From Iceland — Tjarnarbíó - Friday

Tjarnarbíó – Friday

Published October 4, 2011

Tjarnarbíó – Friday

Emo-Hip Hop

Two men on stage and no more than twenty people in the audience, this is how Friday night at Tjarnarbíó started. The name Epic Rain may suggest an emo-core band, but these guys were all emo-hip hop. One of them mixed guitar, strings and piano sounds from the computer with groove beats and a little scratching. While the other one added lyrics like “We must be brave from the cradle to the grave” or “The morning newspaper is telling yesterdays news, we are all singing the blues” to it – sometimes spoken, sometimes sung and sometimes whispered in a very deep voice. The range of associations while listening to it shifted from Eminem to Tom Waits to 3 Doors Down’s ‘Here Without You Baby’ – that might sound strange, but it’s true.

Murder at the campfire

Also strange but true: Murder are not a bunch of gothic freaks, but a low-key acoustic duo. Well, all right, I was warned by the booklet, but still: if you hear murder, you think murder! The main singer, accompanied by a second guy with the acoustic guitar and some harmony singing, actually brought to mind Cat Stevens’ way of singing. The small, but devoted audience was sitting on the floor, watching them like looking at a campfire. Nice and cosy indeed!

Gypsy Marilyn

Cello, piano, violin, violin, guitar (acoustic), guitar (electric), trombone, horn, trumpet, trumpet, bass, singer, accordion and drums – that’s what the line-up of Útidúr looked like. Mostly played in waltz-like six-four time, Útidúr sounded like dreamy, folky, gypsy music. The only thing distracting the attention from the enjoyable music was the Marilyn-esque front singer. Even though her platinum blonde hair was longer than Monroe’s, she kept on running her fingers through it, moving and singing in a similar I’m-a-girl-and-what-I-do-best-is-looking-sexy kind of way, totally unnecessary.

Playful French weirdness

Útidúr played to of a full house, and when French band Gablé came on, they got Tjarnarbíó to burst, a few people even had to wait outside in the drizzling rain to get in. On top of the first layer of electronic beats, Gablé hit a lot of drum-like items like cymbals, a guitar case, a milk can and… well drums. They added guitars, glockenspiel and from time to time a flute or a toy trumpet and a lot of other random items. Powerful stops in the up-tempo music were filled witch odd sounds, collective whispering or strange bell ringing… Fun, fun, fun (for me, for them, and for everybody else)!

Unpretentiously soulful

Highlight of this night’s festival at Tjarnarbíó was US-singer Angel Deradoorian. Most of the party crowd went to dance at some other Airwaves venue, but half of the fifty people remaining made themselves comfortable in the row of chairs in the back. The other half gathered around very closely to the stage, matching the pure and intimate style of Angel’s songs. Without any drum machine in the back round or delay on her microphone, Angel Deradoorian accompanied herself sometimes with piano and sometimes with an electric guitar and produced a very soulful handmade sound. Her interesting phrased alto was filling up the air: Pure, strong and unpretentious.


DJ Margeir brought a string quartet plus electric violinist and conductor along – with notes and music stands and all. His electronic set was making you want to dance. But the parts of the strings were kind of redundant because they didn’t do much more than double the electronic accents. Well, not very spectacular. It was funny to watch the conductor though; he was nodding his head to the beat making circular movements with his hands – looked like he was dancing in a house club. A few people left, others got in the groove and filled up the dance floor.

Funk, undefined

The number of spectators went up, when Jónas Sigurðsson & Ritvélar Framtíðarinnar, a funky, afro beat combo with brass section came on stage. Maybe the sound technician was tired after all the previous bands, who knows, but the sound of Jónas Sigurðsson and his band was kind of too full and undefined. I couldn’t even acoustically separate the separate brass instruments. What I heard of the drumming and keys was funky and tight; the voice of the singer wasn’t much special, but all right, as far as I could hear. The crowd liked it and replied with some serious hip shaking and a bunch of woohoos.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Festival Central
A Fishing Warehouse Comes Alive

A Fishing Warehouse Comes Alive


Show Me More!