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Concert overkill

A few years ago, Icelandic concert promoters caught on to the fact that by exploiting Iceland’s ‘hipcool’ status they could conceivably attract some big names to our windy island. Suddenly this wee city of 200,000 witnessed a flood of famous or semi-famous acts coming in – Sting, Elton John, David Bowie, Pink, 50 Cent, Metallica, Diana Krall, Coldplay [twice], The White Stripes, Robert Plant [sans dead shark, presumably], Lou Reed, Franz Ferdinand, Ray Davies [twice], Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, Sugababes, Snoop Dogg, Korn, Foo Fighters… and a whole bunch more that I just can’t remember. And they just keep coming.

Not so very long ago, Icelanders felt grateful and humbled if a world-famous act deigned to set foot on these shores. [The Led Zeppelin concert back in 1970 – that incidentally inspired the superexcellent Immigrant Song – is the stuff of legend around here.] Today, however, promoters are having serious problems filling venues. It’s all just too much – the market is completely saturated. A couple of weeks ago, an Iggy Pop concert had to be moved from the large-ish Laugardalshöll arena to the Reykjavík Art Museum, due to lax ticket sales. Two concerts coming up in the next couple of weeks already have promoters gnawing their fingernails: Dweezil Zappa with band, and Roger Waters with his big The Wall spectacle. In both instances, ticket sales have fallen far short of expectations. And now, the Reykjavík Rocks festival, which was set to feature David Gray, The Darkness and Motörhead, has been cancelled and punters are getting their tickets refunded. The organizers were facing a massive loss.

Some concerts are drawing in the crowds, though – particularly those playing smaller venues. Cocorosie, which I’m not very familiar with but which I understand is making a splash overseas – filled NASA not too long ago. Personally I’m still kicking myself for not getting my butt down to the lovely Fríkirkjan to see Joanna Newsom and beau Smog perform. Evidently that show was fantastic. Meanwhile, EPI went to see Ian Anderson about three weeks ago and came home with a long face, shaking his head. A long-time Jethro Tull fan, EPI’s estimation of Anderson had plummeted in one evening. Apparently he had revealed himself as a perverted, dirty old man [Anderson, not EPI] in front of the whole Icelandic concertgoing public, as he made leering and graphic remarks about the young [female] violinist in his band [think variations on the word ‘swallow’, and “oooh, don’t bend over like that” as she leaned down to pick up her violin… etc]. Ew. Ew.

At any rate, it might just be time for a break in this concert overkill. So if someone could inform the Famous People that Iceland is closed for the time being, that would be great.*

And can report that we had some fantastic weather yesterday, are having so-so weather today, and it looks set for some serious rain tomorrow. Right now, at 1am, there are heavy clouds lining the sky that look about ready to burst. Temps are not too bad, though; 10°C currently and the sun went down at 23.39 and will rise again at 03.13. However, it’s only just dipped below the horizon, so it’s still light outside. As it is throughout the night these days. Yo. Peace.

* Unless they want to play for free, of course, in which case I’m sure we could muster up an audience.



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