Iceland Airwaves: Day One – Halleluwah, Gísli Pálmi, THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces

Deutsche Bar was scattered with an eclectic variety of rappers tonight, each spitting rhymes in their own unique style.

“We have a much more sinister purpose,” said “Sölvi, the head MC of hip-hop duo Halleluwah, referring to the confusion of their name to be halleluiah. “Sölvi and Tiny formerly of the hip-hop group Quarashi, one of Iceland’s most successful hip-hop groups demonstrated a cacophony of snarky, nasally, rap accompanied by driving funk and psychedelic samples. The crowd in Deutsche Bar was moved into a steady groove after the execution of their hit single “k2r.”

That steady groove would soon turned into a bass pounding, crunk, club atmosphere when Icelandic speaking rapper Gísli Pálmi took the stage after a lengthy introduction by the DJ. Donning a gold chain and chunky sunglasses, the raspy exhaling style of rhyming, over the booming bass and chiming synths set the dance floor ablaze with swaying arms and snapping fingers.

The bass pounding stayed prevalent, but at a cooler pace with the smooth, strutting entrance of Seattle’s THEESatisfaction. The combination of aggressive, lip-smacking raps, along with the seductive, cooing vocals underneath set Deutsche Bar into a head bobbing trance with the addition of the visually entertaining synchronized dance steps and snaps. Another moment of trance was when suddenly the programming stopped and THEESatisfaction performed the same sample in a capella.


What made this lineup particularly standout however, was the pulsing samples and articulate percussion of Sub Pop records’ Shabazz Palaces. Shabazz Palaces was a combination of all previous acts wrapped into one big vocabulary grinding package. Cantankerous rhyme slinging  synchronized, interpretive dance moves, floor pounding bass and their original use of maracas along with synths and programming tools packed Deutsche Bar with longtime fans and newcomers as well. Even if some concertgoers stepped inside to escape the howling winds outside, they seemed intrigued enough to stay for the interesting beats, and thought provoking vocabulary.

Music aside, Day One was filled with new experiences for both the eyes and taste-buds to behold.

The brightly colored, licorice candies Topas and Opal, were an interesting experience. Containing ingredients such as licorice, menthol and eucalyptus, it’s easy to see why these candies (and corresponding liqueurs) are a popular Icelandic treat, when considering the brisk, and frigid air that was blowing through. It’s as if the candies are relative to the environment, and atmosphere: crisp chilly waters, refreshing geothermal spas and the cold contrast of Icelandic terrain.

Popular Icelandic Licorice Candies

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