Mugison @ EMP bathroom


by Kevin Cole

Yesterday on The Afternoon Show, I had a special guest all the way from Iceland, award-winning artist Mugison. I discovered his music on my trip to Iceland five years ago, and was just blown away.

Someone else who was blown away was my co-worker Chris Kellogg, our New York programming producer, who literally choked on his drink when he heard me say on the air that Mugison was coming to the station.

Last night, Chris and I went out to the EMP to see Mugison play again, this time for an audience of travel industry folks at an Icelandic Airlines promotional event. In July, they’re gonna kick off direct flights from Seattle to Iceland, which is very cool (no pun intended). The event was beautiful. They showed a promotional video of Iceland, and then Mugison took the stage for a short musical set.

If you missed the interview yesterday, in Iceland, Mugison is huge. In their equivalent of The Grammys, Mugison has taken the Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and more. So getting to see him in the gorgeous setting of the Sky Church was such a treat. It also made his stage banter just a little bit more hilarious…

Before launching into “Jesus is a Good Name to Moan,” he explained to the audience, “Back when I used to be a sailor, we would watch a lot of porn on the ship…” I froze, and thought to myself, “Did he just say porn?” Mugison kept explaining, “And this next song is about how all the women always moan ‘Jesus’ in porn…”

At first, I nervously looked around at the audience of travel industry-types, but thankfully, they were just as charmed by this handsome, polite Icelandic musician, and thought it was hilarious, too. It made his performance even more fun, especially when he sings the lyric, “All the women sing along now…” which cracked everyone up.

After his short three-song set, we were standing around talking, and Mugison decided he wanted to play more, but somewhere… “dirty,” as he put it. (No, no, despite the “porn” talk, he didn’t mean a strip club, promise.) We tried to think of some nearby pubs we could hit, but instead, Mugison grabbed his guitar, and said, “I’m gonna go sing in the bathroom.” A group of us grabbed our drinks and followed him there, like an Icelandic Pied Piper! An old friend of his was there, remarking about how rare and surreal this was. Apparently, the last time he saw him play was in front of thousands of people, opening for Bjork! But, now, here he was playing in the bathroom of the EMP, with toilets flushing in the background!

Whether playing for thousands of people in an arena, or playing for tens of people in a bathroom, Mugison is just the most engaging, passionate performer. It was just incredible. As if this crazy evening couldn’t get even more special, Mugison played a track just for our Chris, which you can see here. Simply awesome.

Thanks to Bart of The Foghorns for the video!

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