Svavar Knútur – Kombüse 59, Düsseldorf; May 12th, 2017
Majo of One Eye Open, who was supporting Svavar Knútur at Kombüse 59 last night promised us we’d have fun and we sure did. 🙂 At the end of the night my belly hurt from laughing so much and I left with a huge smile on my face. Svavar never fails to entertain. It was a nice venue too. Tiny but lovely. Some familiar faces in the audience, some new ones. Everyone seemed to have just as much fun as I did.
I never know how to describe a Svavar Knútur concert. It is not so much that I cannot remember what he said or did, but more of a feeling that it does not come across the same way if you put it in writing. I think he is absolutely hilarious (when he is not being super-sad or dead serious) and the funny words he says can easily repeated, but it is not the words that make it funny, it is the delivery. Everything is said very dryly and it is always to the point. Either way, I’m gonna try yet again. Those who have ever been to one of Svavar’s concerts will understand, those who haven’t probably won’t read this anyway. 😉
Until I got there I didn’t even have a clue there was going to be a support act. I remembered One Eye Open from Svavar’s concert in Wuppertal three years ago and I’d liked them so I was looking forward to it. Majo solo was even better than I remembered the band and I really liked his songs. I have no idea for how long he played, because I did not check my watch once. It was good, I enjoyed all the songs and he even had us sing along, pointing out we’d have to do that with Svavar anyway. Very true. 🙂 It worked well, a perfect ending to his set and great preparation for the second part of the evening. 🙂
Almost everyone went out to catch some fresh air during the break. It was rather warm in the small venue, even with the door open. Eventually we all gathered inside once again. Would have loved to sit down in front of the stage, but there just wasn’t enough room so everyone remained standing. “Let’s folk,” Svavar said as he moved through the crowd to step on the stage. By way of introduction he let us know that he liked everyone except for people who voted for Trump, the told us a little about his latest album of cover songs which are all about saying goodbye and started with one of his favorites, ‘Nothing compared 2 U’
Next was his only original song on the album, ‘Goodbye my lovely’, a song about his first breakup. He told us how hard that was and then joked that it gets easier as you go, giving us a taste of how the seventh break-up might sound more like a regular day where you just decide to go out and have a drink. He went on about how we need break ups to fully develop as human beings and would not be complete until we had at least four of them in our lives. So if we had been with the same person since school we knew what we needed to do. “If you found love early, fuck you from the rest of us!” Of course all that was tongue-in-cheek and lead to lots of laughter.
After asking who was seeing him for the first time, Svavar felt inclined to explain a little bit bout how dark Icelandic humor is and that the goal is to fuck with your brain and make you confused so if nobody laughed that’d be a great success. He wasn’t very successful then, because I wasn’t the only one who found that very funny. 😀 He also told us he hoped he didn’t offend anybody and then went on explaining Icelanders to us, including: “We are such sluts! We Tinder live”, complete with a few pickup lines. It was even funnier because I have seen this happen at times. The Icelandic lesson didn’t stop there, First we had to learn what to say when somebody sneezes which basically translates to “Shut up!” That’s good to know. Might have been my most politically incorrect Icelandic lesson so far, but the funniest one as well.
Singing about the first break up could only be followed by singing about his first love and of course there was a story to go with it, some pantomime included about Iceland being so cold and him and his first love in big snow suits walking towards each other in the winter and waving before realizing it wasn’t her he was waving at, but some guy he knew. They held hands or not, nobody could tell with the thick mittens. “Nothing ever happened… Our contraception was the cold. It makes your dick small and you are dressed in so many layers you can never reach the parts.” 😀 just as Svavar started playing ‘Ölduslóð’, someone blew his nose and he cracked up laughing, could not stop for a while. We learned some more about cultural differences and how it’s considered rude in Iceland to blow your nose, but snuffling is perfectly normal. Eventually we got to hear the song too, after it was confirmed that the nose was clear now. 😛
Of course Steve, the whale was mentioned again, this time as someone who calls late at night from a Karaoke bar while being very drunk. “…and there is always some Swede in the background singing Elvis.” ‘Wanderlust’ followed and had the second sing along of the night. 🙂 “I’m a lover, not a fighter,” Svavar let us know and how he would turn Trump gay, thus making him a minority, “if I met Donald Trump I’d suck his dick until he liked it.” 😉 Random you say? Maybe, but so hilarious. The concert was as much about the music as about the banter in-between. 🙂 When we all cheered for ‘Clementine’ he was really touched too. It is one of my favorites and I was happy to hear it.
Svavar let us know how singing is good for us and told us his secret: “I am the broccoli of troubadours, not really sexy, but good for you.” all by making us sing. Works for me, I love singing along and I guess it’s true that nobody ever broke a bone singing. More cover songs were in order, Cole Porter’s ‘Every Time we say goodbye’ and The Ink Spots’ ‘Maybe’. Had I ever heard of them? Nope, but I did like the song. Next was a new one, called ‘Here comes the hurting’ and it was amazing!
Tom Waits’ ‘Johnsburg, Illinois’, the “most beautiful song per minute”, because it is so short, followed and it was time for another lesson on Iceland. Svavar gave a pretty good impression of first Björk and then Ásgeir, telling us how people like them and Sigur Rós give an impression that Icelanders were expressive elves, while in reality they were more like farting trolls. 😀 “Right now my dick is in your head. And now you’re thinking about it. I love how there is a cascading function of horror in your head!” He elaborated on how it would look like if his head were a living room, without any IKEA furniture, butvat least one polar bear skin and the skullsvof his enimies. These, according to him, are hard to drink from, due to the holes. OK, I’m sure I am gonna need that information one day… 😉
We also got a graphic, or rather, well illustrated description of why Icelanders (as opposed to Danes) always pee standing up so in case someone comes to kill them they pee all over the enemy and die fighting with a “sword” in their hands, going straight to Walhalla, while the enemy had pee on their pants. Then, for something completely different he played ‘The Curtain’.
If you thought this was enough of “below the belt” and banter inappropriate for children in one night, think again. Svavar confided he could not wait to get man boobs so he could lick his own nipples and let us know how every man tried to suck his own dick, wondering if it was an accepted form of masturbation if you succeeded.
Indecisive about which song to play next he first told us ‘Vetrarsól’ was really slow, playing it about half speed. Instead of speeding that up he decided on ‘Girl from Vancouver’ though and had a good choir in the room to sing backing vocals on it. He did not even need to tell us to do it. 🙂 Last song of the night was the beautiful ‘Brot’, a song that was apparently banned by a private radio station for being too aggressive. Say what?
Of course we would not let him go without an encore and were treated to Cole Porter’s ‘You do something to me’. Not without a story about going back in time to suck Porter’s dick and prove he was a super fan. Whatever floats your boat… Last song of the night was ‘Song of good advice’ and there could not have been a better ending. That was fun, can’t wait to go again on Sunday.
Nothing compares 2U (Prince cover)
Goodbye my lovely
Every Time we say goodbye (Cole Porter cover)
Maybe (The Ink Spots cover)
Here comes the hurting
Johnsburg, Illinois (Tom Waits cover)
Girl from Vancouver
You do something to me (Cole Porter cover)
Song of good advice