Iceland Airwaves ’16 is here! Everyone at What’s On is so excited and we wanted to share the excitement so we’re going to tell you all about last night’s show. We’re giving you two different perspectives, Gréta will give you the local’s view and Ian is representing fresher eyes because as the Icelandic proverb goes: “Keen is the guest’s eye.” For reviews of the other nights and more, click here!
Saturday night started at Kex hostel where RuGl were playing. This duo of two young women was the perfect way to ease into day four of the festival, with their soft harmonies. I really liked their music, despite being extremely jealous of how good they were for their young age.
Moving on from Kex, we made our way to Gamla bíó for Adia Victoria, a US artist known for her “gothic blues”. First of all, let me just say, from the moment she stepped on stage, I felt a major woman-crush form. Everything about her, from her look to her voice just got to me. That said, there were some technical difficulties, making it a little difficult to hear her.
Adia Victoria was a bonus, because we had actually come to Gamla bíó to catch the artist that followed, Kate Tempest. We were not the only ones excited to see the British rapper, as when her show was starting, the line outside Gamla bíó was stretching out into the street. I think I can safely say that the people who did get to see her were not disappointed; Kate’s show was phenomenal. The beats accompanying her, her complete mastery of her flow of lyrics and, of course, the lyrics themselves completely mesmerised the audience, and I was no exception, she was insanely good! I walked out of the show wanting to change the world, start writing poetry, but most of all, I felt like going straight home to listen to everything Kate Tempest has recorded!
I did manage to keep from going home just yet and instead headed over to Húrra, where Doomsquad was playing. Kate Tempest was a tough act to follow but they managed reasonably well, although I would have preferred to see them a bit earlier in the evening, in order to be able to appreciate them better.
I started with seeing the Icelandic punk band Tófa at Gaukurinn. They had a cheerful presence that contrasted their music’s intensity, balancing out to make an extremely enjoyable atmosphere. After the first song the power was cut from the stage, causing a brief break in the show which gave the audience more time to get to know the band and even a quick yoga session featuring some deep breathing. The power came back on, the concert resumed, and the set was in full swing. With a visible love for the stage, they put on a show that was not only enjoyable to listen to but also a pleasure to watch. A powerful performance by the vocalist spread excitement through the crowd as her level of passion was extremely infectious. This may be one of the most genuine shows I have seen at airwaves and it is so nice when a band just feels this real.
I headed over to Harpa to see a band but realized when I got there that the stage was the one with seats, formed like a lecture hall, and I wasn’t having any of that so I bailed… sorry, band. Next up after that on my list was a group called Crystal Breaks playing some alternative indie rock. They had a chilled sound that resonated well with my mood, with a heavy base driving the lucid synth it was airy in a way that still kept you moving forward.
The last band I saw was Ayia creating electronic soundscapes that were both abstract and linear at the same time. The show was amazing and I now regret not seeing this band at Harpa on a bigger stage the night before. The music was intense and calming at the same time, juxtaposing itself against itself, with soft vocals accompanied by hard electronic notes. The evolution of the set from a slow atmospheric sound to an intense rush was executed with such smoothness that it went unnoticed until I realized I had gone along for the ride. An amazing experience to get lost in, expertly crafted by some of the most talented musicians.