Day 4 of #Airwaves18

Day 20/100 – well it seems my challenge has failed somewhat. I could’ve sworn I posted my day 4 review but as this was empty I guess not and in case you couldn’t tell, post holiday fatigue set in and stayed in. I’ve had a super busy week at work and this weekend had family staying so no real time to blog and now all that excitement is catching up with me and I’m coming down with a cold. But, I’ll try and remember what I enjoyed most about the last day of airwaves.

Clue, it was a lot. We went a bit off-schedule with our planning. This year the festival reduced the off-venue program, whilst the press have said this was for financial reasons, we heard from some locals that apparently it was because the Icelanders themselves apparently don’t buy tickets anymore and just attend off-venue shows – not sure how true that is? I mean they’d still need to book time off work etc to attend shows, another ru mour we heard was that Icelandic bands playing on-venue were limited to one off-venue show, however that ended up not being true, but it certainly was like in the past where bands played multiple shows througout the festival, and it’s not like the off-venue replaces the full festival – most of it shuts down at 7pm. For us the off-venue compliments the offical shows, making it easier to see more people if you see someone at lunchtime friday, that might free up saturday evening to see 1 or 2 other shows for example.
Anyway, we started with an Airwaves favourite – Una Stef, performing at Lucky Records, which turned into a full on dance party, which audience synchonised moves!

Una Stef @ Lucky Records

Una Stef at Lucky Records

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Tap list at RVK Brewing

We made a detour to RVK Brewing, a micro brewery with tap room that was easily a highlight of the trip (much more than Brewdog Reykjavik which was oddly disappointing), the flight of beer was a lot cheaper and in much cuter glasses. They were also playing the new LP from Benny Crespo’s Gang which reminded me to pick up a copy on our way back past Lucky Records, where we also saw a snippet of Godchilla.

We then went for another Airwaves tradition and stopped off at Reykjavik Fish for a lovely fish supper, before heading back to our apartment to drop off our bags – here we were delighted to find the Northern Lights playing out!

Aurora over Reykjavik

Northern Lights over Reykjavik

With this giving us giddy levels of excitement, we then headed to Hurra, as it was a venue we’d not been to, we caught the end of Munster’s set which was alright. We then headed across the road to the Art Museum to see Emmsjé Gauti, an eminent Icelandic rapper performing in the Art Museum, the venue was large and not very crowded when we were there, which meant we could sneak right up to the front for the feel good show (even though we didn’t understand the lyrics). We then went back across the road for Vio, who we saw last year off-venue and were great – really energetic indie rock.

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Dr Spock at Gaukurinn

Promptly followed by Dr Spock who are not indie rock at all, but loud and crazy punk rock, handing out marigold gloves and singing whilst wearing an elephant mask, and omg the crowd loved it and so did we!

After this we headed to our final gig of the the evening, timings being what they were meant we had just missed the end of Ceasetone (thankfully I managed to see them earlier in the week), but not too late for Benny Crespo’s Gang. I had first heard of them a couple of Airwaves back, being a fan of LayLow – I had no idea at the time that she was in a band that were much more rocky than her laidback, soulful music. Another crowd pleaser of a band, this small intimate room at Bryggjan Brugghús was pleasantly full of people dancing and singing. A fantastic end to the festival for us.

(We may have already bought early bird tickets for next years’ festival).

Airwaves Day 4 – getting going

We started Saturday early – hitting up one of the first off venue performances at Slippbarinn for the ever lovely Laylow – again playing with a band rather than solo and including some songs from her latest album Talking About The Weather (if you haven’t heard it – go buy it). Her vocals were a soulful and dusky as ever and did not disappoint.
Then it was off to Reykjavík Fish across the road for lunch – we opted for a Fish & chips (fish type unknown) and a breaded cod & chips then shared so we both got to try each. Delicious, we came here last year and again. It did not disappoint – also this year we had a window seat with beautiful views over the harbour.
Next up was ÍRiS at Around Iceland, a quaint little cafe / tourist information shop. Again she was not perform in solo and had ‘Frank’ on percussion which included playing a saw and one of those air-tubes you swing around your head. Playing several tracks from her album Penumbra, she finished on what was described as a classic we might know, but it was in French so I’m pretty sure it’s nothing I’ve heard before.

Next of the evening was Epic Rain at Lucky Records whom after my initial listen online I’d decided sounded quite dark and goth like, however it was almost rapping very reminiscent to me at least to Canadian artist Buck 65, but not as lyrically entertaining.

Lastly of Saturday evening, arguably the biggest party night of Airwaves weekend, we opted for seeing The Knife perform at Harpa- the shaking the habitual tour – their last ever tour, with this being their last ever show of last ever tour, we were expecting great things.
Because of the afore mentioned info we knew this would be a case of arriving early or queueing pointlessly later on, so we arrived at around 8:15 with first act in Harpa Silfburg – Samaris starting at 8:40. It was already pretty busy but we managed to get a floor space near the front. I was looking forward to hearing Samaris and their music should’ve sounded great, except the bass was way off, like when it makes speakers buzz because of too much bass. It was almost like AMFJ ‘s power noise except totally unintentional.
After Samaris finish their 40 minute set (leaving at unusual 40 minute gap
until the next act) the room gets inherently busier with groups of young ‘adults’ who look barely older than 15 pushing each other into people in order to create a space and push forward, it’s hot, overcrowded and boring.
Then eventually The Knife’s warm up act comes on, a lady who gets the crowd geared up, excited and ready for a thrilling show. At this point a doubts I’d had, all thoughts of leaving early and heading somewhere else disappeared – this was going to be fun!! Who cares if my friends who saw the show a few nights back had thought it was disappointing (apparently only singing live for 3 tracks then miming the rest of the show), this was gonna be fun!
Wrong.
After spending all that time getting bored and impatient crowd to warm up and get hyper, they came on with one of the most sedate tracks from the album, then followed with another at which point we left. Oh sorry at which point we had to physically fight & push our way OUT of the venue. Because it was over crowded (and a real fire hazard) with zero crowd control. What I mean is that on this floor of Harpa there are two venues both with different room capacities, however there is no one checking that either of said rooms have the right amount of people in.

So we left, we walked back via Herfisgata where my husband commented on a crane being almost invisible at which point I noticed behind the crane was the Northern Lights! I’d totally forgotten despite checking weather reports all week that Saturday night would be clear.
I didn’t have my tripod but I still managed to get a few photos of the northern lights dancing mostly around the Imagine Peace Tower – and my night was made.
To top it off we stopped by the bar in Hlemmur Square which has one of the most epic beer lists I’ve ever seen!