Time for Iceland Airwaves

This year has been a busy year with moving our lives to the other end of the country on a permanent basis, that’s my excuse for not updating my blog very often. This time last year I was in Iceland for the first time, for the Airwaves festival for the first time, where I attempted to write about it day by day. The festival was very full on and what I ended up with, was a note book with pages of writing that never made it online (although I managed to upload a daily quota of photos). This year I’m going to make more of an effort, and so tonight, I decided to write about some personal highlights from last year.

AMFJ at Dillon Bar

AMFJ at Dillon Bar

The decision to go see AMFJ was entirely that of my other half, he had looked up AMFJ online and liked the sound of him, I had no idea what to expect. described by some as ‘noisecore’ AMFJ uses feedback loops (lots of knob twisting on the mixing machine thing) with beats to create a loud and unique soundscape, whilst he sings (or shouts) over the top, his performance is very theatrical and mesmerising. What stuck with me most about his performance, upstairs in Dillon bar (a wood panelled rock bar), was that with all the commotion inside, I could see outside the window the wonderfully peaceful Icelandic landscape, the perfect juxtaposition. AMFJ is playing again this year, at Harpa, I intend to go see he perform again this year.

ÍRiS at Lucky Records


ÍRiS at Lucky Records

I’d heard a lot of chatter online about Iris, so we were stoked she was doing an off venue performance at Lucky Records (1 minute walk from our apartment), her performance was nothing short of stunning. She played segments of tunes, recording them then playing them back over each other to create a rich layered sound, with both a keyboard and melody harp, then did  the same with her vocals so it sounded so much more than just one woman with her two instruments.

Iris is playing again this year – a staggering 10 off venue shows over the 5 days, we will definitely be seeing her again!

Saytan at Cintamani

One of the amazing things about Airwaves, is that as well as the 200 plus bands part of the ‘official’ festival (where a paid for wrist band is required for entry), is the astounding off-venue program of free performances, which also has hundreds of performances, many bands playing several times over the days, and the venues! The venues can range from a bar (nothing unusual here) to a book or clothing shop, a hotel or hostel, music shop (not so weird) to pretty much anywhere a band can set up a drum kit, guitar and a couple of amps.

Saytan at Cintamani

We saw Saytan perform for the first time at Lucky Records, they were very rock n roll as part way through the first track (I cant say song, as there are no lyrics, so it sounds wrong), when the lead performer through his glasses on the floor and kicked them under a chair! You must realise, I had just had the shock of finding out how much a block of cheese costs in Iceland, so the cost of prescription spectacles must require some sort of bank loan! So we enjoyed Saytan’s instrumental rock so much, we decided to check out their final off-venue performance at trendy outerwear store Cintamani, where the band were performing in the window, amongst the existing window dressing, where they decided to play sporting some impressive cat style ski hats? Not really sure what they were, but made for an amusing show.

it seems odd looking back now that my fondest memories are all of off-venue stuff, but that’s just how it goes. Although Reykjavik Art Museum was possibly my favourite on-venue, venue, as here I ‘met’ (in the loosest sense of the word) Nanna from Of Monsters and Men, and spotted Bjork, inbetween all the great music, also as a venue it has plently of room to get around and never felt over crowded.

So to bed, as I have an early get up and 10-11 hour journey to reach my apartment tomorrow for our exciting week ahead

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