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Iceland Airwaves: Sunday Night Review – The War on Drugs and The Flaming Lips

It’s Monday and Iceland Airwaves is over.  I must admit I’m absolutely worn out but I’ve had an amazing time and I’m so inspired by all the great bands and musicians I’ve had the privilege of seeing this week.  Last night’s gig at the Vodafone hall was the perfect way to mark the end of the festival. 

The War on Drugs started the show and the crowd loved them. Their low-key indie rock sound eased the audience beautifully into the evening, made me feel good and created a great atmosphere. I can’t wait to listen to some more of their music.

The War on Drugs
© 2014 Matthew Eisman @ Flickr

Then came The Flaming Lips. I had been anticipating this show for months and my expectations were sky high. And yet, this show exceeded them.

Before they started playing, frontman Wayne Coyne could be seen on the stage, modestly helping the stage crew with their undoubtedly vast job of setting up the gig. He was dressed like a 3 year old that demands choosing his own outfit, and somehow he rocked that look.

The show began with a blast. Dozens of large silvery balloons were released into the crowd before Wayne introduced a huge bunch of letter-shaped balloons forming the words “FUCK YEAH ICELAND”. During the first song, the video art was vibrant and fun, there were huge inflated butterflies and a sun dancing on the stage, confetti was everywhere and I was already feeling happier than ever. And this was only the beginning!  Then came the huge plastic bubble in which a very happy looking Wayne Coyne crowdsurfed. Then the vast silver foil cape that Wayne wore and spread across the crowd. Then came the huge inflated Santa, the huge inflated frog and the huge inflated cod dancing on stage. Then some more confetti.

The Flaming Lips
© 2014 Matthew Eisman @ Flickr

Wayne’s stage presence is absolutely charming. He told us how they had seen the northern lights and Björk the night before. He talked about how much Björk has done for the world of music and pleaded for us Icelanders to take good care of her and not to let her walk into some volcano. Sure Wayne, we’ll keep an eye on Björk!

Aside from this madness of a show, the music was just fantastic. They played some of their best known songs like She Don’t Use Jelly and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot. After playing A Spoonful Weighs a Ton, the word ‘love’ echoed until they were off the stage, keeping the audience thrilled as we cheered for more. Their encore was Do You Realize  and they ended the concert with a cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I couldn’t have been more excited if the Beatles themselves had been playing it right in front of me.

This concert was completely amazing.

So the festival is over now and I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand I’m totally exhausted after all the concert-party-madness, and on the other I wish that it could go on forever. I’ll settle with looking forward to next year’s festival and marking it in my calendar. Thank you Airwaves 2014!