The Noises of the Underground - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Noises of the Underground

The Noises of the Underground

Published March 6, 2009

Nýlenduvöruverslun Hemma og Valda may not look like much of a concert venue to the untrained eye. But to those in the know, it’s a completely different story. The tiny old wooden house has been the host of some of the city’s most legendary concerts, both in the previous incarnation of Kaffi Hljómalind and even earlier than that the legendary record store Hljómalind. So to my mind there wasn’t a better place to start this series of concerts dedicated to the Reykjavík underground scene.
First band on was the magnificent Swords of Chaos, whose punk-tinged noise rock fit the place perfectly. There are many things you can say about Swords of Chaos, but boring is definitely not one of them. Singer Úlfur leapt and bounced around the room while the band created some of the loudest, most abrasive rock music you’ll find in Reykjavík these days. Hopefully they’ll have a release of some sort out soon.
Following Swords of Chaos was going to make almost any band look tame, but Faðir Vor probably more so than most. Their calm, meditative jazz rock was interesting, if a little dull at parts. At a different place, under different circumstances, they might have been easier to enjoy but they seemed out of their element. After playing for almost an hour, it wasn’t until the last twenty minutes or so that they broke out of their groove and really gave their two drummers a chance to shine.
The final band of the night was Bárujárn. And it was obvious from the moment they started setting up their equipment that they wanted to put on a show; even if they didn’t quite deliver what they promised, they still were pretty close. Musically, Bárujárn are among the more exciting bands around. Mixing heavy rock, punk, psychedelia and surf rock into a cocktail may not be unique, but they certainly has a fair amount of originality. The addition of theremin certainly made them a bit more interesting. Not to mention the go go dancers, flashing lights and disco uniforms.
I don’t think anyone has had any doubt about the quality of the Reykjavík underground music scene for a long time. But it is certainly nice to get a reminder like this every once in a while.

  • What: Grapevine Grassroots number 1
  • Who: Swords of chaos, Faðir Vor and Bárujárn
  • When: Friday, Febuary 13
  • Where: Hemmi & Valdi
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