Published November 20, 2015
With that hectic Iceland Airwaves week still simmering in our hearts, we feel obligated to bring you a list of the top acts we saw at the festival. Here they are, in no particular order.
This one-man funk assembly line rocked our guts out at his show at Gamla Bíó on Airwaves Thursday. Dressed in white silk pyjamas and sporting a matching guitar, he produced fractured beats, rubbery bass and sensual guitar licks that got us dancing like it was 1983, and we were at a party at Rick James’s house.
The hardest and most punk rock thing we saw this Airwaves was hip-hop duet Ho99o9. Sporting creepy facemasks, rapping over horror-flick beats, the twosome emitted more energy than a nuclear power plant—there was a riot going on at that Nasa stage.
This Canadian future-pop band played a solid set Friday night at Gaukurinn to a full house of revellers. Their dirty guitar riffs mixed perfectly with tunefulness melodies from vocalist Jasmyn Burke.
Ariel Pink is a dedicated weirdo in the best possible sense, as was evident throughout his set at Silfurberg. He rambled all over the stage like a hip hobo while his awesome band perfectly performed his left-field, psychedelic pop.
Rapper Gaukur, GKR, owned Airwaves’s first night. GKR has slowly been building a buzz with his sincere lyrics and kickass beats in the months preceding the festival, and his performance at Húrra felt like a triumphant victory lap. During his song “Morgunmatur” (“Breakfast”) he even threw small packages of cereals to the pumped-up crowd.
Good Moon Deer
The visually weirdest set at Airwaves came in the form of local one-man band Good Moon Deer. His music can be classified as progressive electronica, somewhere right in the middle between hip hop and techno. For his Airwaves set at Harpa, he brought a ten-person dance troupe, utilising stuff like a milk pitcher, a giant flag, and a traffic cone in the very out-there modern dance show he staged.
Spanish teenage punkers Mourn (they’re all aged 18 and under) rocked the house at Iðnó on Saturday night. They looked and sounded fearless, busting out one beautifully written punk anthem after the other.
At Kaldalón, early Saturday night, Canadian folk singer Andy Shauf, backed by a band of skilled musicians, presented what could be called a perfect combination of Elliott Smith and Kurt Vile. The show’s highlight, “Jenny Come Back To Me,” made for a real goosebump moment.
The nerdy British electro poppers played their forth show in Iceland, this time closing the festival that brought them here in the first place. And they have yet to disappoint. The Hot Chip machine was firing on all cylinders at the Vodafone Hall that Sunday night, the crowd jumping along in unison, exuding pure, uninterrupted joy.
Óli Dóri and Davíð Roach document the local music scene and help people discover new music at www.straum.is. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.