Mammút + Broen @ The Hug and Pint, Glasgow 29/11/2017
Last night’s audience for Iceland’s Mammút was small even considering the limited size of fashionable Glasgow West End venue The Hug and Pint. The pub’s gig basement was only about 1/2 to 2/3 full, albeit with people possessing enough enthusiasm and passion to make up the shortfall. It seems that about half of Scotland’s Central Belt was more interested in the Rangers vs Aberdeen match which was taking place in Ibrox stadium that night (resulting in a ridiculously crowded subway on the way in and Glasgow - Edinburgh train on the way back).
It’s a great shame since the support act was interestingly eclectic and Mammút’s epic music clearly deserving of a stadium-sized audience.
Norway’s Broen (meaning “bridge”) were the support. Their on-stage attire was a strange mix of folk costume and the kind of garb that extras in the film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets might have worn. Vocalist Marianna Røe donned a blouse bedecked with a hundred or so while silk flowers. Everyone else, meanwhile, wore mesh eye visors.
The look mirrored the music rather well. They bridge (see what I did?) electronics, jazz, sunny indie pop and the odd bit of rap in one eclectic and intoxicating blend.
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Icelandic headliners Mammút have a fantastic lead singer in the shape of Katrína Kata Mogensen. Sonically she’s very Björk but her stage manner reminds one of the energy, theatricality and charisma of a rock front person. She made great use of the venue’s intimacy via plentiful rapport and direct eye contact with the crowd. Even her accidentally knocking over her onstage wine glass failed to break the spell she held upon the audience.
The music’s great as well. It’s got that peculiarly Icelandic vibe, that ethereal vastness but with a slightly rawer, less crystalline rock backing. That’s not to say they are an out-and-out-punk band by any means; their music relies on the slow and epic build up rather than the straightforward blast. However, with lyrics like “Bring the glue… so I can glue your eyes shut and sin as I like” it’s clear that there are dark and sinister undercurrents here.
The material last night was a fine mix of both their English-language songs from recent album Kinder Versions and their older Icelandic-language material. The set ended with their two lengthiest pieces: We Tried Love and (in an encore) Kinder Version. While these were, conversely enough, the first two tracks from Kinder Versions, such an approach fitted in perfectly with the gradually waxing grandeur of the evening.
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