First of all, let me apologize if I jumped on you last night at Iceland Airwaves. FM Belfast tends to have that effect on people. Friday night is always my favorite. After a long work week, filled with anticipation it’s just so great to go out and start with the off venues in the afternoon. As I sit here with my second cup of coffee of the night, running on just a couple of hours of sleep I think I should maybe start following my own advice: watch out for the Friday night.
We started out seeing Ezra Furman in the extremely crowded basement of Bar 11. Even though the sound at the venue was terrible they did an awesome job. They’re a talented bunch and connected almost immediately with the crowd, telling jokes between songs. Being a fanboy I went to them after the show and bought a vinyl which Ezra happily signed. One of the best gigs so far.
Next up we went to see Vorhees at Bíó Paradís, I didn’t care much for her music, although it’s always impressive so see a jack of all trades, like Dana Wachs, who played guitar, sang and turned the knobs on the sound mixer – all at the same time. The venue at Bíó Paradís is also very nice and suits well for small concerts.
On we went to Kex Hostel. We’re huge fans of Kex, largely because they always have such a killer line-up in collaboration with the KEXP radio station. We caught the next two acts there, Prins Póló and Kimono. The former always gives you something weird and unusual. However, with all of Kex’s charm, it can be pretty annoying if you don’t get a good spot, so if you’re standing by the kitchen for example, you can forget seeing anything. You can probably guess where we stood. Kimono had a pretty solid set, but I didn’t connect with them that much.
Next up was Mugison in Harpa. Mugison is one of the highest selling artists in Iceland’s history and he happens to have friends who are pretty damn talented musicians! As always, he got the crowd with him instantly, displaying all the variety of songs he’s played, from the slow Icelandic tunes of his latest album Haglél to the heavy rock songs of Mugiboogie. Yeah, as you can hear, I’m a fan.
After Mugison we did a little walk. Saw Farao from Norway in Norðurljós who were excellent and taking in a little La Luz at Iðnó, who were alright. Didn’t care too much for their show but I do think it’s extremely cool to see 4 girls play some heavy rock n’ roll. We need more of that. Then we saw a little Berndsen at Húrra which is always fun. We decided to stick around for a little bit after Berndsen and boy was that a good idea. Shura were next on stage and without having heard a single song they charmed the hell out of us! You can always count on Airwaves to surprise you.
But after Shura it was surely FM Belfast time. They were the only thing I absolutely had to see last night was so I wasn’t going to miss a second. FM Belfast are a funny bunch. When you think about it, it’s built up of one guy Árni Rúnar on the keyboard, and then the rest of the guys do the vocals and keep the party going. We were jumping by the first song. In the second song a person from our group was sitting on somebody’s shoulders and by the third song someone had taken their shirt off. And they played for another hour after that! Was it pretty much the same show I saw last year? Yeah pretty much. Was it equally as freaking fun? Hell yeah! And I’m going back next year!
The winner: FM Belfast. I just love these guys. Ezra Furman gets an honorable mention too.
The loser: The sound at Bar 11 and the Icelandic wind! I almost died.
The surprise: Shura! Easy electro pop, great lead singer, reminiscent of London Grammar, Haim and sometimes Florence and the Machine. Shout out to their Facebook page.