The Final Days

On November 5, 2012 by i3art

Saturday started with modern Icelandic folk, Útidúr and Árstíðir. I’ve seen both bands play last year. Actually Útidúr I did not see as the place was packed but I still could hear them play. This time I sat at the front. Útidúr wasn’t that much different as last year. Árstíðir, which was already very good the previous time, performed all the more stronger.

They ended their set with one of my favorites, “Shades”. For which they’ve just released a new video:

Next stop was Sólaris (project by Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason) and Daughter in Fríkirkjan. For sure there was going to be a line for this one. So I went on time. To be honest I’ve even made a detour on my way to the restaurant before. Just to see if there would already be a line. Eventually I ended up with a pretty good seat.

The vibe was already hinting at something special. The front of the church was filled with instruments. When Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason took their places the audience was instantly silent. We took off for an intense ride. When you’re in for modern classical music with a psychedelic edge you should really check them out.

Sólaris was released a few weeks after last year’s Airwaves. Coincidence or not but one day later a birthday present popped-up from the internet: “Medicine” by Daughter. An instant addiction arose (which still exists, almost one year later) and the track went on repeat for the rest of that day.

Beautiful acoustic version of “Medicine”:

I’ve seen Daughter a few months earlier at a summer festival. Which is not the best setting for their very brittle songs. I can not imagine a better place than this wonderful church (nice music has been recorded here). The church was packed but you could hear a needle drop. I expected a lot but we’ve been given more. This was a musical high!

To end the night I went to see Boy. For the third time in the past 6 months. The first time it was only the two girls and the second time they were joined by their full live band. As they were one of the closing bands that night I assumed to see them with the full band. But they chose for the intimate setting. I enjoyed it but their songs are so much better with the full band.

Sunday is always a less filled day here at the festival. I still had several bands on my list I eagerly wanted to see. Two of them where still going to play at KEX in the afternoon. First up was My Bubba & Mi. If you hear their songs for the first time you’ll think they’re from the USA but they from Iceland and Sweden. Apart from their brilliant music they also had a marvelous sense of humor.

During their performance they had a commercial break in which they sing their own jingles. When promoting their album they sang about an ATM around the corner but I couldn’t find that one. As I was out of cash money I could have used one to buy a copy.

Have a taste of their jingles (some are for real products!):

Ásgeir Trausti was up next. As the room was filling up with Icelandic families you knew something good was coming up. To quote KEX’s Facebook-page: “Amazing hit Ásgeir Trausti has the house filled to the brim. There are people standing on people standing on people.”. A few days before also an Icelandic lad, I talked to at the bar in Harpa, tipped me off on this. And once he started I knew who he was. He was the third band I was looking for while waiting for Pascal Pinon at Eldhus earlier this week. I was so pleased to have found him in the end. He brought a large group of musicians along. Together they brought a nice end to my end of the off-venue part of this festival.

Then it was time to get prepared for the biggest name of the festival Sigur Rós. The venue was a good half-an-hour-walk away from the center of the city. Slowly you could see everyone heading out to the big venue. To quote KEX’s page again: “Deserted streets, empty rooms and dead silence in the hallways, then we remembered — Sigur Rós is having a concert.”. The line was already pretty long when I got their. But it was immense by the time I arrived at the door. While we entered the room Hauschka sounded trough the speakers, bringing the right atmosphere. The show started an hour later than announced but once they did … oh boy.

Their set was close to what they have been doing in the past festival tour. Going trough tracks of all their albums. I had hoped to hear them play more from their latest record. But when they kicked in a new song, “Brennisteinn”, I was pleased. It sounded a little bit strange at first but by the end I was completely into it. I love it when a band always keeps trying and succeeding to do new stuff. They wouldn’t be Sigur Rós if they didn’t end with “Popplagið”. The perfect ending to a great festival.

And now I’m sitting in a bookshop, listening to the new Pascal Pinon album in repeat, finishing of this final airwaves report.

Pascal Pinon – Twosomeness:

In the coming days I will head out to see more of Iceland itself. I will try to take some pictures. And if they’re any good I will definitely post them up somewhere on this website.

And now it’s time for another cappuccino. To illustrate my current state, what happens when drinking too much caffeine in a bookshop:

Warmth.