Yesterday after work, I dragged my boys across the sound, to Sweden. After the relatively quick train ride, we landed in Malmø, Sweden's third largest city, which was hopping under the annual festival. The whole city was a maelstrøm of free concerts, carnivals, artsy installations, elk kebabs, and beer. We didn't give much thought to the elk kebabs though, since there was a distinct purpose with this little excursion.
We were in Malmø for the sole reason of hearing one of my favorite bands, Hjálmar. I will forgive you for never having heard of them. They are Icelandic, and since Iceland is populated by only 300,000 people, they are practically endangered. So, as I was saying, they're Icelandic, and they are a reggae band. And they sing in Icelandic. Now seeing as I love reggae, Iceland and their lovely language, I think their music is heavenly. Do your self a favor and check 'em out on www.myspace.com/hjalmarmusic.
Despite their keyboardist's arm being in a cast, they did a really good job of shooing the melancholy away from the rainy, muddy festival. We were up to our ankles in mud, but no one cared, as the music filled the tent. They stayed true to their music as their fans know it, but they interjected a lot of new grooves, which kept people hopping. Dante dug it.
At the tail end of the concert, Gogol Bordello started to play in the bigger tent, just meters away. Now, I excused you for not knowing Hjálmar, but I am not going to be so merciful now. They played a sold out concert in Copenhagen on Monday, so Mikael and I only could guess how fantastic that could have been. The fact that Gogol Bordello was playing in Malmø the same day, at the same place as Hjálmar was a mere coincidence, but all the luckier for us.
Eugene Hütz, gypsy leader of Gogol Bordello, gives his audience every atom in his body, every whisker in his mustache, every single calorie he has to burn. You really have to see them to believe it, but they are fan-f***ing-tastic. Maybe you have seen another version of him? The movie based on Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Everything Is Illuminated (also starring former Hobbit, Elijah Wood), has Hütz playing the sympathetic and "premium dancer" Alex from Ukraine. Well, I tell you, you need to go to www.myspace.com/gogolbordello right now, scroll down to the middle of the page, and "Start Wearing Purple" right now!
We were absolutely exhausted after all that, and we strolled directly back to the train station for a ride home. On our way, we met a cluster of trees that had been dressed up for the occasion. Green is definitely their color.