An evening with Grísalappalísa

On a warm late winter night in Copenhagen Wolf ventured down to Pumphuset to witness something musically magical....

After receiving an invitation to attend the night’s events from Grisalappalisa, to bear witness to their first show outside of Iceland, we were eager to experience what the guys had to offer us. The band was supporting Reptile Youth, a five-piece electro pop outfit who reign from Aarhus but claim Copenhagen as their own, making the overall atmosphere of the night feel like a homecoming of sorts.

When the show got started there was an unexpectedly large turn out for a support act, no less one on their first tour or one that sings in Icelandic to a Danish crowd. There was the Icelandic contingent amongst the crowd, Wolf’s friend Kristjan laughed that “Every Icelandic gig in Copenhagen is like a high school reunion,” The show was enthusiastic, energetic and possessed that raw aspect that only comes from bands who are still finding their performance swing but are enjoying the road and having a really good go of it.

Hats off to Grisalappalisa who put on an intense performance, marked by long bouts of getting down among the crowd, shall we say a risqué performance ethic and charismatic vocals by the two front men who got the room moving like it was their first outing in months. Which in hindsight it probably was if you proscribe to the idea of the Scandinavian winter hibernation.

"We want to go everywhere, tour in all the small towns and villages, and be a band for the Icelandic people!"

Singing in Icelandic has its benefits, adding flare and a unique appeal to their music and live performance, the audience seemed to enjoy it, and combined with an animated performance it didn’t matter if Icelandic was not your strong suit! Their show worked seamlessly with Reptile Youth’s stage energy and it was one of the more successful music sets Wolf has seen in a while. 

Wolf sat down with the Baldur, Gunner and Rúnar after the show to get to know the men behind the mask of this punk pop, rock and roll experimental performance. Drawing on the inspiration of Australian music legend Nick Cave, they meet at high school and came together as a group late 2012. ‘We play the music we want to listen to’ they explain simply, enjoying the clash of genres in their music, and the appeal of a raw and live performance.

"We play the music we want to listen to."

The guys are hoping to continue their touring portfolio by playing in as many small towns in Iceland as possible, and ‘go everywhere: a band for the people!’ they laugh. Australia is definitely on the wish-list, apparently because, “everyone in Iceland is obsessed with Neighbors!" and Rúnar holds onto the hope of a special performance at Arsenal stadium at some point in the future!

It appears it is all about creating and touring, experimenting with performances and on audiences alike, and generally getting themselves out there. Which has more or less gone smoothly so far, the guys jokingly tell Wolf how they had once said to a journalist that they “Liked to come all over the crowd” with their energy and performance which was later printed with a very clear sexual overtone to the quote!

Wolf is excited to see where these guys go in the future, and since the show, we have heard Grisalappalisa gracing the Swedish airwaves. Hold tight, great things are ahead. Now to learn Icelandic and find out what the heck they’re singing about so enthusiastically!

Studiestræde 52, 1554 København V, Denmark


Chatting after the show...

Chatting after the show...

Words: Ash Francisco
Photography: Karim Helgstrand Nour