First day of music

On October 13, 2011 by i3art

Wednesday was the first day of the festival. So I picked up my wristband, double checked today’s schedule and went of to the first band.

Iceland Airwaves Day 1


Originally I wasn’t going to see these guys today. I had them planned later on in the festival. But because I didn’t have anything else planned at that time and I didn’t know yet that all the concerts are kept to be just half an hour. So I attended eventually thinking to leave on time to see the next band. But at the first note I heard I knew I was not going to go before this show ended. Really … they blew me away and pulled me back in. The thought of Explosions In The Sky wasn’t far behind. Although they added their own ingredients and went further into that direction. I was surprised by how good they sounded live. The first band was a full hit, already one of my recommendations.

PORQUESÍ – 16:00 Backpackers Reykjavik

When doing my homework for this festival this was one of the first bands I didn’t know and really was eager to hear more of. This time I knew what to expect. I thought. They started were I expected them to be but that was just so you would join on their emotional roller coaster ride. After the second song I was completely hooked up. You could see they were playing from the bottom of their heart. Did I really saw some tears from one of the guitarists? It was a powerful journey that made me long for more. Also this band goes straight to my recommended artists.

Just Another Snake Cult – 17:00 KEX

Not high on my list but still very interested to see: Just Another Snake Cult. It seems to be a one man project but live he is joined by a large group of musicians. It wasn’t my kind of music. If you are in big band sounding sunny music do check them out. They weren’t that tight live and if they would be I would probably be selling them to you.

Samaris – 18:30 KEX

Samaris was a band I just learned to know earlier on the day from a list of bands I had to see. After hearing just one song, Vögguljóð, I definitely wanted to see them. They are a singer, a computer programmer and a clarinet player. I could hear some influences by The Knife, mainly by the doubled voice-effect. Live they didn’t convince me immediately. The computer dude sometimes gave the impression of not doing much, that makes everything feel pre-recorded. When he was waiting for his next thing to do he started playing with his chin. For the record: he definitely was doing many live actions but he has to sell it more :). The rest of the band seemed to be more in the flow of their own music. The last song of their set was Vögguljóð and although the singer stumbled a little bit in the beginning they really caught my ear. A nice ending of an average show. Not a recommendation yet, but definitely a band to keep your eye on for the future.

Lockerbie – 20:50 NASA

A band I also discovered when going trough the festival program. Again a big live band which was good for the positive vibration they tried to send out through the venue. If I have to say one thing that pulled me out of the concert it would be the sometimes lesser quality of the singer. But maybe he had been drinking not enough tea or had been rehearsing to much. For the rest I really enjoyed the performance. Sometimes it made me think of some parts of Sigur Rós’ last tour, big happy sound. But they did add their own post-rock ingredients to it. A band to keep your eye on in the future, they are good now but they will only get better.

Nolo – 21:40 Harpa, Kaldalón

This wasn’t a band originally on my schedule. But they were the ones to play before Sóley and the venues started to get queues so I wanted to be on time. The first track I heard was “Fondu” and made me like them immediately, especially because of the guitar part in that song. But thereafter they tended to lose my ear again with the following songs. They weren’t my cup of tea for most of their songs. But I still was impressed with what sound they produced while only being a two-headed band.

Sóley – 22:30 HARPA, KALDALÓN

My personal highlight of the day. She was one of the first artists I discovered while going through some of the bands attending for the first time. Since then I really got hooked up, played her EP and eventually her freshly released album quite a lot. Especially “Blue Leaves” was my first addiction. On the album is a lot of ambient sound effects besides the main instruments (which is piano and/or guitar and drum). And I wondered what she was going to do with this live. She started with using pre-recorded sounds, based on what you can hear on her album, but they were used differently. Always a big plus for me, bringing some kind of variation different from the album version. Eventually she started to do some “foley” action. Making noise with her mouth, looping them over and over. Then starting to sing layer upon layer. And this switched perfectly with the main singing and piano playing. No pre-recorded sounds anymore. If you add the good drummer, you now this was a brilliant set. Sometimes he dominated the sound but this was rather a mixing problem. Nevertheless this was the biggest highlight of my day. Sóley really was enjoying herself. As she saying that it would be good to do some standup comedy shows. I would be among the first to buy a ticket to this show. She only had 30 minutes so she really did her best to not be talking to much :). But sometimes a joke had slipped trough. Check out all her music.

Dikta – 23:20 Harpa, Norðurljós

Last band for the day was Dikta. I didn’t listen to them for a long time. They sounded nice but sometimes they tended to get too cheesy. Not Coldplay cheesy but in that direction though. They weren’t bad but I was getting tired and I did expect more from this band after listening to some songs while preparing for this trip.

Afterwards I walked a little bit around in Harpa. Björk had here first concert earlier that night in the same building. Besides the entrance of the room where she had played were signs telling that no photography was allowed. So there I had my answer. I was expecting this, to be clear I completely understand it.

When heading to the exit I was addressed by the drummer of Vigri, a band that is also high on my list. He wanted to give me their promo DVD with some of their music videos and some live performance videos. I told him they were already on my personal schedule and that I really liked their new album. Apparently he had come all the way down the big stairs to give me the DVD. This is a great festival if you want to discover new bands, even better the bands want to be discovered themselves even more.

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