Our ATP Iceland Friday blogging starts…. NOW!
16:55 – Media Hotel, Keflavik – Bob Cluness (BC):
Hi-De-Hi campers! i trust everyone is suitable refreshed today and ready to get right on it. Right now the media hotel is empty and calm as we equip ourselves for another night of music, film and self-abuse as part of ATP Iceland. Now we do admit that the horrendous deluge that came upon Ásbrú yesterday evening did dampen our spirits somewhat. Everyone was soaked to the skin and were pretty much thankful for the night buses to take us back to Reykjavik. My shoes, for example, are still not properly dried off.
But that was yesterday. Today we are prepared! And ready to bring you all the action as it happens. We are also preparing to hope for the best because at 3:30pm this happened….
A MIRACLE! The Sun! THE FUCKING SUN! I can feel the Vitamin D coursing through my veins as we speak…. Also we have realised that quite a few of the artists are staying at this place as well. So perhaps we can dish some dirt for you lucky blighters. Stay tuned on that score… So with that in mind, I’m now about to leave and head over to the main venue to check our BEN FROST and to see if his music can strip paint off the walls at 50 metres….
18:00 – Atlantic Studios – BC:
Ben Frost kicked off the evening with his usual heaving blocks of abstract electronic noise. Helped with two drummers, i dare say Ben looked so much the part of your typical rock star with his lovely hair, black vest and low-slung guitar. He played a set that was pretty much taken from ‘A U R O R A,’ and it was a case of music you could feel as well as hear. It all got a bit too much for one punter who had made the “wise” decision to down a half bottle of vodka and then completely lose his shit by starting a one man mosh pit, until another audience member picked him up and threw him out.
In the end the noise and low bass frequencies was too much for Ben’s PA set up as halfway through his set, his laptop conked out. While we are not sure why this happened, we think that he may have made a n00b mistake on his part by not properly securing his laptop from the noise (Pro tip – Solid state hard drive!). He soldiered on though and in the end did triumph with our brains turned into cheese.
18:36 – Atlantic Studios – Ben Frost – Atli Bollason (AB):
Simply the fact that two guys with drum kits and one dude with a laptop can draw a crowd of 1000 people on a Friday afternoon gives one hope: even in this day and age, noxious tribal noise is attractive.
20:00 Andrews Theatre – BC:
Hebronix at the Andrews Theater was our wild card choice as we had never heard of the band and their music. Although Liam didn’t think that much of it, i rather enjoyed their musical fare. It was very much in the tradition of classic US freak folk from a decade ago (Think Jandek, but with actual melodies!). The singer’s voice was the melodic rock on which low bass notes, guitar drones and double bass slaps, bangs and squeals surrounded themselves. We consoled ourselves with hip flasks of spirits in the dark.
20:36 – Kef City – AB:
The Grapevine totes recommends Thai Keflavík for dinner.
21:10 – Atlantic Studios – Ragnar Egilsson (RE):
Liars put on one of the best live sets I have ever seen at Pukkelpop in 2007. Top 5 of all time kind of stuff. And it’s a strange band. You may find much of their recorded material very tiring or completely unlistenable. But don’t let that stop you. They have a vibe of artsy Shoreditch outrageousness about them. Don’t let that stop you. You catch one song in a live performance and it may sound like dance punk with a thin layer of noise on top, nothing to call home about. Don’t let it stop you. Because there’s something weird that happens at their live shows. Give them a few tracks and they can transform any crowd in any setting into a writhing mass of hypnotized drones. And they’ll be right there with you, the singer swaying back and forth in droning prayer between soft-shoeing like a mentally infirm melange of Beck Hansen and Nick Cave. Could have played more than 7 songs though.
21:30 – DJ Tent – Alda Kravec (AK):
Óli Dóri starts his set. Solid stuff. Always solid stuff from Óli Dóri. Solid and smiley.
22:50 – In parking lot of Andrews Theater, lining up for Low Roar – AK:
AK: We should have brought more beer with us.
Zain: We should have brought several flats, set up shop right here and sold them.
AK: We’d make a killing!
Erik: Immigrant mindset.
Missed Low Roar, but Dascha fills me in.
Dascha: It was like ummff, so good…acoustic guitar mixed with an electronic thing…. he plays these samples of his own voice and is always changing the sound from song to song, so nothing stays the same. He doesn’t get comfortable with just one way, one kind of sound.
Erik: She means experimental.
AK: Thanks Erik, but what would Dascha call it?
Dascha: I would call it indie rock.
22:00 – BC:
One of our writing team, Frímann Frímannsson has decided to forego any writing during the entire weekend and instead decided to do a guerrilla situationalist-style “happening” by taking an old school ghettoblaster and playing a series of tapes outside Atlantic Studios. He drew most of the Paloma Bar crew who were busting moves to some weird unspecified music. He didn’t appreciate us fiddling with the volume controls though.
22:15 – Andrews Theatre – Samaris – AK:
Three person set: girl singing, girl on clarinet and boy mixing electronic stuff on table behind. The singer has a beautiful voice, reminiscent of Björk. We sit down in the packed theater, the vocoder is on but the warm, damp air makes the soft sounds linger even longer. I manage to worm my way into a seat at the front. The music makes everyone comfortable, sunk in their chairs or snug on the floor. I unfurl to the sound. And yet, the singer has a unique stage presence, slightly unsettling. Like a hint of Aspergers. Is it authentic? Do I like it? I think I might.
22:30-23:30 – Atlantic Studios – Slowdive – AK:
Slow and stupendous. This music makes me want to drive through the desert and do a bunch of drugs. From the 90’s? They must have been so ahead of their time.
Rachel Goswell sings with white guitar. Then with tambourine. Then with maracas. Then back to white guitar. At first, I’m prejudiced. Why does she have to wear all the accessories? But when she finishes Machine Gun with the tambourine and perfectly pulls off the maracas in that Pygmalion song, I sense my error.
23:04 – Atlantic Studios – Slowdive – AB:
#dreaminess could easily be the official hashtag of this whole fest.
23:30 – DJ Tent – AK:
Óli Dóri soldiers on.
00:00 – Everywhere – RE:
I said this last year and I’ll say it again in case you weren’t listening – the first person to bring a backpack full of cigarettes is going to make a tidy profit in the festival area. Buy em for 900 krónur – sell em for 1800. You buy yourself a free drink with each sold pack.
01:02 – Atlantic Studios – Portishead – AB:
Modern music desperately needs more scratching. The pleasure of seeing a man breakbeating records on stage (and that spectacle being video-distorted simultaneously) is unbelievable.
01:40 – Portishead – AK:
A puurrrrfect set. There is something so refreshing in how they stay so true to their sound and era and are willing to indulge their audience with all the right classics from Dummy. It was part musical, part historical. An impeccably curated exhibition. I wish Neil Young had done the same.
02:00 – Media Hotel – BC
Ok, no one else has spoken on the brilliance that was PORTISHEAD. they were exceptional, but it was during the encore when they played “We Carry On,” where life came together in all its disgusting glory…. I think there will be better words talking about it tomorrow. Right now I am just looking out of the window at the hotel where we are at , and right now I am thinking to myself…. “I’ve just seen PORTISHEAD live…”…
02:00 – Atlantic Studios – RE:
Fuck Buttons were on far too late considering that a lot of people had to run for the buses before they finished playing (if you want to catch the last 40 minutes of the Reykjavík nightlife then that means grabbing the 3am bus – unless you feel like braving the Keflavík nightlife and their fists of fury). What I managed to catch of their set was a massive disappointment. Dull, repetitive, lacking character, live version of songs didn’t live up to the album stuff. A real pity since I had been dying to hear The Red Wing – a song that’s been on constant rotation in my home for the past 12 months (almost to a day). I had been warned by a friend that their live sets were uneven and the crowd around me did not seem too interested. Either too drunk, not drunk enough, playing with their cell phones or nipping out for cigarettes.
03:15 – On my way to the bus – AB:
Slayer sets from Slowdive, Portishead and Fuck Buttons make a strong case for ATP2014 being the best rock event in Iceland for a very long time. Shit starts on time, coppers give us a break, sound is amazing and the performances extremely inspiring. Author Andri Snær Magnason claims to have written four novels in his head during Portishead’s set.
03:37 – On the bus – AB:
The best performance of the night may have been courtesy of a lad who tore through ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with fervor to a full bus of tired shoegazers who drowsily joined in. After the performance he proclaimed: “I love you fucking Icelandic people, you’re fucking crazy.”
Bus trips to ATP festival provided by Reykjavík Excursions.