Iceland Airwaves 2016 Live Review (11/2): Kott Gra Pje, GKR, and Sturla Atlas



RECORDER UPDATE: My once lost audio recorder has been located and returned to my loving arms.

I contacted my interviewees Professors Ólafur Harðarson and Gissurarson who told me to go to the student service office in the Gimli building at the University of Iceland. There I was redirected to the student resource officer who found my recorder on his colleague’s desk. I am simply blessed.

In other news, Harpa Silfurberg’s stage was covered in hip-hop artists tonight. The artists Kött Grá Pje, GKR, and Sturla Atlas all performed back to back, kicking the festival off with some sick beats.


The first act of the night, Kött Grá Pje, charmed the audience with his aggressive stage presence and fearless energy. He opened the show with his song “Hver á Kött?” and from then on, the performance was no longer family-friendly.  Throughout the night, he progressively lost his clothes, eventually revealing a penis drawn on his back and the words “this machine kills faleal” written across his chest. “Faleal” is Icelandic for indifference. Pje’s show was also infused with political commentary. He introduced one song by shouting, “this one is for the Progressive Party!” Then he attacked the party with Icelandic rap. Pje knew no bounds in his performance. At one point, he even used the microphone’s cable to form a noose around his neck. That being said, he did end his set on a light note with his regge-esque song “Aheybaró.” He had the audience singing “aheyó, aheybaró” along with him. The song dropped dead at its end, and Kött Grá Pje just walked off stage as if he was only sweaty from working out.


GKR was up next. The show opened with GKR’s friend Benny at the DJ stand who had red and yellow graphics covering the screen behind him. Benny played the Star Wars theme song alongside the opening to GKR’s new single “Tala Um.” After the opening faded out, GKR emerged from off-stage, wearing a bright, yellow sweatshirt along with yellow swim trunks. Then he broke into the remainder of “Tala Um.” After that song was over, GKR announced he would performing the show in English for the first time tonight. While he did incorporate some introductions in English throughout the show, he still spoke mainly in Icelandic even when he wasn’t singing. Still, GKR never stopped moving. He was constantly pacing across the stage, jumping up and down, and calling on the audience to join him in song. They did, too. At one point, the audience was cheering so loud that GKR completely stopped the show and just smiled at the crowd until the applause faded. He finished the show by giving an encore of “Tala Um” one more time. Then he bowed, picked up a yellow towel to match his yellow everything, and left the stage.


Sturla Atlas gave the most interactive performance of the three bands. He stepped on stage with his crew, the “101 Boys,” and from then on out, they were constantly calling on the audience to throw their hands in the air and sing along. In what seemed like a spur of the moment decision, Sturla Atlas called for the audience to clear a circle in the middle of the crowd. Then he jumped off stage and joined the crowd to dance. Meanwhile back on stage, the 101 Boys took off their shirts and kept the energy pumping. Once Sturla Atlas made it back on stage, they closed the show with “San Francisco.” Some of the 101 Boys even vaped as they left the stage in a gang-like formation.


About Erika June Smith

Hey all! My name is Erika Smith, and I enjoy art exhibits and feminism. I'm studying television writing/producing at Columbia College Chicago, and I have an internship with The Whitney Reynolds Show on PBS. Do you need a birthday cake that you'll never forget? I'm also a level one Wilton cake decorator, and I've been known to create cakes that vaguely resemble Van Gogh paintings. Top that, Buddy Valastro.
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