Skátar's Self Inflicted Death Blow - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Skátar’s Self Inflicted Death Blow

Skátar’s Self Inflicted Death Blow

Published September 4, 2009

Talk about leaving a gap in the Icelandic independent music landscape. Skátar have decided to throw in the towel and I’m not too stoked about that. I could always count on these guys to surprise me when it came to their fried as shit musical ideas. Never a dull moment and in a city of considerable musical pretentiousness, every Skátar release was a breath of fresh air and every recorded song performed on stage had the potential to become something different and twisted, depending on where their heads were at any given moment. This unpredictability and recklessness often lead to some not-so-hot performances, but what would it be this fateful night?
The show started with Skátar’s frontman Markús playing a humorous yet plenty musical solo performance—him, alone with his guitar and the between song banter got everybody giggling. Good for him. I’d been looking forward to Me The Slumbering Napoleon as they had left a good impression on me earlier this summer.
Surprised from the slumber
So many bands come to mind when these guys play their dirgy, thought-out and surprising take on experimental indie rock (or whatever you wanna call it). It’s like the 90s of daring and hectic music never happened, and the scene here is better for it. I’m Being Good, Melvins, Shellac, Metroshifter, Skátar and Graveslime are all points of reference. These guys are oddly surprising to the point that they seem to surprise themselves sometimes while playing. But it never becomes too fragile. Wild stop-and-gos, a nasty Purple Haze cover and a bunch of attention grabbing moments that outnumbered the few not-so thought provoking ones. My rad-o-meter slanted well into the red section, so go see those guys and pick up their stash for further inspection when it comes out.
You can say all the jaded shit you want about Sudden Weather Change, but one should be thankful for a young indie band that echoes Unwound instead of The Killers and Sonic Youth as opposed to the fucking Strokes. Joy! I’ve seen them pull better sets out of their collective cute asses but they still made me want to listen due to the sweet connection and flow that seems to be connecting these boys. The bass sound was big and gnarly and their set ran smoothly. Too bad the sound guy didn’t realise there were three guys singing.
Your ironic shoes are no good for stagediving
Reykjavík! were up next and it didn’t take them long to get everybody over into their realm of jangly, noisy and explosive rock debauchery. They have it all figured out now, to the point one is anticipating a false move or a crappy set but it just doesn’t happen. These merry men of grease are oiled up to such an extent it’s like a train of fun and outbursts that cannot be stopped. I’m not gonna bother with naming highlights, but while they were playing all the goodbyers of Skátar were packing the house and things got intimate as shit. Good times. Too bad indie rock kids in their ironic shoes don’t know how to stagedive.
By this point the house had a large number of malnourished indie heads and normies that just got off from work. A great mix, might I add. We were even graced with the presence of the annoying longshoreman that yelled “SLAYER!!” between every song. Good lord. Also there was a considerable high number of drunk, under aged kids in attendance, which only added to the party-like atmosphere. What about the boy that was crowd surfing with a bottle of Jägermeister in his hands? Guess the security didn’t give a damn. Stellar.
Swan song
There was a lot of love for Skátar in the room and people anticipated their swan song with shining eyes, which is pretty amazing considering it was getting much too fucking late. Skátar began their set with an anti-bang. The drum-kicker broke, and they had to start the song over. Oh well. It was certainly forgivable. The die-hard Skátar fans were eating it up, and a joyous chaos ensued and it was fun to witness. Crowd surfing, stage invasions, crappy stagedives and Markús’ unpredictable stage antics plus plenty of funny banter between songs.
The fact remains that Skátar failed to do their own material, and their last night on stage, any justice. It’s rather sad, really. A lot of mistakes were made, the band sounded torn and untight for an alarming portion of the set, and there were way too many awkwardly long pauses between songs that stretched the set to the point where it was almost unbearable to stick around for the not-so glorious end. But hits were played, tons of people had fun, Skátar looked humbled but they were having a fucking blast. I truly am saddened that there won’t be any new Skátar material. Let us all marvel and digest their recorded legacy, ’cause there’s so much unique brilliance in their body of work that we will have plenty to sink our teeth into for years to come. A band of nerds for the nerds. You will be missed.

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