Day 12/100 – Off-venue at #Airwaves18

In a bid to stem the excitement of my forthcoming trip to Iceland for another round of the eclectic music festival that is Iceland Airwaves, it’s another airwaves themed post from me.

If you’ve not been to the festival before, off-venue is the name to a weeklong series of gigs in various venues throughout the day, that are free for anyone to attend, not just those with a festival wristband. In most cases the off-venue program tends to finish around 7-8pm as the official venue events start up for the evening. In the past there has been as many as 60 different venues, but this year, with the festival’s new owners allegedly cutting costs to recoup losses from previous years festival, it’s down to 25 venues for 2018.

Mr Silla @ Iceland Airwaves 05.11.15
Mr Silla performing in a clothing store, 2015

Obviously a lot of airwaves fans are disappointed, as for many of us this is an integral part of the festival, a chance to see bands pared down, in intimate venues. Some of our personal favourites have been Ægisgarður (home to the Viking Brewery with their colourful stage area, and kegs that acted as instrument stands), Reykjavik Letterpress who also plied the audience with free chocolate bars, Eymundsson book store on Austurstræti, and Lucky Records (who are staying with the program this year)… it’s all so very different to anything else I’ve ever been to.

Futuregrapher @ Eymundsson
Futuregrapher at Eymundsson, 2014

It was also reported by Iceland Review that another reason for so few off-venues was that the costs of taking part in the off-venue program had skyrocketed – an increase of over 730% for venues taking part for the whole week! Of course for smaller venues the cost is prohibitive, and it seems there is rebellion with unofficial off-venue shows taking place which I will list below and update with any new info I receive (many thanks to the wonderful people of the Airwaves FB group for social travellers for hunting this info out!).

Between Mountains
Between Mountains at Ægisgarður, 2017

Vinyl Reykjavik
T 6/11 – DJ Pussy Valore
W 7/11 – BERNDSEN @9pm with others, doors at 6PM
T 8/11 – Yagya, Skurken – Downtempo electronica
F 9/11 – Elves and Dragons night with Sturle Dagsland and some other wizard people.
S 10/11 – S. Hel and some other ambient DJs.

Bókabúð Máls og menningar
10/11- 18:00 Sturle Dagsland

Sólsetrið (Skrauthólar), Grundarhverfi
10/11 – 22:00 Sturle Dagsland

Why not? Plötur
6/11 – 19:00 – Sólveig Matthildur, IDK IDA, asdfhg, Bömmer
9/11 – 16:00 – FINISHED BEFORE 20:00. Skátar, Grit Teeth, :mikilsorg
10/11 – Sideproject, Celestine, xGaddavírx, Man Kind, Laura Secord

KAFFIBARINN
4/11 – DJ Pilsner
5/11 – Sonur Saell
6/11 – Arni Vector
7/11 – Hunk of a Man
8/11 – Black Loops / Introbeatz
9/11 – FM BELFAST DJ SET
10/11 – DJ Margeir / Ieynigestur

Aurora House
10/11 17:00 Svavar Knútur

One perk of being a wristband holder this year, is that you get 10% off food and drink at the off-venues that serve.

Airwaves 16 – Days 1-2

Because I really haven’t had the time or energy to blog daily  🙂

Day 1 – Wednesday

A first for us this year was arriving the first day of the festival rather than a day or two before. So it was fairly late Wednesday when we got our wristbands and as a result we didn’t see very many bands, in fact we sort of saw one off venue band – VAR and despite how much I love them, the venue (bar 11) was awful, unless you were 6 foot plus you weren’t going to see anything, and for me there’s nothing more annoying that someone (or 3) shoving past you to get closer, who then puts ear plugs in – seriously go home.

Snorri Helgason & Mr Silla

So we chilled out for a bit then headed to see Snorri Helgason at NASA, or as the other half calls him (and his band) the Snorri Helgason Good Time Band. Really upbeat and with Mr Silla on co-vocals for several songs we loved it. So it turns out that half the band are also in Tilbury (I did not know this until now) who were on just afterwards – strange band, half look like they belong in a 70s metal band and the lead singer with his snap back like he should be in a rap group – but neither of these apply – really amazing uplifting vocals and streaming guitars. But we were totally knackered so left part way through.

Day 2 – Thursday

We started the day really lazily, taking a walk around the harbour and grabbing brunch at Fredrikson Ale House – we highly recommend this place, the portions were huge (think 8 pieces of bacon!) and kept us going until evening. We then headed to Harpa as we’d won tickets to an exclusive session with Mugison, courtesy of Nordic Playlist. With only 30 audience members and a backdrop of Reykjavik through Harpa’s amazing windows it was so cool – we heard a few well known tracks and some new ones from the album released this week, we must remember to get a copy before we leave.

We then headed to Bryggan Brugghus to see Mr Silla perform off venue as a solo artist, although she was accompanied by her husband on stage. Again, mind blowing vocals, different arrangements of song I know and love. She also tipped us off to another band she was performing with today – Throws, a UK band with one guy from Sheffield and the other who lives in Reykjavik.

So for our evening entertainment we started at the Reykjavik art museum for JFDR, aka Jofridur from Pascal Pinon, Samaris and Gangly. This was her solo stuff and it was a haunting and melodic as Samaris. We then quickly headed off to Hurra for The IllIs, a Slovakian band. I would like to peg them as metal, but they had moments of dreamy pop melodies that were then interrupted with the crashing guitars – they were so energetic and fun. And on their final song one of the guitarists handed his guitar to the guy next to me in the audience so he could rock out, this was hilarious as the guy like me clearly did not know what to do with it! If you ever get the chance to see these guys then do – they really know how to rock a party!

The Ills @ Hurra

We then arrived at Gamla Bio whilst Hannah Lou Clark from the UK was playing, highly popular it would seem, as afterwards the venue practically empty. So we waited for Throws – worth noting Gamla Bio has the BEST free wifi I’ve ever experienced that doesn’t require signing up for something/tedious registration process.

Throws absolutely killed it. They started with a male voice choir of at least 15 members who were all very impressive, then slimmed down to the two of them plus two drummers, who were so energetic I felt sweaty just looking at them, then Mr Silla popped in for a track or two in the middle before finishing back with the choir who some of which were drinking beer at this point! Fab evening, danced loads, smiled even more, went back to our apartment exhausted.