I don’t want to go to sleep either
Forever to be written into Iceland Airwaves history due to the near hurricane conditions, I start the day with Iceland’s current prince of pop, Ásgeir Trausti. This 20-year-old has a debut album to promote, and eight Airwaves shows to get through. His audience seems loyal though, with a group of school kids and Icelandic families turning out in numbers to see him at the Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Marina. He seems to be an Icelandic version of Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Truth be known, I am here to shelter from the ferocious wind whilst having the excellent fish soup for lunch.
Woodpigeon from Canada are next at the Backpackers hostel. So named because of the pleasing way the word ‘Woodpigeon’ looks written down, this chap delivers an astute vocal and acoustic guitar set, but backed up by organic, instant loops. The walk was worth it, despite seeing a roof torn from a building and sea salt stinging my eyes.
Prinspóló play at Restaurant Reykjavík. They don’t take themselves seriously, telling tales of kissing girls with sandwich sauce on their mouths after a night out, and wearing that unnecessary yet trademark hat. All the while they play lo-fi pop which far exceeds their subject matter or the quality suggested by a band named after a Polish chocolate bar.
Seriousness descends on Harpa like the wind has blown it in. Ólafur Arnalds sounds perfect in Norðurljós, a darker, moodier set than Kex yesterday. He is followed by For A Minor Reflection, who do not produce the promised light show collaboration, nor do anything different to the set they have been playing since supporting Sigur Rós on their last tour.
Outside, the storm seems to have worsened, blowing the water from the water features and instantaneously freezing it into sheets of ice. Airwaves organizers sensibly put a bus service together from downtown to Harpa, presumably to prevent wristband holders from being swept into the angry sea.
Seemingly being chased from the U.S. by storms, Exitmusic are next on stage. Featuring Aleska Palladino, best known for being Angela Darmody in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and her husband musician Devon Church, they deliver a polished set reminiscent of Portishead at their darkest. Aleska seduces the microphone whilst Devon and co. produce soundscapes that match the howling, raging storm outside. It seems entirely apt, then, that they play ‘The Sea’ to open, a deep, textured piece that brings its own shivers to listeners.
It’s time for a change of pace, and that comes courtesy of The Eclectic Moniker, a Danish collective that fuse rock with calypso and African sounds, so that they sound somewhere between Miike Snow and Vampire Weekend, but meatier, more danceable and much more, well, Airwaves.
If The Eclectic Moniker started the party, local band FM Belfast took the idea and ran with it, coming over as a cross between Scissor Sisters and an old school rave. No intelligence is required here, just a pair of dancing feet. Rap battles are undertaken, a Happy Mondays style Bez character, glitter guns and stripping down to their underwear proves that this is a pure party band. They might just have got everyone here dancing. If not, they finish with the unofficial Airwaves anthem of ‘I don’t want to go to sleep either.’ They are right, I don’t want to go to sleep either. I’m scared, not of the storm, but that I might miss something.
Edward Hancox - email@example.com