Iceland Airwaves Live Review (11/4): Petur Ben, Of Monsters and Men, and Emmsje Gauti


The folk rock guitarist Pétur Ben took the stage tonight at NASA with a cool elegance that matched his hard-hitting music. The MVP for the night was his drummer who never missed a beat. That being said, no one in his ensemble was weak. The three men supporting Ben on stage all worked incredibly well together. The most disappointing part of the performance was actually when Ben told the audience the venue NASA would be closing soon. He lamented, “it’s been a long time since I’ve played here.” Then he went on to say that it would also be the last time his band will get to play there. To pay his respect to NASA, Ben then began to play what he said was “a blues song.” He finished the show by covering The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and calling for the audience to sing along with him. Not a lot of people joined in, but Ben did get a huge round of applause when he bowed on NASA’s stage one last time.


Tonight Of Monsters and Men also returned to the stage at NASA. They too said they had heard a rumor that NASA will be closing soon. Despite the bad news, they performed many of their most famous songs such as “Empire,” “Little Talks,” and “Mountain Sound,” but they also performed some of their lesser known tracks such as “Lakehouse” from their album My Head Is A Animal and “Hunger” from Beneath the Skin. While the entire band was impressive, the lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir stole their show. She never missed a note, and was constantly switching back and forth between her guitars and a snare drum. On top of that, Hilmarsdóttir had very effective crowd interactions. Once she asked everyone in the audience who spoke English to raise their hands. Then she asked everyone in the audience who spoke Icelandic to raise their hands. Counting the latter, she said, “Alright! Progress!” Then she asked all of the Icelanders to teach everyone else English. On top of that, during “Mountain Sound” she also jumped into the crowd to crowd surf. At the same moment, confetti fell from the ceiling and the entire room was filled with rainbow flakes of happiness. They closed off the show with “Six Weeks” then they left the audience calling for encore that sadly, never happened.


Emmsjé Gauti was a fireball of energy tonight. He was the very last artist to perform at NASA, and he gave it his all. The entire show was done in Icelandic and Gauti kept calling for the audience to join in and sing his songs. The crowd was very engaged with his show as they always responded with song lyrics. They were also dancing throughout the entire performance, but that may have been thanks to Gauti. He guided the audience by dancing with them. Then, at the very end of the show, asked the audience to form a circle in the middle of the dance floor. Then on the count of three, everyone ran into the center of the circle and formed a mosh pit. Once everyone was more pumped up and the mosh pit had disintegrated, Gauti finished the show with a bang. First he crowd surfed then he invited several Icelandic rappers, such as Sturla Atlas and the 101 Boys, to join him an stage, and they all sang the last song together. The audience didn’t want Gauti to leave though so the audience called for an encore, but this time, Emmsjé delivered.

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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