Tag Archives: live music

Sigur Rós at the Saenger Theatre on May 21st, 2017

I flew down to New Orleans to catch Sigur Rós this past weekend.  This particular gig was at the Saenger Theatre on Canal street.  A gorgeous old theatre, the perfect setting for both acts of the concert.

The concert is divided into two acts, the first act consists more of the back catalogue and is darker with more of a subtle use of the rigging and visuals.  Those birds and their geometric trails near the end are amazing.  The second act begins with what seems to be a holographic grainy projection of the band, but is the band behind grid like screen captioned in glowing yellow brackets, the screen lifts and eventually the band returns front stage.

SRNOLA

While there are no backing bands or musicians, the trio still bring an excitingly full gig.  The visual effects combined with the band’s high energy bring on just as intense if not more, Sigur rós experience.

Multiple projectors facing every which way with an LED lighting screen that moves during the show combined with amazing visual artwork and perfectly timed blasts of light all deliver one hell of an intense atmosphere to the already highly emotional music.

At some points you feel as if you’re completely immersed in light, and at other times there seems to be nothing more than a single beam shining down on Jónsi, and the transition is practically seamless.

srlighting

My first concert was in Denver in 2002.  The Ogden Theatre probably had seen better days and I was sitting in a rickety chair in the balcony.  I was chatting to the guy next to me beforehand and he seemed uninterested, stating that he was there to appease his girlfriend.  I told him that I loved the music and heard they were great live; neither of us had an idea what was in store.

As the trademark finale Popplagið began its epic build up satellite images rotating in crazy fashion, the climax finally burst punching the crowd with a large dose of sensory overload.  We all jumped to our feet in awe and the guy next to me burst out with “holy fuck, this is insane!” saying what everyone was thinking.

15 years later, as we all stand for that epic buildup with our hands in the air, the novice shock may be gone but it’s always new to someone and it pleases me to no end when I hear their own version of Holy fuck.  You can listen to a Sigur rós all you want, but you will never experience anything like seeing them live, so if you get the opportunity, do so.

 

Icelandic Bands at Iceland Airwaves

Here it is, the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Icelandic musicians page.  I’ve loosely sorted them into categories in the hope that you can quickly reference bands to dig as you explore the many possibilities this year.  On top of the 210 bands performing this year,  Bedroom Community will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as a musician collective in Iceland and I would highly recommend you check that out.  And Airwords is back, the poetry/literature/music event that began in 2013.  All part of Airwaves and all worth checking out.  Also,  you can check out my Tips to get the most out of Iceland Airwaves.

143 of the 210 bands are Icelandic this year and they span the deck in style and genre.  This year, I split them into five categories:

  • Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
  • Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
  • DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
  • Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
  • Hip Hop / Rap / R&B Soul

Diversity and genre bending are two things Icelanders are rather good at which makes defining bands a bit difficult, so if you feel a band belongs in a different spot please comment below and I will check it out.

Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
Amabadama Amber Amber Axel Flóvent
Benny Crespo’s Gang CeaseTone DALÍ Dikta
Fufanu Helgi Jons Hinemoa Jónas Sig & Ritvélar framtíðarinnar
Júníus Meyvant Kórus Ljóðfæri Major Pink
Magnús Jóhann Máni Orrason Markús & The Diversion Sessions Moji & the Midnight Sons
Moses Hightower Mr. Silla Myrra Rós Par-Ðar
Pétur Ben Prins Póló Rósa Guðrún Sveinsdóttir Skelkur í bringu
Skrattar Soffía Björg Snorri Helgason Stafrænn Hákon
Stroff Teitur Magnússon Una Stef Valdimar
Ylja
Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
Árstíðir asdfgh AUÐUR AVóKA
Berndsen Boogie Trouble Crystal Breaks Dream Wife
East of my Youth FM Belfast Gangly Glowie
Grúska Babúska Hausar Hildur Himbrimi
JFDR Karó Kiriyama Family Konsolat
Lára Rúnars Milkywhale kreld Lily the kid
múm Of Monsters and Men One week wonder Oyama
Puffin Island Rythmatik RuGL Samaris
Steinar Sóley Sykur Tilbury
Tonik Ensemble Útidúr Vagina Boys Vio
Vök Wesen
DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
Ambátt Ayia Bára Gísladóttir Ben Frost
BLKPRTY DJ Yamaho dj. flugvél og geimskip EinarIndra
Futuregrapher Glerakur Halldór Eldjárn Hermigervill
Hugar Iamhelgi Jafet Melge Kosmodod
Kristin Thora Mike Hunt Reptilicus RVK DnB
Sigga Soffía & Jónas Sen Sigrún sxsxsx Tómas Jónsson
Trptych
Hip Hop / Rap / R&B / Soul
Alexander Jarl Aron Can Alvia Islandia B-Ruff
Bróðir BIG Cryptochrome Cyber Emmsjé Gauti
Epic Rain GKR Glacier Mafia Herra Hnetusmjör
Kött Grá Pje Krakk & Spaghettí Landabois Lord Pusswhip
Mælginn Reykjavíkurdætur Rímnaríki Shades of Reykjavik
$igmund Sturla Atlas Þriðja Hæðin Tiny
Úlfur Úlfur Valby Bræður
Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
Auðn Beneath Dimma Dr. Spock
Endless Dark Hatari Kælan Mikla Legend
Mammút Pink Street Boys Singapore Sling SÓLSTAFIR
Tófa

And here is the Spotify playlist, it includes ALL bands playing Iceland Airwaves, not just the Icelandic musicians:

Iceland invasion in Boston, Ólöf Arnalds and GusGus

olofgus

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.

Ojba Rasta

ojba

Iceland is a little island straddling two continents somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. So it’s diversity in musical style always amazes me. Ojba Rasta is rooted in reggae definitely, but there are a lot of influences and alternating vibes in their music. And since the band has enough members to populate a small Icelandic village, it’s no surprise to find elements of funk, rock, dub and electro intertwined in the upbeat core of their music.

Formed around 2009 the band began as a 10 piece, but as things happen, they now have 11 members that make up their reggae stew including an organ, multiple guitars, bass, trumpets, a saxaphone, and of course, a dub-master.

Jolly good is probably their most famous track outside of Iceland. It’s one of the few tracks sung in English and shows off their ability to mix different styles into a very smooth feel good piece, though I do find it highly suspect that the lead singer is a little white girl.  On their Soundcloud page you can find two more songs by the band.

Being a large band full of interesting characters, Ojba Rasta always put a good show on and have a knack for entertaining the crowd not only with music, but their attitudes and interactions as well.  Once again, I’ve uncovered proof of such a statement thanks to KEXP.  This is a video of their gig at last year’s Airwaves festival at the Kex Hostel.:

Ojba Rasta have released a self titled full length album, of which the three tracks on Soundcloud do indeed reside.  If you are located outside of the states, you can pick up the album on Gogoyoko here.  Otherwise it’s available on Amazon or iTunes.  They are working on a second album slated for a 2013 release, and plan to tour in Germany after Airwaves 2013.  You can check out their Facebook page here.

Very chill, and one of the best ways to relax during a hectic gig schedule at Airwaves.  I highly suggest you check them out.  And yup yup, the band answered my 4 questions, here they be:

1.  What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at? At Airwaves 2012 we only played one off-venue gig and it was at the Kex hostel. The concert was broadcasted live from KEXP Radio and the footage was sweet. The weather was crazy that day in Iceland and in the U.S. We loved the whole expierence… We also love playing at Nasa and Faktorý. (I’ve included the video above)

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get?  Neon sea flaming blue/green.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?  Mmm….Tough question.. maybe: Amaba Dama, Nolo and Boogie Trouble.

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song?  It would have to be a lion playing Iron Lion Zion by Bob Marley or maybe a black panther playing Rock & Roll Suicide by David Bowie.