ZEBRA KATZ @HÚRRA, July 18
Only in Iceland can you purposefully come an hour late and still be an hour early. Just a handful of people were there when I arrived and the backroom stage area was still closed.
First DJ was playing some really interesting tracks. It was a nice change of pace to hear some weird hip hop played in clubs. I was dying to annoy him with a “song ID, plz” request a couple of times. Also he was slipping up in the mix and it was getting on my nerves more than it should. Room was close to empty up until the end of his set. The guy taking over took a Top 40 hip hop utilitarian approach: 4x Queen Bey, 2x Ye, 1x that poppy Angel Haze track. A patchwork of hits, but it managed to Frankenstein some vitality into those swaying Icelandic corpses.
Gísli Pálmi. GP. Mister Swagalegur. I’ll say what I’ve said before, the production on those songs is usually great but I’m not completely sold on GP. But he has shitloads of stage charm and no one can take that away from him.
Húrra has the last sort-of indoor smoking spot in Iceland and the smell was definitely travelling. The ventilation system wasn’t working and the backroom stage area was packed. I got to revisit my old smoke-filled buttnasty club days. The sweat was literally dripping from the ceiling and every glass surface. At that moment I would have suffered an Ásgeir marathon as long as it was in a chilled room.
The last act of the night went by a little first name Zebra, last name Katz, middle name Fucking, but you know about that. If you weren’t there then you missed a hell of a show. Stop reading, you’ll only bum yourself out.
There are more skilled rappers out there, but his grace is that his music has its own style and texture. Ima Read was one of the craziest songs I heard that year, hands down. And he‘s definitely fared better than his old collaborator Azealia Banks who seems insistent on shredding her career into confetti through the art of social media.
But the only confetti here at Húrra was the thick drops of sweat and rhymes sploshing onto our heads. Zebra played through a People Under the Stairs gimp mask and several layers of fashionabilia. Frosti Gnarr twiddeled about next to the producer for some reason. Now Katz was hanging upside down from the rafters, calling folks on stage to man the dancing while he had a quick “where-the-fuck-is-that-pitcher-of-water-Gísli-Pálmi-had” look around.
They forgot to charge me for one of the beers. Goaaaal! Back dancing, Zebra was guiding a chant of “that bitch” to the track, which launched him, and a thousand elaborate jackets, into the public eye. There’s something about a crowd of sweaty people, some of which were possibly buzzing on industrial strength stimulants, singing “cut that bitch” at the top of their lungs that just takes me back to my days as a Taylor Swift roadie.
Incidentally, this has been a remarkably well-behaved crowd. And the moment the last track ended the room emptied into the streets into a heaving mass of red-on-pasty-faced downtown dipsters. The 7-foot tall elemental being which had attended the concert in (no joke) layers of head-to-toe fur was nowhere to be seen.