KEXP at Iceland Airwaves, Day 4: Úlfur Úlfur

Photos by Matthew B. Thompson

Next on the live video broadcast from Kex Hostel at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival was popular Icelandic rap group Úlfur Úlfur. Comprised of rappers Arnar Freyr and Helgi Sæmundur with a rotating group of musicians, they combine hard rock, post rock, melodic choruses and hard rap. They debuted with Föstudagurinn langi in 2011, and after much anticipation, released their second record Tvær Plánetur earlier this year.

Kex was packed with fans of all ages waiting to see Úlfur Úlfur. Their set opened with “Tarantúlur,” which dropped immediately into a heavy bass and drum beat. The MC’s were spitting rhymes at hyper speed, each hard consonant and rolled R like a hard punch. The live band backed with a heavy rock sound while the enthused crowd kept their hands in the air.

“100,000” used a crowd call and response, with atmospheric guitars flowing behind their chanting lyrics. “Tvær Plánetur,” (“Two Planets”) the eponymous single from their new record, featured dulcet, dreamy music, and more melodic vocals, a change from the aggressive rapping style of the previous few. Though the song was more low-key, the MC’s were energetic without being showy, and the crowd was keeping the energy up as well.

“20 og Eitthvað” (“Twenty-Something”) was mellow as well, with floating, plucking guitar backing melodic rapping. They closed the set with “Brennum Alt,” (“Burn Everything”) a song that usually features a guest verse by popular Icelandic rapper Kött Grá Pje, with rhythmic verses and a post-rock, heavy bass, feel and a long instrumental outro, it was a dramatic end to a killer set.

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