Iceland Airwaves – my kidneys are coping so far!

Hello Airwaves fans! You’ll no doubt be pleased to learn that I’ve made it to my 8th festival of the year and I’ve not given myself kidney failure just yet! (I refer you to the dehydration incident of Kendal Calling..).

Water aid for kidneys

So far we’ve had a little wander round Reykjavik and seen the cutest Peace Protest EVER, with what looked like every 4 year old in the Reykjavik area:

4 year-olds want peace too

…and Bloodgroup who played at Havari. Bloodgroup are a pretty big deal who play danceable cinematic electropop and I’ve been wanting to see them for ages. Havari is an extremely ace record / cool stuff store in downtown Reykjavik, with a capacity of about 50 people.  They were obviously enjoying the gig tons which was just brilliant to watch. I’ll be stalking them down at Nasa tomorrow…

Bloodgroup play Havari

A lot of the off-venue stuff is easier to get into (fewer queues despite it all being free off-venue), and I managed to meet up with Mark from Iceblah and Wim from iloveicelandicmusic at the hresso Ring Lounge for Retro Stefson, who haven’t grabbed me too much on record so far but live were probably the most fun I’ve had at a gig since, well, ages. Firstly, and most significantly, they have a cowbell (always a sign of a band of sheer genius in my book), but not only do they have a cowbell, they haven’t palmed cowbell duties off on the singer or drummer. They have a dedicated cowbell player (who also sings and has a variety of other percussion items which he ably makes full use of). I mentioned this was in addition to the drummer didn’t I? Good. You can never have too much percussion or bass can you? Retro Stefson are full of energy and life and influences from here, there and everywhere, and that’s before we’ve even started on the Adam and the Ants / Bee Gees / Freddie Mercury- influenced 80s disco pop dancing they choreograph the crowd in. Total joy overload.

Retro Stefson

Later on I also managed to meet up with my friends Ed and Klara from the Downtown Hostel (which they told me has very deservedly been rated top hostel in the world for October 2010), and IcelandBob who had gamely volunteered to review bands in Cafe Amsterdam in return for reviewing Nasa tonight. Quite a cunning plan as that means he’ll get a prime spot for the very loud, very chaotic, very sweaty Reykjavik! there.

Queues all over were a problem at the official festival venues, not to mention overcrowding at Venue where I started off the night, so taking the festival initiative I buggered off for the tantalisingly named Weirdcore night at Apótekið and caught Futuregrapher, who I wanted to see purely because he has an awesome name. I was glad I did really as this was one of the most energetic DJs I’ve ever seen, twiddling his knobs while jumping on the table and restraining himself from throwing equipment everywhere in excitement. A definite 10 out of 10 for commitment to the vibe.

I’m currently sitting in a bookshop cafe with free wifi listening to some ace off-venue bands, in the company of some Airwaves glitterati (Lilja from Bloodgroup – or her clone – is sitting 3 tables away on her Mac). Nóra in particular are really rather good, especially as we’ve only come to see them as they’ve the same name as my travelling buddy Katie‘s gran. Which is turning out to be a reasonably reliable basis for picking bands.

Expect more noise / sweat / bassline / dancing anecdotes from the north soon…



Filed under Europe, Festivals, Iceland, Music, Travel

5 responses to “Iceland Airwaves – my kidneys are coping so far!

  1. Dob

    My other Nan is called Ruby. She (and/or her namesakes) do not appear to be playing. Therefore I’m not sure how far this “reasonably reliable basis for picking bands” is going to stretch…?

    P.S. If I said I used to have a dog called ‘Spleen United’, would you think I was weird(er than you do already)?!

  2. Best advice: Pick a venue (other than Venue, that place is a f****ng sauna) early in the night and stick with it. You’ll miss some bands you wanted to see, but you’ll probably discover others you otherwise never would have heard of…

    Say hi to Katie’s gran from us 🙂

    – Frank (Nóra)

    • Cracking! Yeah that’s kind of the plan, queues were better last night though so got to see all sorts of random bands :). I am a tune hound, we will seek stuff out 😉 Have an awesome one, might see you around – Katie says hi from her gran! x

  3. Paul Morricone

    Hey Ellie,

    I am so jealous – Iceland sounds and looks great! Have a lovely time.


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