Last Night: Múm at the Yost Theatre

Live at the Yost Theatre
Live at the Yost Theatre
Andrew Youssef
Last Night: Múm at the Yost Theatre, Saturday, November 7
Better Than: any other band from Greenland. 

Is everything cooler in Iceland? After witnessing a sublimely refreshing set by Múm, I was looking into airfares to visit Iceland. Following in the tradition of such great Icelandic bands like the the Sugarcubes, Bjork and Sigur Ros, Múm create unique collages of sound with a vast array of instruments. The Yost Theatre provided an ideal backdrop for their serene songs and hosted a perfect evening. Múm opened their set with the haunting piano notes of "Ladies of the New Century." Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason stated they opened with the last song from their recent album Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, since it was the end of their tour. Soaring angelic vocals from Sigurlaug Gílasdóttir and Hildur Guõnadóttir underpinned Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason's spoken word vocal delivery.

It was impressive to see the seven member band interact with each other using visual cues to accurately recreate their complex arrangements.  Hildur Guõnadóttir sampled the sounds  of her scraping the strings of her cello to form the skeleton of "Blessed Brambles" with the melodica providing the muscle of the song. Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason would even sing into his melodica to add a bizarre alien effect to his vocals.

The triple vocal harmonies and swooning violin of "A Little Bit, Sometimes" simultaneously chilled my bones and warmed my heart. Very few bands have this capability. Hildur Guõnadóttir was charming when she spontaneously broke out her dance moves for the Casio keyboard fueled "The Smell of Today Is Sweet Like Breast Milk In The Wind". The bright and sunny feeling was quickly erased by he somber piano notes of "Moon Pulls". "They Made Frogs Smoke 'Til They Exploded" was another bass driven electronic sampled smorgasbord of instruments that featured kazoos, recorders and harmonicas. "Sing Along"  had members of Sin Fang Bous jump on stage for a giant sing along to close out their main set.  The encore of "Green Grass of Tunnel" solemnly brought the evening to a delightful end.

Sin Fang Bous is the moniker used by Sindri Mar Sigfusson who opened with a fragile set of crystalline pop. Using a three microphone setup, Sindri switched between microphones mid-song to give the impression of three different singers if your eyes were closed. "Sinker Ship" could easily be the lead song to a Wes Anderson directed movie with the only musical comparison to that of a cross between Rogue Wave filtered by with the twisted stylings of Beck. Hildur Guõnadóttir also opened with a jaw dropping cello solo set. It definitely served as a fitting precursor to an amazing night.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: Icelandic bands rarely tour, so I make a point to see them whenever possible.
Random Detail: Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason was wearing a badge on his shirt with his name and the title "Entertainer."
By The Way: The show was literally cool in that I was blasted by a breeze coming in from the open door at the side of the stage.

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