Archive for the ‘Daði og Gagnamagnið’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 17, 2022] Daði Freyr

Daði Freyr has been in Eurovision twice and that’s how I know him.  He hasn’t won, but he won the hearts of many.  He was the leader of Daði & Gagnamagnið and was due to represent Iceland in Eurovision in 2020 with the song “Think About Things.”  But the event was cancelled and he was invited to represent them again in 2021 with the song “10 Years.”  They came in fourth place.

He is a goofy guy for sure–he is super tall (6 ft 9.9 in) with quite a deep voice.  In the performances his band was quite humorous dressing in identical sweaters with pixilated images of themselves.  Back then the group was his sister Sigrún Birna Pétursdóttir (backing vocalist), wife Árný Fjóla Ásmundsdóttir (dancer), and friends Hulda Kristín Kolbrúnardóttir (backing vocalist), Stefán Hannesson (dancer), and Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson (dancer)—known as “Gagnamagnið”. Gagnamagnið, while translated to English as “the Data”, literally means “the amount of data”, and is the Icelandic word for “data plan”.

But for this tour it was a trio–he is on synths, with percussionist Ylva Øyen and guitarist Pétur Karl rounding out the trio.

His videos are exceptional-he really has the visual side of things down perfectly.  I wasn’t sure how he would translate live, but I had to take the opportunity to see him.  He was not only a great, engaging frontman, he was very funny as well.  He told us that he has to stop moving his microphone stand so much, so if he did we should yell Hey!  But not in a mean way.

He started with “Thank You,” a classic synth pop song.  His voice is surprisingly deep and yet very warm at the same time.

He stood between two small synth rigs and sang “thank you for being fabulous, wonderful, and nice.” It was earnest and catchy.  But he immediately started joking with us since the next song was called “Shut Up” (nothing personal, he assured us).  “Shut Up” had a disco feel with the slinky guitars.  The song ended with him pointing to everyone pretty much individually and quickly singing Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 17, 2022] Meet the Bug

When Daði Freyr announced his U.S. tour, I grabbed a ticket right away.  i wasn’t sure if there would be an opening act.  And it wasn’t until a few days before the show that it was announced that Meet the Bug would open.  Who is Meet the Bug?  We’ll let their bio explain:

Meet the Bug is the solo endeavor of Philadelphia-based bedroom pop polymath Cariahbel Azemar. Her latest EP Beet The Mug is “a vibey meditation on keys and glimmery vocals that tackles heavy childhood trauma from the perspective of an emerging artist realizing the power of her voice.” Azemar uses her songs as a sort of diary, cataloging the highs and lows of coming into adulthood as someone who is both on the spectrum and ADHD.

Born in Port au Prince, Haiti and raised in the Georgia suburbs, Azemar began taking classical piano lessons at the age of four. … While at a performance by one of her primary inspirations, Cavetown, Azemar noticed someone she knew in the opening band – meaning, to her, that maybe she could do this, and so she shall. Thus Meet The Bug was born. Coinciding with the start of the pandemic, Meet The Bug’s early focus was her YouTube channel, where she mostly posts covers and originals. Now an active member of the Philly DIY community, Azemar can be found performing in house venues, bars, and cafe’s about town. Most recently, she played support for Daði Freyr at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia.

Clearly this went up after I saw her.

Her set was delightful.  Lyrically the songs might have been a little dark, but they were more angsty and hopeful.  But she sang with a gentle voice and, best of all, nearly all of her songs were played on a ukulele–a fairly large ukulele (maybe a small guitar? but i think it had four strings).  This gave her songs a kind of sunny vibe. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DAÐI FREYR OG GAGNAMAGNIÐ-“10 Years” (Iceland, Eurovision Entry 2021).

I first learned about Daði og Gagnamagnið last year when Eurovison didn’t happen.  I have no idea how they came on my radar (something in Instagram, I assume).

Daði og Gagnamagnið is the creation of Daði Freyr Pétursson.  Much like The ROOP, the visuals from Daði and his band are what really sells the song(s).

Daði is the composer/musician and in performances, he is supported by his sister Sigrún Birna Pétursdóttir (backing vocalist), wife Árný Fjóla Ásmundsdóttir (dancer), and friends Hulda Kristín Kolbrúnardóttir (backing vocalist), Stefán Hannesson (dancer), and Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson (dancer)—known as “Gagnamagnið”. Gagnamagnið, means “the amount of data”, and is the Icelandic word for “data plan”.

And the real selling point?  Teal green sweaters with pixelized portraits of themselves on them.  Last year’s “Think About Things” was pretty awesome (the video is incredible).  A blast of disco fun.

This year’s “10 Years” opens with a string quartet playing a sad sounding melody and then Daði appears singing in his deep clipped style.  Then a huge disco bass line comes in and before you know it, the song is in full dance mode–a swinging disco confection with the remarkable hook

Everything about you [pause} I like.

Add in some disco wah wah guitars and some irresistibly dopey dance moves and its impossible to look away.

And what on earth are the weird keytars?  Presumably homemade and non-functioning except that now they shoot sparks from the bottom.

Just when you think its all over, up pops a fairly large choir of little girls to sing along before the disco resumes.

And then it’s over but they are not done because after an awkward pause of them standing there, one of the guys shoots a confetti cannon at the camera.

Novelty?  Sure.  Funny?  Absolutely.  Catchy?  Definitely.

UPDATE: This song came in fourth.

[READ: May 10, 2021]  “Girl Crazy”

Back in the mid to late 1990s, David Sedaris wrote a few Shouts & Murmurs for the New Yorker.  It’s interesting to see a writer whom you know for a certain style of writing crafting jokes in a very different manner.  Shouts & Murmurs are rarely actually funny, and that’s true of most of these.

Obviously the topical nature of most of these means there’s a component of “wait, what was going on?”, but the set up usually explains everything pretty well.  Now we are more likely to say, “Aw, remember when that’s all we cared about?”

This piece is about when Ellen DeGeneris’s character Ellen was about to come out on Ellen.  (Wow, remember when that was a big deal?).  And like several of these pieces, these are written as letters to the person in charge.

There are five letters here.

The first suggests that a six year old boy from North Carolina wouldn’t have gotten in trouble for sexual harassments for kissing a girl in his class if only he had kissed a boy.  The network best not mess with Regis and Kathie Lee. (more…)

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