Una Stef had an interesting set Wednesday. Her drummer didn’t show up for the show at Bunk Bar. The singer, who has been called the Alicia Keys of Iceland, said he was at a protest “fighting the government.” So, she and the six other members of her band had to do without a rhythm section.
Here she is on the right with an empty drum kit to her left.
After singing a stripped-down version of her hit song “Mama Funk,” Stef joked, “These songs are usually a lot noisier. We don’t have a drummer, so clap a long!” Nobody in the audience took over as beat-keeper. Still, the band bounced around, smiled and laughed with her, even though they were clearly uncomfortable without their drummer. Fortunately for Stef, the crowd didn’t seem uncomfortable with a less-than-expected set, even if she was.
As I approached Gambla Bió to see electronic act Vök, I should’ve known the performance would spark something new in my musical tastes. A fire was burning in a huge garbage bin outside the front of the entrance.
Three people make up Vök’s mellow, trance-like sound, but the one to really watch is singer and synth player, Margrét Rán Magnusdóttir. Her guitar player and beat producer lays down the feel-good, downtempo rhythms that gets your head bopping in the first place, but she adds the bright, ambient voice that separates Vök from other electronic artists.
Their performance on Wednesday night at Gambla Bió reminded me that electronic music really can be fun without being cliché. I can prove it wasn’t cliché because on half their songs, the other producer in the group, Andri Már Enoksson, played saxophone. What kind of dance music utilizes a sax? Vök definitely sparked a new taste for electronic music in me again.
Lucy in Blue
After coming in 2nd place at this year’s Icelandic Music Experiments, a battle-of-the-bands in Reykjavìk, Lucy in Blue qualified for a spot at Iceland Airwaves. The psych-rock band had only been together for about a year before Wednesday’s performance at Frederiksen, but people flocked to come see the young guys play. They’re all 18-years-old or younger.
They only played three songs in their half hour set. The first two, were kind of reminiscent of a Pink Floyd jam that starts out with slow picking on the guitar that builds and builds until a huge guitar solo ends the song. One of these included the first song they ever wrote, “Senses.”
The last jam had more metal and hard-rock influence, with a faster lick that was almost reminiscent of metal-rock bands like Umphrey’s McGee.