Iceland Airwaves Day 3: Lord Pusswhip, Low Roar, Mono Town, Goat (11/1)

I woke up before the sun today and made my way towards Prikið for another round of great coffee and conversation. Iceland’s coffee can be summed up by one equation, superior water=superior coffee. Guðrún Gunnarsdóttir greeted me there where we discussed the health care system in Iceland, while the U.S. makes its way towards universal healthcare, Iceland has begun entertaining the idea of offering privatized healthcare. It’s not that the system is flawed, but the economic situation is beginning to limit Iceland’s doctors to expand their businesses.

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For someone who has a little over 48 hours of successful seafood consumption under their belt, I took to Seabaron‘s lobster soup like…well like a lobster to the water. The catfish was a little too rich for my taste buds…look at me, already becoming particular.

My second interview of the day was with Alma Eir Svavarsdóttir at the Efstaleiti Health Center where we delved deeper into Iceland’s health care. The Efstaleiti Health Center took me a fair distance away from the city where I was able to see what stood behind Reykjavík’s marvelous architecture. Lush trees and tranquil rivers along with residential clusters gave me a glimpse at what Icelanders consider the suburbs. After a quick four course sample of some of Iceland’s finest brews, it was time for the night’s shows.

Lord Pusswhip at Harlem

Lord Pusswhip brought a healthy collection of hip-hop tracks backed by eclectic electronica that swirled and pulsated above 808 percussion . The Icelandic rapper came out Brandishing a toy AK-47 and a female accomplice and the two launched into a slow tempo delivery of Icelandic hip-hop.  Behind them a projected slide show displayed scenes of political statements worked in with b movie gore, psychedelic animations, and avant garde/animated oddities. As the set went on, the crowd jived and shook with each hook and verse. In true hip-hop fashion the duo was boisterous and provided a spot on parody of the genre’s culture by raining fake money and cheap champagne upon the crowd.

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Low Roar at Iðnó

Quick and to the point, Low Roar’s set flew by in a gust of hypnotic rock/electronic music that was accentuated by droning vocals. Low Roar’s music had made it easy to believe that the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd was well deserved. Time seemed to be the last concept on anyone’s mind given how many audience members in the packed venue were heard to remark “they’re done already?”

Mono Town at Iðnó

Reykjavik’s own Mono Town stood before a packed crowd and delivered a passionate set that exceeded their earlier performance at KEX Hostel. The band stomped and hammered out an earworm-rich set of alternative rock numbers with a britpop twang. The band showed off what can be found on their forthcoming debut album In The Eye Of The Storm, with standout tracks that included “Place The Sound” “Jackie O.” and a stellar finale courtest“Can Deny.”  Iceland Airwaves 2013 served as the preliminary warm up for the group as they will soon take a spot opening for The Pixies on a handful of Nordic tour dates.

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Goat at Harpa Norðurljós

Christopher Walken once said on SNL that the only way to know where you stand with someone is to look into their eyes; when Goat took the stage at Harpa Norðurljós, the audience had no idea. Each member came out clad in a face obscuring mask or cloth and assumed their position behind their respective instruments. Their introduction was a slow build into their opening number and concluded with a full on dive into musical mayhem as the mask-clad duel vocalists took over. World Music, their 2012 release is an appropriate summary of their music; they’ve harvested dynamics from all over the world. Afro funk meets psychedelic metal with a jam band twist. The pair of singers gyrated and shook secondary percussion instruments with a fervor as the rest of the band seemed almost passive to the emotion that they were conjuring with each delivered note.  The percussionists crafted beats that shared both tribal and samba influences while the bassist thumped out greasy funk as he/she stood behind a guitarist hellbent on summoning the spirits of psychedelic rock and Sabbath-era metal. Each shriek and gyration of the duel singers further pushed Goat into a realm that made them less of a show and more of an experience.

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