From Iceland — A Super-slow Evening

A Super-slow Evening

Published June 15, 2007

A Super-slow Evening

The electro duo Isan was finishing their set when I arrived at Iðnó theatre on a Tuesday evening where the Morr Music night was taking place. The British pair is signed to the Berlin-based independent music label, as were the rest of this evening’s line-up: Tarwater, The Go Find and two Icelandic bands, Seabear and Benni Hemm Hemm.

The atmosphere at Iðnó was casual and quiet, to say the least. Isan’s two members stood still behind their computers, creating hypnotizing and dreamy tunes that could easily make for a sensory pleasure when played in the privacy of your home, but the respected electro duo didn’t astound anyone when performing live to an almost empty venue. They finished their set without even looking at the few people who attended the show, who were either sitting cross-legged on the floor or standing silently in the back, staring at the stage. The evening’s experience wasn’t about to change for the remaining four-hours.

The next to take the stage was one of the newest members of the Morr music family, the Icelandic band Seabear. What used to be a solo act is now a full-fledged band, counting a total of eight members in the last song. Standing completely still and extremely focused while playing the acoustic guitar, Sindri Sigfússon, the frontman of Seabear, has already proved that he is an outstanding singer and songwriter. When accompanied by a band of five to eight (depending on the song), he delivered his intimate and minimalist country pop perfectly and demonstrated that he deserves all of the praise that’s been given to his debut, The Ghost That Carried Us Away, released a few weeks ago. Seabear was the highlight of the night and is very likely the next big thing to come out of the Icelandic music scene.

The serious looking German duo Tarwater impressed as well. The melancholic and sophisticated electro pop hit right on the spot with beautiful melodies, weird sounds and funky vocals. Sadly, the same can’t exactly be said about the following act, The Go Find. Led by Dieter Sermeus, the band was a little more energetic than the previous artists but their live performance of easy-listening indie-pop songs was both pretentious and unmemorable and just depressing to watch. The group didn’t manage to appeal to the few fans in the crowd.

Luckily, Benni Hemm Hemm and his large group of friends, including as always an extremely lively brass section, came to the rescue. The group never fails to impress and ended the evening with a powerful and intense performance that almost made the stay worth the while.

This varied mix of experimental music groups could have made for a great and memorable show but, sorry to say, the concerts newer really managed to kick off, and rising moments were almost nonexistent. This can partly be blamed on the lack of audience. A smaller venue could perhaps have made the experience more interesting and the artists more enjoyable to watch.

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