Confirmations & Discoveries

On October 15, 2011 by i3art

We are half way through the festival and there are still loads of bands to see. For the first time I had to puzzle with the schedule to make sure that when the festival is over I’ve seen everything I wanted to see. Here is my report for the third day.

Icelandic Airwaves Day 3

Other Lives – 13:00 KEX

One of the few bands from the US I wanted to see. I had high expectations and they did meet them. I really had to think of the live set they have done for KEXP in August.


Team Me – 14:45 Norræna húsið

Next stop was this Norwegian band from which I started to hear some things a few months ago. And the more I heard their songs the more I wanted to see them perform in real life. Although they only had released their first EP earlier this year they did impress with their live performance. And exactly yesterday their debut album got released.


Ólafur Arnalds – 15:45 Norræna húsið

Finally the first Ólafur Arnalds concert. He is my favorite neo-classical musician. I’ve seen him many times and as he never had disappointed before and I expected nothing less this time. The schedule was a little behind in this venue so the set had to be shortened. And as with the neo-classical concerts the day before, from the first to the last key touched I was moved. Due to the movement in the schedule his assisting string quartet had to leave for another show. (I’ve seen many musicians play in different bands. Eventually I saw a part of this string quartet later on, in the evening, to assist Árstíðir.) Ólafur had time, he didn’t have to go somewhere. And when he was told that he was the last playing that day in this venue he was “threatening” that he will be for much longer :). He would have liked to play even for the rest of the day, he said. I was hoping to hear “Lag fyrir Ömmu” from his Living Room Songs in one of his shows. And that was the last song he chose to play. He brought me back on that cloud I was on the day before. As always I wanted more, but Saturday he’ll be playing in Harpa and I’ll be there as well.

Ólafur Arnalds – Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes.


Útidúr – 17:00 Eymundsson Austurstræti 

The bookshop was packed but I could hear them perfectly from one floor lower. So I stayed at the kaffibar. Where I could enjoy some hot beverages while listening to some sweet music. The band was good. I’m not used to have this kind of constant quality when attending live shows and definitely not at a festival. Again a band that got deeper in my musical brain and will be listened to more often.



As I already was in the bookshop I could as well listen again to Sóley (yes, I’m addicted :)). During Útidúr she was standing next to me at the kaffibar. There is no need to have the artists and public separated here. They may draw some looks but for the rest they are attending concert themselves or they are waiting to go on stage themselves. Again Sóley did a wonderful job. And as the rain only started to drip harder and harder on the glass rooftop the atmosphere only got better.


Vigri – 20:00 Harpa, Norðurljós

Finally I managed to get to a concert for Vigri, as I promised the drummer earlier this week. I listened to their album when they were promoting it on the interwebs. I enjoyed it and was eager to see them here at Airwaves. But they didn’t produce the same sound, the same power you can hear on the record. Maybe because they had been playing many shows earlier this week or because the venue was far from filled. I don’t know, but I was disappointed by the performance. I still have hope for the future but I think they need to tweak their live shows somehow.


Kippi Kaninus – 21:40 Harpa, Kaldalón

This is my discovery of the festival. I recognized most of the artists on the stage from previous concerts and also the male members of Amiina where their. Apparently the computer programmer from Amiina has been busy on his DIY home computer project since 2001. But here they were a band of six performing his computer music: two drummers, bass, guitarist, brass player and Kipi on his laptop. You tend to see these things more and more: music brought live with regular instruments originating out of pure electronic sound. It’s like the soundtrack of Inception, Hans Zimmer also created large parts of the score on machines and afterwards let that sound be covered by a brass section for example. In this case you get some kind of modern jazzy feel. Sometimes I thought this was a live performance of some side project of Flying Lotus. The way they played with rhythm and crazy sounds, coming from the laptop or a electronically modified tuba. The percussionists where so tightly sinked I checked if they didn’t have any wires hanging out of their backs to see if they actually weren’t robots. Kippi has made a few releases but I’m told that they are hard to find, apart from the album “Huggun“. Although I had to pass practically every music store downtown. Apparently he is working on some new stuff so in the nearby future we should be able to easily buy his brilliant music. I can go on and on about what I saw here but I’ll save some for later as I’m going to try to see another show of them on Saterday.


Ólöf Arnalds – 22:30 Harpa, Norðurljós

I haven’t seen Ólöf Arnalds yet live but I read the review when she had played in Belgium and the critics weren’t so nice for her. So I had to see her for myself. She is known for playing many instruments but especially her voice. When I played some of her music for friends of mine some time ago they weren’t very interested, actually more irritated. But here in Iceland they really like her sound. I must say it is impressive what she can do with her voice. It has something folklore to it but still in a modern singer-song writer way. Eventually she was joined by a friend on stage to sing with her a cover of Bob Dylans “Mr. Tambourine Man”. The story goes that when they were children a cassette got stuck in the tape player from their parents car. Because of this they had to listen to that album over and over again. So it would be only right to let her friend, Carla I think it was, to join her. After that Carla stayed on stage and even started playing bass, which is she was able to do so since five days. Both of the girls were really having fun on stage. And that radiated on the crowd. When Ólöf asked the public to harmonically join her singing most of the people did. I had the luck of being surrounded by a few angels, if I may believe my ears (I didn’t look, that might have them made them stop). My best surround sound experience at a concert yet. It was a simple but great show where everyone was having a good time.


Árstíðir – 00:20 Harpa, Kaldalón

For the last show of the day I chose again for something Icelandic folklore based. These days folk music is not always referring only to the folklore part. That’s how I see it though. When you see the cover of this bands album you think that inside is an adventure to a far far away fantastic island. And as Iceland is quite often linked to sagas and myths this kind of music was the best suited thing when thinking about these stories. All six members, which were assisted by the two string players I mentioned earlier, had their own type of voice. And they all knew how to use it at the fullest. Combined with their creative use of their instruments they are welcoming you into their fantastical world. I enjoyed this show very much, didn’t thought I would. The crowd was left behind, wanting more. Nice.


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