiently watching as the Stefson teens effortlessly spun out their unpretentious, soulful and enchanting pop.

Organised by the campaign group Saving Iceland as a protest and fundraiser against large-scale industrial projects in Iceland, the concert had drawn a crowd and an atmosphere certainly unfamiliar to the nightclub. Giant banners on each side of the dance floor protested Landsvirkjun, the national electric company, and their funding of the Kárahnjúkar hydropower plant under construction in eastern Iceland, a plant that will power an enormous aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður.

Bogomil Font and friends took the stage, led by former Sugarcubes member Sigtryggur Baldursson dressed in a white suit and hat that completed his look and sound, as a member of the audience accurately put it, as “that lounge singer.” Yet people remained enthused, staring up pensively at the stage where in the background a slideshow of pictures grounded them, quite literally, to the point of the show. Photographs of beautiful and massive Icelandic landscape flashed across the screen, areas that are being destroyed in the eastern highlands by heavy industrialisation and areas targeted for further development in the near future. Rúnar Júl, Skátar, Mr. Silla og Mongoose and Ólöf Arnalds followed. Skátar packed a muchneeded punch, and the crowd began to mosh, in a friendly kind of way. In the back a little blonde kid holding on to his mother’s hand was head banging. Mr. Silla og Mongoose brought a change of pace that felt surprisingly natural and as Ólöf Arnalds plucked a sombre song on a ukulele the atmosphere had become so delicate that people felt compelled to tiptoe, if they moved at all.

Andri Snær Magnason, author of bestselling book Draumalandið, a criticism of the government’s policy on heavy industry, took the stage after Arnalds and encouraged people to visit a handful of spots in the wilderness that are destined for industrialisation within the next two years. As an English-speaking Saving Iceland coordinator took the mic, the mood became tense. His accurate, though not terribly articulate, description of the goals of the evening was cheered by most but drew various drunken protests from some Icelanders in the crowd.

Evil Madness and Dimma were a low point. Strakovsky Horo, Reykjavík! and Múm followed as the clear highlights of the show, deserving every bit of the by-then-commonplace enthusiasm of the crowd. The anticlimax following the headlining Múm consisted of superficial electro-pop from Velvet Ego and slightly denser synthesized pop from Bloodgroup.

A little past 1 a.m., the young kids involved with the Saving Iceland project watched the random assortment of patrons leave. They seemed triumphant, full of idealism and eager to pass it on. Perhaps it was a little contagious.



Culture
Live Reviews
Kontinuum Killed It! DOOMRIDERS Sucked!

Kontinuum Killed It! DOOMRIDERS Sucked!

by

The Mercy Buckets’ performance was a first for me. And a first for their front man as well, it would seem, as he was well winded and nearly unable to speak between songs. But in light of their crushing performance, it was but a minor concern. Their whole style is a collection of mismatched odds and ends that is far greater than the sum of its parts. They are a beard-o band that doesn’t play beard-o metal. They are a southern fried rock group with a stage act like that of a hardcore band, shouted vocals and hard hitting drum

Culture
Live Reviews
Floating In A Bubble

Floating In A Bubble

by

Red little spotlights moved constantly across the Húrra logo on the wall, and I could feel the relaxed vibes lingering in the air. Every seat was taken by folks enjoying pints of beer and chitchatting in the dimmed room, and everyone seemed to be looking forward to an evening of newcomer Geislar’s yet unknown tunes. The band Geislar was formed earlier this year, and has just released its debut album (it was not yet out at the time of this show). I had no idea what to expect from this novel arrangement of respected local artists, as they had only

Culture
Live Reviews
Oyama Have Turned A New Leaf

Oyama Have Turned A New Leaf

by

Arriving at the end of warm-up band Nolo’s set, I hobnobbed with a few friends and wondered if I really should have abandoned the birthday I left to come here. It had been a full year since I last saw Oyama, and I had the following to say about them then: “They embrace the feedback and keep the vibe nice and cool, but I can’t help shake the feeling that Oyama needs a bit more experience, and a better sound check before headlining the likes of Mammút and Pétur Ben again.” That was my gentle way of saying they flopped,

Culture
Live Reviews
Justin Timberlake, A Review

Justin Timberlake, A Review

by

Eight million sweating preteens were packed into Kórinn Sports Hall in Kópavogur on Sunday, August 24, all for one purpose: Justin Timberlake. Also in attendance were those who were alive to have experienced him firsthand in his original incarnation as a tortured child artist on Disney’s ‘Mickey Mouse Club,’ and then for his subsequent reinvention as the only member of ‘N SYNC anyone cared about. Full disclosure: I belong to the latter group. Though it was very dark and full of expensive yet paradoxically cheap beer, the night I finally saw Justin Timberlake perform live in concert was young and

Culture
Live Reviews
A Secret Show In A Secret Place

A Secret Show In A Secret Place

by

“Hey, you guys want to come to my show this Thursday? I can put you on the list.” This was the secret password to score entry into a Sofar Sounds secret show, which I attended last night at a University of Iceland dorm with some fellow Grapevine interns. Sofar Sounds is a music discovery community in the form of a secret club that puts on small, intimate shows all over the world. They’re invite only and usually held in the living room of someone who has volunteered to host, sort of like Airbnb for performances. Getting to this performance felt

Culture
Live Reviews
Low Roar Start Off On A High Note

Low Roar Start Off On A High Note

by

What: Low Roar / Mr. Silla When: August 15, 20:30 Where: Tjarnarbíó, Tjarnargötu 12 Admission: 2,000 ISK It began with one of the best album openers I’ve heard this year. Clocking in at over nine minutes when performed live, “Breathe In” slowly builds and builds, harmonies swelling and reverb-soaked drums thumping, before it calmly retreats back from where it came. The song effortlessly evokes serenity—a clearing of the built-up bustle of every day life before the remainder of the album sets off. For me, it conjured up a misty morning at sea, climbing out of the cabin, looking around and,

Show Me More!