Posts Tagged ‘seabear’

REVIEW: Múm @ Aladdin Theater (Portland, OR – 11/4/09)

5th Nov 09 (Thu) 4 comments


There must be something about the Icelandic landscape
that yields such magnificent music.

I got into Múm (pronounced “moom”) via Sigur Rós.  In fact, it may have even been a direct email from Sigur Rós about Múm right around the time Finally We Are No One (aka Loksins Erum Við Engin) was coming out in 2003.  Both bands are from Iceland, both bands have quirky, sometimes ambient songs.  Where Múm differs from Sigur Rós is that they tend to be less ethereal and have more electronic, glitchiness going on with their music.  They came through Portland a couple of years ago on their last album, Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, but I was not able to make it to the show.  Ever since hearing their albums, I have been curious how they’d pull it off in a live setting.

After a delicious vegan dinner at the new Irvington Blossoming Lotus restaurant (represent!), I got to the Aladdin right as doors were opening (a little after 8pm) and got a seat right up front.  Yay!

The first opener Hildur Guðnadóttir is one of Múm’s vocalists and did a 20-minute instrumental set.  She came out and played an initial song with just her on cello and laptop accompaniment.  The next song, she was joined by Sin Fang Bous’s drummer, and Múm’s bassist and trumpet player.  Her trumpeter played mostly what I’d call “empty notes” – a lot of wind and sputtering through the horn.   On Hildur’s second song, I thought, “there must be something about the Icelandic landscape that yields such magnificent music.”  The song was utterly gorgeous, flowing, almost glacial.  Her next two songs to wrap up her set were also gorgeous, but, wow, that second song really made me want to visit Iceland.  Her debut solo album is called Without Sinking and is available here.

Up next, Sin Fang Bous is a side project from Sindri Sigfússon of Seabear.  They played a 30 minute set that started off OK, but not all that that great.  BUT… by the end, I was really digging it.  The music was much louder than Múm & Hildur, and Sindri was also quite mumbly.  He was speaking in English, but when he announced song songs early on it was all a mash.  Near the middle of the set, his humor came out, which definitely helped me warm up to them.  “How come no one is sitting up there? (looking at the box seats)  Is that for the King of Portland?

Later on he also announced that he had CDs, t-shirts… and little vials of blood for sale at the merch table if we wanted something to drink on the way home.  Silly.  I think my favorite song was “Clangour and Flutes” (from the Clangour album available here).  Anyway, it had a nice hook and some nice instrumentation.

Mum in Portland 2009

Múm went on just before 10:30.  I had never seen them before; so I had no idea what to expect.  Several of the people up on stage had already been up there before (Hildur as the opener, the keyboardist/trumpter as Hildur’s back-up, their guitarist was also Sin Fang Bous’s guitarist).  It was like a little Icelandic traveling family.  When Múm came on, the front area without seats quickly filled up… so I got out of my seat and got a spot right at the stage.

Mum in Portland 2009

Mum in Portland 2009

Múm’s set was a lot of newer songs (of which I hadn’t heard) – happy, electronic with ambient / chamber music elements.  I had no idea they had multiple singers (Hildur, another woman, and a guy who also played keyboards, guitar, etc).  Don’t ask for names… it’s too difficult to remember or even research. :)  With two keyboardists, Múm’s electronic sounds came through in the live setting… definitely not as lush as the studio versions, but definitely commendable for a live setting.  I think, not as expected, the vocals were the primary flavor in the live show.  Hildur and the other woman singer were definitely passionate and singing their lungs out.  Here’s what the played (any help on missing / incorrect info is appreciated)…

Mum in Portland 2009

Setlist: about 85-90 minutes

  • Illuminated
  • Marmalade Fires
  • Húllabbalabbalúú
  • Blessed Brambles
  • If I Were A Fish
  • Nightly Cares
  • A Little Bit Sometimes
  • maybe The Last Shapes Of Never
  • Show Me
  • unknown… sweeping, operatic, lots of “la-las”
  • Dancing Behind My Eyelids
  • unknown… kazoos near the end
  • Prophecies And Reversed Memories
  • Sing Along
  • Encore: Green Grass Of Tunnel

Mum in Portland 2009

I picked up their new one, Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know.  I look forward to spinning it later today.

I left about midway through the last song, as I had a 2 hour drive, a hard week already, and an early meeting in the morning.  All in all, it was a GREAT show.  It wasn’t as monumental / mind-blowing as the first time I saw Sigur Rós, or anything like that, but it was a really great band playing really great music.  I’m glad that they’ve been through twice these past two years… I look forward to another trip from them in the near future.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out their U.S. tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Frog PocketCome On Primates Show Your Teeth!

MÚM, Hildur Guðnadóttir & Sin Fang Bous PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Their 2009 U.S. Tour Dates

  • Oct 21 the Somerville Theatre Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Oct 22 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Oct 23 Black Cat Washington DC, Washington DC
  • Oct 24 Le Poisson Rouge NY, New York
  • Oct 26 Le National Montreal, Quebec
  • Oct 27 Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, Ontario
  • Oct 28 Logan Square Auditorium Chicago, Illinois
  • Oct 29 McGuire Theater Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nov 01 Marquee Room Calgary, Alberta
  • Nov 02 The Venue Nightclub Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Nov 03 Showbox at the Market Seattle, Washington
  • Nov 04 Aladdin Theater Portland, Oregon
  • Nov 05 The Independent San Francisco, California
  • Nov 06 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, California
  • Nov 07 Yost Theatre Santa Ana, California

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