Reykjavik Grapevine: Live Reviews: Black Metal Coffee Evening….

23 Apr

A couple of weeks ago i went to see a gig from the concert series KAFFI KÖKUR OG RÓK OG ROLL to check out a couple of very heavy bands. Said review is now online for your viewing perusal. However it seems to have been rather badly cut with one of two punctuation errors that amazingly weren’t done by me! Obviously the piece was chopped up to fit print space, but in the online world, you can let it all hangout infinitum! Below is the unabridged version.

One point re: the really smelly teens – I talked about this a while later with some friends, both Icelandic and ex-pats, and they agreed that amongst a set section of the Icelandic youth, there is a real issue with washing, or changing clothes on an occasional basis (we talking about wearing the same stuff for over a month). What’s also really interesting is that it’s the girls as well as the boys doing this. Perhaps in a fairly consumer-restrictive society like Iceland’s, not washing yourself is one of the few (albeit in a fairly passive aggressive) ways an Icelandic teenager can exert some control over themselves and provoke some kind of reaction amongst society. Damn it hurt my sinuses though….

Anyway here’s the unabridged version…

Black Metal Coffee Evening

Can you spend an evening listening to extreme rock and metal powered only by sugar and caffeine? Apparently so, but beware to odd smells…

Who: Gone Postal, HAM

Where: Edrúhöllinn

When: Tuesday 27th March 2012

“Do you have any tea?”

“Sorry we don’t have any tea bags. We only have coffee.”


I really don’t like coffee. I hate its overly bitter taste and I don’t like the smell, especially when I can detect the smug stench of someone who’s downed a double cappuccino from 20 metres away, droning on about how they always “need the stuff” or they can’t function.

But here I am, attending a gig titled “Kaffi, Kökur & Rokk & Ról!” where pretty much the only thing on offer to drink is coffee. I accept my losses with a heavy heart and grab a cup of water and a couple of choc chip cookies.

Kaffi, Kökur & Rokk & Ról (coffee, cake and rock and roll) is a concert series that over the last few months has been making a bit of a name for itself. Held at the headquarters of SÁÁ (Samtök Áhugafólks um Áfengis- og Vímuefnavandann), the drug and alcohol treatment centre of Iceland, and curated by Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen, chief music writer for national paper Morgunblaðið, their mission is to provide a booze and drug free concert environment for people of all ages to enjoy.

And while we wait, the venue itself is filling up nicely with a varied selection of people, from sullen teenage metal kids too young to normally go to concerts, to parents attending their first gig in ages, dragging their offspring along for the ride. All seems fine until we’re forced to move to the other side of the hall twice because of the septum melting smell emanating from large groups of teenagers next to us. Maaaaan, it was like smelling the crusty ball sack from a three-week old badger corpse. No wonder teenagers feel so alienated. No one will go near them because they smell so fucking bad!

But enough nasal destruction as the night began with the first band Gone Postal, who performed a set consisting of brand new material. And said new material was definitely a big step up from their earlier stuff. Whereas their older songs were brilliant in a slam-your-head-against-a-wall-100-times-a-minute kinda way, this set contained some really killer black infused death metal, with greater ambition and more variation in pace and rhythm. Looking like they’d just come from a serial mugging spree (matching black hoodies, natch), there were some proper doom metal moments towards the end of their set that surely needed a clanging bell ringing Sabbath-style. Add to this the nodule tearing glory of Toggi’s vocals, and they finish to some sturdy head bobbing and warm polite applause from the crowd.

After a break for more water and cookies, it’s time for the headline act, “the greatest band in the world” according to MC Arnar Eggert. It’s been several months since I last saw HAM at Eistnaflug, where the debauched rocking reached ludicrous levels that included much topless female stage diving. But there is none of that nonsense tonight for this is HAM, the kids show special. And as they start playing it sounds quite a bit off. Both Sigurjón’s and Flósi’s guitars seem to be lost in a pounding mix of bass and kick drum. Also singer Sigurjón looked absolutely knackered, as if he was up the night before doing his tax returns. But all of this counts for nowt when songs such as “Dauð Hóra”, “Heimamenn” and “Einskis Son” are smashing into your face. The crowd moves closer to the stage and the head nodding is a lot more vigorous. There’s even some head banging towards the end from a few people.

With 15 minutes left, they end their set with an encore of “Trúboðasleijarinn” (ask your Icelandic friend what it means) and the classic “Partýbær”, and then that’s it, finished, over, finito. Everyone shuffles outside into the wet, cool night, ears still ringing.

So what did I think of the gig? It was a nice enough experience, but it somehow felt a little… weird. It’s difficult to explain. It’s wasn’t that the music was bad; it was (especially in the case with Gone Postal) really good. But I’ve been to many all ages and straight edge style gigs before and I have to say that this was one of the politest, most genteel crowds I’ve seen at a ROCK gig for quite a long time, possibly ever. It had all the feeling of a Black Metal Coffee Evening overseen by the Women’s Institute (Mayhem branch). Perhaps it was because the kids couldn’t really let loose, what with most of their parents tagging along. Such as the mum who stood next to me with her son and was getting into it waaaay more than he was. He looked a bit bored and angry to be honest.

But I daresay that despite the amiable ambience of the evening’s events, it was a decent change to see these bands play straight laced with no chemical assistance. But if I am going to come again, I’m definitely going to bring some teabags with me next time. 

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Iceland, live music, music


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