The cloud of ash spewing from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano continues to cause travel headaches across the globe and strand musicians everywhere, forcing them to cancel dates like crazy. Leave it to the kids at “Saturday Night Live” to find the humor in the worst disruption of air travel since September 11, 2001 – with a little help from “Iceland’s only celebrity,” Björk.
Saturday night’s episode of the show kicked off with Fred Armison’s Larry King interviewing Kristin Wiig’s hilarious Björk, who told King, “That’s right, we’re a tiny rock that’s destroying the world.”
“Yesterday the volcano and I were telling each other secrets,” the faux Icelander continued. “And the volcano told me she’s not feeling very well.”
All kidding aside, the crisis is being felt by performers on both sides of the Atlantic, with last weekend’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival taking the most notable hit so far.
Disappointed organizers Goldenvoice, who last week told Pollstar that they were “in contact with the acts that are having travel issues” to work out alternative plans, tweeted the cancellation of sets by U.K. artists The Cribs, Bad Lieutenant, Delphic, Talvin Singh and Gary Numan, as well as Scottish rockers Frightened Rabbit. Ironically, Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was also a no show because the group is stranded in Europe where they’ve been touring.
The flight problems come as a particularly hard blow to Bernard Sumner’s latest band, Bad Lieutenant, which was forced to ditch its entire U.S. tour.
“We’re stuck in Manchester,” Sumner said. “We were hoping that conditions might change at the last minute and we’d be able to come and play for our fans. Obviously, this is a situation out of everyone’s control, and we are crushed that we won’t be coming to America for these dates.”
While additional bands will no doubt be forced to shuffle dates and cancel shows in the days ahead, Los Campesinos!, Mika, Crystal Castles, LCD Soundsystem, Karen Elson, Gil Scott-Heron, Furthermore, The Features, Melissa Auf der Maur and Newton Faulkner find themselves doing so right now.
Other artists feeling the wrath of Eyjafjallajokull include:
Miley Cyrus – “grounded” just before she was to scheduled to head out to the U.K. for the London premier of her latest film, “The Last Song.”
Selena Gomez – enjoying an extended Spring Break, since she was in Europe when the ash hit the fan.
Usher – won’t be celebrating the rise of his single, “OMG,” to the top of the U.K. singles chart in the British Isles until the ban is lifted (or he can charter a really fast boat).
Adam Lambert – probably feeling the irony of the fact that his second single “Time for Miracles” from disaster-palooza “2012,” features him walking unscathed and perfectly coiffed through catastrophes of all stripes. His latest promotional trip to Europe has fallen victim to the volcano.
Bryan Adams – enjoying an involuntary extended trip to Europe and has had to move a date in Canton, Ga., back to April 27, but is still hoping to make a Wednesday night show in Cleveland. (Perhaps he’ll find inspiration for a new power ballad for the next Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza in this travel hiccup.)
Whitney Houston – the one person who’s probably grateful for all the furor caused by the eruption because it’s knocked stories in the British press about questionable performances on her U.K. tour off the front page. La Whit had to take a ferry across the Irish Sea to make a show in Dublin.
Speaking of ferries, leave it to a bunch of New York City veterans to thumb their noses at the cloud of volcanic ash. The New York Dolls jumped on a boat, without question a more reliable means of transportation in times of airborne disaster, and crossed the English Channel from France to make a show at London’s KoKo tonight.
Apparently inspired by the pluck of the Dolls, the British government dispatched a pair of Royal Navy warships to Europe to bring stranded tourists back home earlier today.
Back on “SNL” Armisen’s Larry King questioned faux Björk about any positive results from the eruption, to which she replied, “Iceland is now the world’s No. 1 exporter of volcanic ash. Previously our main exports were reindeer bones and giggles.”
Just in case this thing goes on much longer, here’s a YouTube video some helpful soul has posted for those of us who have been mangling the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajokull.
And if all else fails, maybe “Björk” has the right idea for ending this snafu:
“I wrote an Icelandic lullaby to help the volcano go to sleep. Ein, Sveer, Blund, Gorf! Calm down volcano. You’re eating our sky. Your vomit is hot, so close your mouth. Sleep volcano. And dream of me. I love you volcano.”