KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2016, Day 4: Mammút

Iceland Airwaves
Katy McCourt-Basham
Photos by Jim Bennett

Next on the KEXP video stream live from KEX Hostel at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival were genre-bending Icelandic post-punk band Mammút. Formed as a trio called ROK in 2003, the band expanded in 2004 and changed their name before winning Iceland’s Músiktilraunir (a battle of the bands similar to Seattle’s Sound Off! Other notable alumni include Samaris, Vök, and Of Monsters and Men) in 2004. In the 12 years since, they have enjoyed immense popularity both at home and abroad. Icelandic post-punk history runs strong in the blood of frontwoman Kata Mogensen--her father Birgir Mogensen was the bassist of legendary Icelandic punk band KUKL. Their Icelandic accolades include nine Icelandic Music Awards nominations (and three wins). 

Fans packed into KEX Hostel (with more waiting at the back gate hoping to get in) to catch a set from the iconic Icelandic post-punk band. Clad all in black, they played an likewise dark set of entirely new music from their forthcoming record, to be released next year. The set opened with "Bárujárn." With crashing drums, a heavy bassline, and Kata's hypnotizing voice, they had the crowd fully absorbed from the beginning. Their set was filled with twists and turns, moving seamlessly from atmospheric post-rock to punk with anguished, emotive wailing, to downtempo experimental rock. The easiest vocal comparison to make is Björk, but there are also elements of Beth Gibbons to be heard in Kata's incredible voice. Their closing song, "Dægur," was the standout of the performance. A more uptempo number, with melodic guitars (and even a tambourine), it had a slightly more optimistic feel, while retaining some of the atmospheric fuzz of the rest of the set. A heavenly chorus of oohs and aahs added a joyful tinge to the end of the performance, filtering over the crowd as they filed out at the end of the performance. If this set is any indication, their new record is sure to be a stunner.


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