Tag Archives: cambridge

Ásgeir at the Sinclaire 9/30/2017

Friday night we headed out for the Ásgeir gig at the Sinclaire in Cambridge, MA. I had not heard the opener, Tusks, and was very pleasantly surprised.  You can see all the photos over at my Facebook page by clicking the one below:

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all of my Icelandic concert photos will begin appearing on the RagnaarBastiaan FB page including the upcoming Iceland Airwaves, so if you’re so inclined, like the page and follow along.

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Taste of Iceland 2017: Boston edition

Taste of Iceland is back again, March 16-20th with a variety of Icelandic events to please everyone.  Art, Food, literature, Short film, and of course, Music.  Every year they seem to top themselves, and this year looks to be no different.

Music first!  This year two rather large Icelandic bands will be performing at Reykjavik calling on Saturday March 18th; MAMMÚT, and FUFANU.

Reykjavik calling is a free concert at the Middle East Club in Central Square on March 18th at 9pm.  Every year it is packed, and while doors open at 8pm, I would suggest being there early as the line typically wraps around the building and latecomers tend not to get in, so show up early and make new friends while in line.

The Icelandic bands for this year’s festival are Mammút, and FUFANU.  Both bands are extremely popular all over the globe, so it’s really cool they are going to make it to Boston.

mammut

Mammút consist of Katrína Mogensen, Vilborg Ása Dýradóttir, Alexandra Baldursdóttir, Arnar Pétursson, and Andri Bjartur Jakobsson.  Shortly after forming in 2003 they won the coveted 2004 Músiktilraunir, the annual Icelandic battle of the bands.  And now 14 years later they are working on their 4th album.  The following song is still one of my favorites, but you should check out their Youtube page for more videos.

Katrína has one of those powerful voices that along with the rest of the band creates a powerful wall of sound that pulses through you like an angry heartbeat.  They are one of my favorite bands to see in Iceland.

fufanu

Fufanu have certainly evolved over the last 9 years.  In the beginning they were Captain Fufanu an electronic duo, but now they have dropped the captain and Fufanu has released their second album, “Sports.”

Now a three piece, Kaktus Einarsson, Guðlaugur Einarsson, and Erling Bang have created a part new wave – part minimal Alternative pop album that suits their stage presence nicely.  I’ve seen them play many different types of music, but this last year they really were on a plane of their own as they cranked out one hell of a solid set in front of a massive crowd at Harpa.  If you’re a fan of bands such as Oasis, Blur, and the Servants, you’ll really dig their set.

From Boston, the Dirty Dottys will be performing.  A seven piece, self described “pop-motown, rump-shaking, heart-thumping, swoon-inducing ensemble whose goal is to create music that makes their audience, move, groove, and high five their neighbors.

Live shows are like a party, and the musical powerhouse group entertains as well as moves their loyal crowds.

There is a lot more going on during the week as well.  chef Siggi Helga from Grillið restaurant is flying to Boston to create a three course Icelandic dinner at The Merchant with the help of American chef, Edwin Morales.  And he’s joined by the mixologist Kári Sigurðsson and by the Merchant’s Bryan Ames using my favorite Icelandic vodka, Reyka Vodka, and the classic Brennivin.  Check out the Taste of Iceland website for menu and pricing.

The first lady of Iceland, Eliza Reid, will be at WBUR, to discuss the attractions and lure of authors to Iceland, as well as talking about famous Icelandic authors and books.  The Brattle theatre will host a viewing of the short film series, Stockfish, a 6 short film series of Icelandic films.  There will be a discussion and display of Icelandic contemporary art at the The Kingston Gallery at SoWa, hosted by Björg Stefánsdóttir

This week is always a lot of fun, and most of it is free to the public.  Check out the Taste of Iceland page for RSVP’s, details, and fun contests they will be having during the week.

 

 

 

 

Iceland invasion in Boston, Ólöf Arnalds and GusGus

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There will be two different Icelandic acts performing this weekend in Boston. On Saturday the 11th,  Ólöf Arnalds will be at the Paradise Rock Club for the sold out Jose Gonzalez / Ólöf Arnalds gig, and GusGus will be performing at the Sinclair on Sunday the 12th. Two completely different genres of Icelandic music in one weekend.

Ólöf Arnalds has one of those voices that translates well over many different types of music. She’s a former member of múm and has collaborated with a good deal of the Icelandic musician populace while finding the time to release 3 of her own albums. This video is from her newest album, Palme:

Við og Við is the album that I was introduced to her by, and it’s a sweet traditional album of what I have always felt were folktales. Her newer albums have taken that sweet traditional style and incorporated unique beats and modern sounds creating an individual style of troubadour-ism, and she’s started to sing in English which is good for us poor souls that, try as we might, can’t seem to get the Icelandic language down. I’ve had the opportunity to see her a few times around Iceland and each time felt as if this was a personal gig for friends hanging out, as if she had just shown up with a guitar and wanted to play, catering to the atmosphere of the individual venue she was at.

She’s playing with another talented singer-songwriter named Jose Gonzalez. Of Argentinian descent, Jose was born and grew up in Sweden. There’s a great cross culture of pop, latin, and northern found in his songs.

Ólöf Arnalds comes from a diversely musical family. She’s the cousin of Ólafur Arnalds, and she’s the sister of Klara Arnalds of Boogie Trouble. And as you know, I am a massive fan of Boogie Trouble.  Lucky you if you are going to the gig, it’s going to be a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

GusGus have been around for 20 years now and have 10 albums under their belt, 9 studio albums and one live. It’s an ever evolving beast that has been home for many musicians, including Emilíana Torrini, and Magnús Guðmundsson. It now consists of 3 members, Birgir Þórarinsson, Daniel Ágúst Haraldsson, and Högni Egilsson.

Their albums are all in the wide spectrum of electronic, sometimes moody but mostly energetic tracks that come across well both on album and live. Forever will always hold a special place in my collection, as during the time I lost 200lbs, Forever was one of the most frequently used albums as the beat just happened to run parallel to mine at the gym. While they do have a darker feel occasionally, there’s a high energetic wave-band that flows out of them.

I promise no one will be just standing around Sunday night. I’ve seen them play massive gigs with many people on stage in Iceland as well as dj sets in bar-like atmospheres with only a few of them, and they always put on a fantastic show.

It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of music around Beantown so I suggest you get up and out and do something.  There has been a great deal more of Icelandic bands visiting our city, and I hope it continues as it’s been great seeing these folks off the island.

Reykjavik Calling

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And there it was, Saturday night.  Taste of Iceland’s Reykjavik Calling in Cambridge, MA at the Middle East Club.  Three Icelandic bands acting as ambassadors of music coming together with two local bands to bring Boston a cross-cultural event.  Reyka Vodka supplied the alcohol, and a slew of Icelandic sponsors all helped in the event.

Hermigervill, or as he became known; Hamburgurville,  started the show off with a high energy set.  The  crowd was instantly sucked in as he danced right along with his set.  He gave a shout out to Reykjavik’s Harlem bar, as well as delivering a hip hop version of “Glugginn” by the old peace loving Icelandic hippies, Flowers.  near the end he gave another nod to the Icelandic Reggae band Ojba Rasta with a remix of “Jolly Good.”  The man rocks a theremin like nobody’s business.

hermghostHermigervill always performs with an incredible amount of energy, bobbing in and out to and fro with such speed and vigor it’s tough to snag a clear pic.  He was dead center when I hit the clicker on the ole camera, but only his ghostly remains were captured, he’s that quick.

There was so much energy in the crowd and on stage, so nobody could fault him as he attempted to squeeze one more in.  Unfortunately the powers that be stepped in, and that was that.

Next up, Boston locals Skinny Bones played.  A drum, a Guitar and a little Moog creating a pleasant set of shoe gazing rock.

sinfangerSin FangSindri Már Sigfússon, was next.  The crowd was in for it, as Sindri gave us samples of new bits as well as reworkings of old bits, while some bits stayed the same.  He was joined on stage by Skinny Bones for a collaborative version of “Young Boys.”

Speaking with Sindri before the show, he mentioned we can expect new music from him shortly, and of course he’ll be touring in the future.

The Love Experiment was next.  Dance, funk, jazz, soul….  Too many styles to list, all wrapped up in almost an hour of jamming on stage.  There seemed to be a bit of freestyle jamming going on, especially once Joined by Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson and Logi Pedro Stefánsson of Retro Stefson.

3 out of 7 ain’t bad, and that’s what we got from the Retro Stefson camp.  Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson and Logi Pedro Stefánsson joined by Hermigervill came on stage, bringing the Retro Stefson unique dance style with them.  Perhaps the alcohol had been flowing a little too freely, or perhaps I was just in a good mood, but I really got into their set, though I will whole-heartedly deny any and all rumors of dancing…

allinallTo end the evening, all of the musicians came back on stage.  There were sax’s, guitars, theremins and synths.  A lot of singing and hanging out and of course, a cover of Lauren Hill’s “Ex Factor.”  Because, why not?!  Definitely a great way to end a great night.

I harassed Logi Pedro about Highlands, his new side project with Karin Sveinsdóttir.  They are working away and hope to have something early 2015.  They will be playing at Iceland Airwaves in November as well. He was nice enough to answer one of my questions:  What animal, what song?” to which he replied “a lion, singing wrecking ball by Mylie Cyrus.”

And finally, let it be known that after Hermigervill’s set, and much to the chagrin of all in my household, I will very shortly own a Theremin… it’s time

Taste of Iceland 2014 – Boston

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For my post on the Reykjavik Calling concert on May 15th.  Click here.

Taste of Iceland is coming back to Boston this week with food, art, and of course the free concert, Reykjavik Calling.  The event goes March 14th through the 18th, with Reykjavik Calling happening Saturday, March 15th.

Iceland Naturally has been putting Taste of Iceland on for 10 years.  A cooperative marketing outfit, Iceland Naturally promotes all things Icelandic and Taste of Iceland is their signature event.  Supported by a large community of Icelandic sponsors such as Icelandair, Icelandic Group, Islandsbanki, Reyka Vodka, City of Reykjavik, Icelandic Glacial Water, Blue Lagoon, Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Landsvirkjun, Promote Iceland, and the Government of Iceland, the event brings an Icelandic representation of cuisine, art, literature, and music to North America.

This year along with the concert at the Middle East Club, there is a Reyka vodka cocktail class at the Liberty Hotel, a Photography exhibit the 555 Gallery, and all event long you can sample Icelandic cuisine at Rialto.  Go here to read more about these events and RSVP as some events are limited.

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Every year Taste of Iceland delivers different artists from Iceland to North America for a concert called Reykjavik Calling.  The artists not only play their own material, but pair with local artists creating interesting collaborations.   They coordinate with local radio stations, in Boston’s case WERS, to pair the musicians and this year Boston will see The Love Experiment and Skinny Bones on stage.

In the past, acts such as Lay Low, Pétur BenSnorri Helgason and Sóley have all played.  And this year, Retro Stefson, Sin Fang and Hermigervill are playing.  All three musicians deserve their own write up, but as that would make for a rather long blog post I’ve just put a snippet and links to more.  If you click on their names it will take you to their Soundcloud pages, and I’ve embedded my favorite tracks available via Soundcloud above the artist.

Retro Stefson are a supergroup of sorts, they’ve grown and adapted over the years, but their live gigs still remain high energy and fun.  And while the members of the band have branched out into things of their own, they always come back together to entertain the masses.

Hermigervill, AKA Sveinbjörn Thorarensenis a remix master.  He has remixed quite a few of Iceland’s top artists, as well as creating original sounds.   His original work reminds me of the carefree and happy days of BS2000 and it’s enjoyable pretty much anywhere you’re listening to it.

I’ve written about Sin Fang before and every year I see him at Airwaves he’s running around mad playing as often as he can or selling artwork.  His new album, Flowers, justifiably has earned accolades across the globe, and I hear he’s been playing new material all over Reykjavik so I’m hoping he brings the new stuff down here.

The Concert is Saturday March 15th.  Doors are at 8pm, gig starts at 9.  It’s free so I suggest you show up earlier than later, and RSVP here.  This really is a powerhouse of Icelandic musicians, and the possible collaborations between the artists could make for quite the concert.  If you are into all things Icelandic I also suggest you follow Iceland Naturally on Facebook as they frequently keep you informed of Icelandic things that may be happening around where you live.

Taste of Iceland only gets to come to a select cities here in North America, so Bostonites, get out and enjoy what they have to offer.  For all the details, times, RSVP’s and dinner reservations, go here.

Hermigervill was ever so kind as to answer my 4 nonsensical questions:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves joint to jam at?  There are now so many off-venues at Iceland Airwaves, it’s hard to pick! Last year, Kex Hostel hosted a really good program, and I had a very memorable show there.

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors, what do you get?  I get a song. I see colours when I make music.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?   a) “Þú & Ég” was a great 70’s disco thing which was big here, but never made it out of the country, despite several attempts.  b) “Grísalappalísa” is a raw punky rock kind of band, which usually isn’t my cup of tea, but there is some special energy going on there, especially during their phenomenal live shows. I just did a remix for them which should be out soon.  c) “Highlands” is a new project consisting of my friend and bandmate Logi Pedro and singer Karin Sveinsdóttir. This will be big, that’s all I can say!

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song?  Any kind of bird. I love birds, and spent my childhood summers on a remote island, in close proximity to arctic terns, puffins and eider ducks. This bird would probably be playing the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis.