Grapevine Airwaves 2012

November 6, 2012

Techno Vikings, Hot Chicks & Annoying Kids

Skálmöld by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

Music Overview

So, were you one of those fools who decided to pay all that money and venture all that way to Laugardalshöll to take part in the shiny dolphin wanking fest that was the Sigur Rós concert? Ha! Shame on you! The real music lovers instead decided to stay and take in the sticky sights and smells of concert venues such as Gaukurinn for one last time.

Although it was practically empty when I arrived, the place really began to fill up nicely as BÁRUJÁRN started their set. Their punky surf rock sound was tight, melodic and full of zip. What was also reassuring to hear was that, finally, a sound engineer was able to make Sindri’s guitar sound really goooood. Too many times in the past, I’d seen people struggle to deal with the treble heavy tremolo sound, but tonight there were some sweet noises being made on stage. Between one song, a friend of mine said to me, “Man, there’s now loads of bands that do this garage/surf pop sound. But these guys have been doing this so well before all of them.” And he’s right. They should stop being such perfectionists and get those records released!

HLJÓMSVEITIN ÉG are their own worst enemies. Listening and watching to their music and performance, for everything that made me give them the benefit of the doubt, there would be something that would make you go, “meh, I don’t know.” The band’s rhythm section is probably one of the tightest that you would have heard all through Airwaves, yet their take on classic bar room blues rock has been done to death and really didn’t move me that much. While their lyrics often have a point and an opinion about the world and society in general around them (rather unusual for a standard rock band), the constant mugging and “We’re so kerazzy and off the cuff man!” demeanour of frontman Róbert just started to get tiring after a while. And while it was definitely a nice touch that the band spoke in English for the foreign audience, their final “Crazy song in English!” turned out to be a rather lumpen cover of The Who’s “My Generation.” Real rock for real old guys that made you miss Thee Attacks.

– By Bob Cluness

It may well be Reykjavík’s best kept secret that hot chicks like viking metal. Not hot metal chicks either. Well, also hot metal chicks, but not just hot metal chicks.

I don’t know much about metal, or chicks for that matter, neither of the metal nor the non-metal variety, so tonight we were all to learn a thing or two.

I started chatting to one while watching Skálmöld’s set at Gamli Gaukurinn on Sunday evening. I was keen to find out a bit about metal, and she was clearly keen to have the pants charmed off her.

As a cheery swashbuckling ballad starts up, I lean over and say something like, like “So, how often do you-” before a sledge hammer blow of a guitar chord destroys my remaining words. She smiled kindly back, nodding, even though it wasn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. She’d then turn to me and say, “You know this band is really big in-” before a mountain sized tower of doom scream collapsed all over her sentence. I stared back, awkwardly replying “Umm yeah, sure.”

This happened for the majority of our conversation.

Me: “But the thing I like most about Siamese cats is that they-” [machine gun unloading round upon furious round of drilling percussion].

Her: “Oh no way I love Tears for Fears, especially their-” [tidal wave of bass digging up a ton of sludge riffage from the bottom of a forbidden underwater lake].

You get the idea, we didn’t get very far thanks to Skálmöld’s music of contrast. One minute, sea shanty with beer swigging vocals: we talk, before the whole ship is slaughtered by canon balls. Next minute there’s an organ solo underneath Christmas hymn chorals: conversation, before the whole church is engulfed in flames.

I get the feeling hot chicks are watching Skálmöld for a good reason… or more likely two good reasons.

Ultra Mega Technobandið Stefán were next.

You know that annoying kid who seemed to be in every class you were in at elementary school. Who wouldn’t raise his hand like everyone else. Who would say embarrassing attention-seeking comments then look around the class to see if anyone laughed. Who would hang around every social group at lunchtime because no one could tolerate him for more than a few minutes. Who would have a yearly classroom breakdown culminating in him throwing a whiteboard duster at the teacher and telling her to ‘go fuck a horse’ or something like that. Who whenever he played table tennis, and a line call didn’t go his way, would smash the paddle into a thousand pieces before proclaiming table tennis a shit sport then storming off to kick a locker, in the process breaking his toe but having too much pride to show pain so just limping off to sick bay, saying ‘whatever’.

That kid that one day you happen to sit down next to and have a heart to heart with over some Pokémon card trading and realise he’s not at all a bad guy. That he means well, but is just a little misunderstood. I get the feeling Ultra Mega Technobandið Stefán is kinda like that kid of the Airwaves elementary school.

While some of the synth-work felt out of place and kinda kitsch, and lead singer Siggi’s community TV weather presenter getup and homo-erotic salsa instructor on-stage presence invoked cringes from this reviewer, the band endearingly couldn’t seem to care less. And neither could the mostly adoring full house crowd, making for some energetic, self-unconsciously, good fun.

-By Thomas L. Moir



About the Author

thomas
thomas
Thomas is an Australian male who has been living in the UK for the last two years. When he's not out watching live music, he enjoys traveling, trivia nights and swimming. He has recently been trying a new bolognese recipe, the results of which are improving steadily with each attempt.




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