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Saturday Night at Iceland Airwaves 2019 – Grand Finale

Before yesterday came along, I had planned to spend the whole day visiting different venues and listening to whatever they had to offer. That didn‘t really work out since three nights of doing exactly that had taken it’s toll. 

 I ended up having a Bruno Mars-esque lazy day where I didn‘t do anything and it was great. But this was the final night of the festival so naturally I had to make my way out at some point. Before I did though, I looked at the schedule and I was literally getting cold sweats just trying to piece together seeing everything I wanted to see. I would‘ve had to be at about three different places at the same time so it was pretty impossible but I was ready to give it a go.

Auður at the Art Museum // Photography by Berglind Jóhanns

When I did finally get out of the house the first stop was the Art Museum where Auður was about to go on stage.

Auður released an album last year called Afsakanir (Excuses) that was filled with upbeat catchy songs that all delt with heavy subjects such as drug abuse, depression and psychopathy. 

Auður has a great stage presence and wore these glorious, tight, disco pants. If you‘ve ever been to one of his shows before you know that it was only a matter of time before he took his shirt off. Which is absolutely fair as I freely admit I would probably never wear a shirt either if I had a chest like that. Now geared up and ready for the night I made my way to Iðnó where I saw the Rap/R&B artist Aron Can

The crowd at Valshöllin

Aron Can is a hit machine. He‘s thrown out number one singles in Iceland for fun ever since he stormed onto the scene in 2016 with his EP Þekkir Stráginn. The atmosphere in Iðnó was good and Aron Can did well for the most part. I had one issue though with the show as some of the songs had the entire vocals and verses on playback.  It just seemed unnecessary as when there was none he did perfectly fine. I get having the chorus on playback but entire verses is overkill. 

Before going to the Valshöllin to get ready for Of Monsters And Men I had one more stop to make. John Grant was playing in Fríkirkjan which looked to me on paper as the perfect show. John Grant performing in an old and beautiful church? Sign me up. 

I arrived a few minutes late so all the seats were taken but there was plenty of space to sit on the floor. This was the most calming show of them all and I almost felt like I was tucked in a blanket in front of a fireplace. Naturally in the church the sound was beautiful and complimented his voice perfectly. Also everyone kept absolutely quiet. We all understood now was the time to shut up and just listen. 

Nanna Bryndís singer of Of Monsters And Men.

From there it was time to get to Valshöllin. Of Monsters And Men were literally stepping up on the stage and I had to get there as fast as possible. Thankfully Iceland Airwaves had shuttles running from the City Hall to there every few minutes and before going any further I want to commend the festival for all around great planning. Everything ran smoothly, almost every show started right on time and the shuttle worked perfectly and was a neat solution.

But then we get to the grand finale, Of Monsters And Men. I don‘t know any of the members personally but me and OMAM go way back. I used to go to classes with some of them in school, I saw them perform on street corners and on stage in front of a “crowd” of maybe four people. And then in a blink of an eye they were this gigantic powerhouse performing at the biggest festivals in the world and going on sold out world tours. Things changed really quickly.

Members of Of Monsters And Men

They were so very good last night. Their performance last night was pretty much flawless. Every member gave it their all and it felt tangible that they really enjoyed performing in Iceland again. I think we in Iceland have often taken them for granted and not really given them the credit they deserve. Because after seeing their show last night I can safely say they deserve a lot of it.

So to close. Thank you everyone for a great weekend! My first time wont be my last. 

I‘ll be back. Hasta la vista, baby.

Of Monsters and Men on stage at Valshöllin - the start of their world tour

Photography : Berglind Jóhanns


What’s On in Iceland has been covering Iceland Airwaves. Follow this site for recaps, as well as following our Instagram for on-the-go stories that we have added to our ‘Highlights’.

Check out the Friday night recap here.