“If I am the broccoli is Prog Rock Brussel sprouts?”

Svavar Knútur – backyard concert, Cologne; May 14th, 2017

The second Svavar Knútur concert of the weekend took place in a beautiful backyard in Cologne with grilled food, lots of drinks to choose from and amongst a nice crowd. The setlist was not all that different from Friday’s, but the concert was and for a little while it looked like it might all be going downhill. Luckily everything turned around and it was a beautiful evening in the end.

I arrived early, got comfortable, watched as others arrived. Said hello to Svavar briefly and chatted with others. There was plenty of food so everyone happily munched on Haloumi or Currywurst while we waited. The yard was covered with a canvas  roof so we all stayed dry when a downpour came. Eventually the rain ceased and it stayed dry and the canvas roof could be removed. There was even some sunshine. 🙂

To my surprise there was a support act here as well. I thought the invitation email had explicitly stated there would not be one, but I guess I was mistaken and we were treated to Janna Leise. It was quite funny when she was announced, because it was pretty much stated that last year’s support act sucked but this one would not. OK then, bring it on. Janna was really good. Her music was rather dark, but I loved her voice. She explained only some of the songs and that did not make them any lighter. 😉 About one she joked that if she explained it it would make her sound like a mass murderer in training or a cannibal. True. It was a cool song though. Another one, called ‘Heaven, heaven’ was about making a pact with herself to commit suicide on her 25th birthday if she had not reached all her goals by then. Again, dark stuff, but beautifully sung. I really liked her set.

By the time Svavar stepped on stage the yard had gotten rather crowded. A little boy stood right in front of Svavar smiling up at him and Svavar smiled back before he unceremoniously started the first song. The kid got bored quickly and moved away to explore the garden, but everyone else listened closely. The rain had come down heavy for a while but ceased eventually leading to a comment about Icelandic weather being like little finger from Game of Thrones. 🙂

During ‘Goodbye my lovely’ someone in a neighboring house started playing Elvis songs loudly. Svavar commented that it must be a nig fan of Elvis, but not a fan of closing his windows or using heasphones and explained that this was the Icelandic form od being passive- aggressive, not very subtle. The Elvis music stayed and Svavar found it hard to comoeye with that. After ‘Every time we say goodbye’ he said he liked telling stories, but would lose his train of thought with thisdistraction asking if it was OK with us if he just closed his eyes and sang. Of course it was and we got to hear a great version of ‘While the World burns’, then a quite angry and powerful one of ‘Brot’. Luckily one of the hosts managed to find the Elvis loving neighbor and shut him up so we got to hear some stories after all. 🙂

We got a similar lesson in Icelandic lesson as on Friday, dating tips included, but this time Svavar made sure we repeated after him and after everyone shouted oug “Wanna fuck?” in Icelandic he replied: “Congratulations, you just got laid in Iceland.” We also learned that the guys almost never say no to a woman, unless they are gay and then it’s like “Sorry, I’m gay” , so no big deal. We were also told that when telling someone to shut up after they sneezed we were exorcising the demons from their nose.

With the story of the first love that preceded ‘Ölduslóð”we learned a new word: “slubbi”, meaning two people licking each other’s faces.That word needed inventing. 😉 Also Svavar and his girlfriend walking around in their snow suits were described as looking lke a romantic scene from the moon with icycles for noses. 😀 And we absolutely needed to kniw that the Icelandic word for great luck or great happiness means “deas whale on a beach” because in old times that meant feeding your family for a while. The first set ended with ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Here comes the hurting’. Svavar told us about the body positivity campain that lead to the naked in a tub pucture on his latest album and how he gave his mom a print of that picture.

I don’t remember how we got there, but one of the statements at the beginning of part two was that the word “soccer” was an expression of American imperialism of language as in “we don’t like the word so we rename it” and thus we should always call it “football”. Fine with me. 😉 Even finer was singing along, because it activates 12 centers of my brain or maybe just because it is fun to do. Svavar mused if Prog Rock was the Brussel sprouts of music, since it is just as good for you as his music, the broccoli. 😀 With ‘Undir Birkitré’ we got to hear the story of a vegan wedding he was asked to sing at and how he should not make any jokes about meat and sausages. So he wondered if jokes about other food was OK and if vegan stand up comedians could be funny. One might actually think he didn’t like vegans, but as usually he was only joking.

After ‘The Curtain’ and ‘Maybe’, which by the way is the title song from ‘Fallout’ (I never thought Svavar might be a gamer), someone asked for ‘Clementine’ and was granted the wish. 🙂 We also witnessed a bat, named Harvey flying above our heads, so we learned that “Manbat” was even cooler than Batman and if Harvey shat in his head, Svavar would turn into “Batshit Man”. 😀 Before the next request ‘Baby will you marry me’ we got to hear a story about a cat and a rat fighting in the bushes and the cat being bitchslapped by the rat, turning into “the most embarrassed cat I have ever seen”. I would have loved to witness that.

‘The Best’, a song by The Rocketboys about their breakup as a band was next and accompanied by words of wisdom how band break ups are worse than romantic break ups, because you lose your family. With some bands at least I am guessing it has the same effect on the fans. Either way, the song was truly great. Svavar than announced he’d do the last sonf for Pädu Anliker of Café Mokka in Thun, a good friend. First though, there was the story about traveling to Amsterdam as a young guy, getting stoned, feeling paranoid and listening to the nightly symphony of a hundred bed dorm. The description was quite graphic, I almost felt like being there. 😉 The final, very sad song was Ólöf Arnalds’ ‘Við og við’. It was very beautiful.

We would not let it end there though and called for Zugabe. Both were requests, ‘Tiger and Bear’ (which was the song I wanted to ask for as well) and ‘Girl from Vancouver’. 🙂 So the sad mood was sung away and if that wasn’t enough, Svavar told us about his idea for “easy news” for Stoners tat would be happy, slow and with nice colors. 😀 He even let us call him back for two more songs, ‘You do something to me’ and ‘Johnsburg, Illinois’ before deciding it was enough. It was a wonderful night after all that left me smiling all the way home.

Setlist

Nothing compares 2U (Prince cover)
Goodbye my lovely
Every Time we say goodbye (Cole Porter cover)
While the World burns
Brot
Ölduslóð
Wanderlust
Here comes the hurting

Undir Birkitré
The Curtain
Maybe (The Ink Spots cover)
Clementine
Baby will you marry me
The Best (Rocket Boys cover)
Við og við

Tiger and Bear
Girl from Vancouver

You do something to me (Cole Porter cover)
Johnsburg, Illinois (Tom Waits cover)

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