Day 14 – More Airwaves recommendations

Still playing catch up with my blog challenge but hey ho. Time to get things rolling – some more recommendations from me. I’ve actually still got about 20 bands still to listen to, out of the 240 artists, and with only 2 days left to go that’s going to take some determination.

Una Stef
Una Stef Off-venue, 2017

Una Stef, is commonly referred to as the Icelandic Alicia Keys, so common I think you’ll struggle to find an article about her that doesnt mention keys or Una’s other influence – Beyonce. Upbeat soul and funky tunes, its been amazing to watch her stage presence progress over the many times we’ve seen her perform over the years!
Check out her bandcamp here
Una plays Gamla Bio Wednesday 7th November at 23:30, and off-venue at Canopy on Saturday 10th at 18:00.

Úlfur Úlfur
Úlfur Úlfur Off-venue, 2017

Úlfur Úlfur, are an amazing rap duo. I’m not usually enamoured with Icelandic rap (or any modern rap to be fair), but these guys remind me more of the Beastie Boys than Kanye. I don’t know what they’re rapping about, unless I look up their lyrics and attempted to painstakingly translate with google(which I have done). But that doesn’t stop them putting out cracking songs, including Brennum allt (rough translation, Burn everything) this one with a horse in the video. They play the Reykjavik Art Museum on Wednesday 7th November at 21:15.

Rythmatik @ Lucky Records
Rythmatik at Lucky Records, 2014

Final recommendation for this post at least – Pop-punk youngsters Rythmatik played their first shows off-venue back in 2014. They then went on to win the annual music competition Músíktilraunir (past winners have included Of Monsters and Men, Mammút and Vök) in 2015. Since then they’ve released a couple of singles and earlier this year their debut album. However rumour’s abound this could be their last show, so go see them play at Húrra Wednesday November 7th at 11:20 pm!

Final Day of Airwaves (latest write up ever?)

Today being our last full day in Reykjavik and also the last day of airwaves we decided to make a bit more of an effort to see a few more bands. So we started out in Lucky Records once more – this time a four piece young band all the way from the West Fjords called Rythmatik. They were a bit late due to leaving their cymbals somewhere the previous night but all was good once they started. The lead singer / guitarist reminded me of a young Tom DeLonge maybe it’s the obvious youthful exuberance or that just sound similar, in that raw state? Maybe I’m just mad, who knows? Anyway, true to their name they had a strong rhythmic sound that got the crowd going! These guys have recently released their first demo and I’m really looking forward to their first Ep or album coming out very soon, I reckon you should head on over to their Soundcloud page and give them a listen or 6 as I’m officially making them my one to watch from Airwaves 2014!

Icelandic band Rythmatik perform at Lucky Records for Iceland Airwaves Off Venue Program
Rythmatik @ Lucky Records

After leaving Lucky Records (possibly my favourite Off-venue, venue of Airwaves – it has oodles of space to browse, even when packed with foreigners wanting to see the next possibly big thing alongside a proper performance area and you should check out their film soundtrack selection, some good stuff), we headed towards Eymundsson book store on Austurstræti (another good off venue place), we think we passed ‘Strangely & Shay’ busking on the street just up from Prikið, but we didn’t stick around as we wanted to check out Futuregrapher.

Strangely & Shay? busking on Laugavegur

Having heard a couple of Futuregrapher tracks and thinking he was a chilled out electronic sort of vibe, sounded like a nice afternoon in a book store, although how it would be pulled off, was eluding us. It was a pleasant surprise when he pulled out a book (although I still dont know if it was one chosen from the book store, at random, or a purposely chosen one), and appeared to read, very seriously from the book, to the backing of his music. It was quite theatrical and unexpected from this bloke who wears a trademark 66 North Beanie and floral sort of pajama pants. Either way, it was a performance that left me wanting more and once back in the UK looking up Futuregrapher tracks.

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1. Futuregrapher @ Eymundsson, 2. Futuregrapher @ Eymundsson, 3. Futuregrapher @ Eymundsson, 4. Futuregrapher @ Eymundsson

After this we tried the infamous Kaffibarrin. I’d like to point out that we’d previously tried to visit Kaffibarrin something like 4 times each unsuccessful (either closed, open but people queuing out the door, or open but the bar staff choosing to rearrange bottles rather than serve customers..), so we got here early-ish (ie a good 30 minutes before any bands started) and got a table and a drink. Yes, this time we got a drink, from the bar situated adjacent to the stage area, the one that once there are about 20 people in the venue becomes unobtainable… but yet the other bar, whilst open, still doesn’t serve people…. very, very odd. But anway, we ‘saw’ or listened to a band called Oddur who didn’t really make a lasting impact on our recall, and we didn’t end up staying for the next one due to how crowded it got, I’m sure it’s lovely on a non-gig, non-airwaves evening, but this was just uncomfortable.

So back to our apartment and then off for the main event. Last year, we were far too lazy and not really that bothered to queue for Kraftwerk tickets, this year the headlining queuing tickets were for Flaming Lips, a band I quite like and my other half has already seen live before we even knew each other. It was worth the early morning, wave soaking wait. I had no idea what to expect, the husband knew about the crazy exploits. The streamers, balloons, everything, the whole atmosphere of fun, was amazing (it made up for us walking the entire perimeter of the Vodafonehöllin in below freezing conditions due to NO signage), the fact that you could enjoy the show without being arse to cheek with your fellow music lovers was a huge bonus (Note Airwaves, – the Knife’s performance being here would’ve been 10x more successful). The fact that people could dance, or stand, or sit without being pushed / pulled. The venue felt to be around the size of Manchester Academy 1, but not at full capacity.

At the beginning I said ‘ I will die if they play Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’, ‘oh they never play that any more’ assures my other half (possibly winding me up?). So Obviously I squeed with joy when they did, then followed all the crazy shit, the inflatable characters, the Fuck Yeah Iceland balloon that kept going longer than expected, the Beatles reworking, Wayne in a hamster ball, but most of all the amazing atmosphere.

1. Flaming Lips @ Vodafone Hall, 2. Flaming Lips @ Vodafone Hall, 3. LOVE, 4. Flaming Lips brought their own balloons to the party

1. Flaming Lips @ Vodafone Hall, 2. Flaming Lips @ Vodafone Hall, 3. LOVE, 4. Flaming Lips brought their own balloons to the party

As we walked back to our apartment, very, very satisfied, through the park (we found out this evening that we were so close to the Reykjavik Art Museum – Kjarvalsstadir that we were kicking ourselves) , I honestly cannot remember a gig in recent memory that we were both so exhilarated by , and the atmosphere plays such a large part of that, that I hope Airwaves can and does use this venue for future events. Although I can accept that there are plenty of bands that play well in spaces that can double as a ‘club space’ there were times where Harpa was dangerously overcrowded, in the UK that amount of people in that small space allocated for the Knife simply would not happen – it was a fire hazard, plain and simple. As we tried to exit people were pushing people over to climb past them and get in, and security did nothing.

Anyway, signing off now. Final airwaves blog finished just shy of 8 weeks post event, bring on 2015, we already have our tickets and accommodation booked for next year. Hoping the organisers listen re: their shortcomings as a few tweaks around capacity and it would be The perfect festival, either way it’s too addictive to miss!