Today was the day that you could queue for Flaming Lips tickets – included in the price of your wrist band but with only 2200 tickets and 8000 wrist bands sold, obviously not everyone gets to go (you could purchase tickets as an extra prior to the festival as well). So based on last years queues for Kraftwerk we decided up early was the way to go, as at least you’d be queuing in the warmth of Harpa, good plan as the Icelandic weather was showing up who was boss today!
We decided to walk to Harpa via the seafront as we know from experience it takes half the time as it does to walk via Laugavegur – the wind was blowing a gale and waves were crashing against the rocks a couple of meters high, spraying the footpath with icey cold salt water – needless to say, once we reached Harpa at just after 8am we were a bit wet. And only 20th in the queue. Seems a lot of people had the smart idea of staying in bed little longer, but we like many others sat down with a book, grabbed a coffee and waited patiently (some ham & fried egg butties also helped).
Thankfully the Airwaves staff decided to not make everyone wait until
12 and handed out tickets a little early, as we left there was a substantial queue snaking out the doors into the cold, so we headed back towards our apartment feeling chuffed. We popped out head into lucky records and saw Brooklyn singer Eric vitoff performing with lots more energy than most of the people in the room put together, dancing and singing into his guitar at times!
After a refuelling back at our apartment we stopped by Lucky Records again, this time catching Bellstop – not my cup of tea but the husband enjoyed them, self described as folk rock.
We also caught the tail end of the intriguingly named Hide Your Kids (which tbh just reminds me of that bed intruder song from a couple of years ago), we only heard 1 song so I don’t feel I can make a judgement call on whether I like them or not – but they were giving away free CDs so something to listen to when we get home!
At this point in the evening my husband headed back to the apartment as man flu started to kick his ass, so I fought my way through the howling wind into the sanctuary of Frikirkjan to see Snorri Helgason perform. I’ve seen Snorri play at airwaves last year, and in Manchester supporting Asgeir, but both of those times he was very much a one-man-band with simply an acoustic guitar and harmonica. For his Airwaves show however there was the band Snorri Helgason (we noticed this a few times, solo performers create a band then the band performs under what is essentially the solo artist’s name) which included Mr Silla (not a mister at all btw) also on vocals as well as a bassist & drummer from some other well known local bands.
The church looked breathtaking with candles lighting the stage area, it was very atmospheric, with everyone seated in the pews. Having a full band and the addition of Mr Silla’s vocals brought a wonderful depth and richness to songs that already work well stripped down. It was a show that in my opinion was all to short!
Next stop was Harpa (again!) for Mugison (again!) which was yet another fantastic show with the added depth of having a full band, some new tracks and plenty of old favourites meant the crowd were excited but Mugison brought it down a notch with a duet with his wife who is (like many other music teachers in Iceland) currently on strike to protest against unfair pay for music teachers. It was a beautiful moment to watch.
Last events of the evening for me were part of the FALK (fuck art let’s kill) night in the smaller, seated room in Harpa Kaldalon.
First up was power noise artist AMFJ who gave us a full on ear assault, having seen him perform before I felt the music balance wasn’t quite right and was struggling to hear the vocal performance over the music. Ok so I don’t understand Icelandic but still…
Last show of the evening for me was then KRAKKKBOT who is slightly more palatable to the ears and plays (like quite a few electronic musicians) from his laptop, except he holds it kinda like he’s playing guitar!
Also people started bringing him drinks during the performance – which started getting a bit surreal.