Joe and The Shitboys are a band of “bisexual vegans” from the Faroe Islands. How do we know that? Because it’s the very first thing they say on stage at Gaukurinn, the cult venue in downtown Reykjavik on Saturday night (November 9). The venue is beloved by its attendees for several reasons: the food menu is Vegan-only (and delicious), and the establishment only features gender-neutral bathrooms. Gaukurinn describes themselves as a “queer friendly space”, and asks patrons to bring, “joy, love and respect”.
Joe and The Shitboys bring all of them and more to Iceland Airwaves. During their 40-minute set, the shit-punks from the Faroe Island (population 51,000) are wicked, fearless and like to poke fun at just about everyone. During one song they want to check out how many of the crowd are “white cis-gender men” and they call out a crowd-member at random during the song ‘Life is Great You Suck’ but blow them a kiss just so they know it’s all fun and games.
Because that is exactly what these punks are about. The four-piece probably spend just as much roasting the audience face-to-face as they do not-so-discreetly roasting them in their songs. For the carnivores in the audience, there’s ‘If You Believe in Eating Meat Start With Your Dog’, a frank call to devour your pooch, if you love the taste of flesh so much. ‘Manspreadator’ is, quite obviously, about every knobhead who has invaded your space with danger, and ‘Save The Planet You Dumb Shit’ is forthright cry to rattle up the doziest of deniers.
Tonight, they’re in the company of friends and in the most fitting of surroundings. Back home on the Faroe Islands, the situation is quite different. The Faroes are overwhelmingly conservative, and the nation scores poorly in the Rainbow Map of Europe, an index which pulls together the legal and social climate for the LGBTQ+ community and rates them on their level of equality. The band also describe the music scene on the Islands as full of “boneless homophobes and misogynists”, and want to use their position to call out shitty behaviour.
Songs played during this set rarely last more than a minute – one, called ‘fuCk’, lasts two-seconds and comprises of a singular swear – and flit between energetic, hook-laden scrappy punk anthems and sometimes branch out into groovy territory, like on the ‘Closeted HomoFObe’. Meanwhile lead singer, Fríði, writhes across the stage for over 40-minutes fuelled with both anger at the injustices both home and abroad, and a wicked sense of humour. No-one is safe from their cheeky tongue and no-bullshit approach.
After bashing through 27-songs in 40 minutes (including ‘If You Wanna Be A Cuck I’ll Be Your Bull’, ‘Legalize Everything’ and ‘Eat Ass You Fucking Cowards’), they return for a one-song encore: a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Sleep Now In The Fire’ – a song built on the injustices committed to Native Americans by invaders. You wonder if, one day, they’ll have an anthem of a similar level.
Joe and The Shitboys played:
The Reson for Hardcore Vibes
Pull the Trigger
Drugs r 4 Kidz
Kill Your Darlings
Good Ol’ Days
Please Seek Help
If You Wanna be a Cuck I’ll be your Bull
An Ode to Shitheads
Save the Planet You Dumb Shit
The Revenge of the Vandalizer
Macho Man Randy Savage
Eat Ass You Fucking Cowards
Personal Space Invader
Life is Great You Suck
Fuck Everybody (Mike Angelo & the Idols cover)
Your Product Sucks
If You Believe in Eating Meat Start with your Dog