It's what music festivals are for, right?
A bone of contention that often appears between me and my younger friends, particularly female ones, is that I “don’t dance.” Someone floating the idea of going out to dance, as if the dancing itself were the pleasurable activity rather than hearing live music or a DJ at high volume, has roughly the same appeal to me as suggesting that we go hit the sunbeds. It feels alien to me that dancing, to any random tunes that happen to be playing in a bar, would be a fun pastime.
But that doesn’t mean I never dance – quite the contrary. Because when it happens, it’s precipitated by a compulsion so strong that it completely overtakes me. I’ll feel so utterly absorbed in a live show as to become activated on some level that I can’t really neatly define, and will break into a spontaneous combination of rhythmic twitching, shaking, jumping and flailing that takes even me by surprise.
Some people also refer to this mode of physical expression as, I guess, “losing your shit.”
I totally lost my shit twice this Airwaves. Once was at Future Islands, which you can read about here – they played pop music so earnestly heartbroken and intense as to override any former ability to stand still. They played every song I wished for – “Before The Bridge”, “Walking Through That Door”, “Tin Man” and, finally, my absolute favourite in their live set, “Long Flight.” It was perfection.
The second (possibly more dramatic) losing of my shit happened at Ghostigital at Húrra on Sunday night. At a kind of fortuitous moment of “peak drunkenness” – that is, useful disinhibition alongside still-functional coordination – I felt utterly possessed by the raining beats, pulsing synths, jagged zigs and zags of saxophone, and Einar Örn’s impassioned, crazed crowd incitement. Even surrounded by a sea of largely immobile people, I temporarily turned into a bouncing, spinning, cackling DANCING PERSON, freaking out at the band’s ability to capture all the pure chaos and absurdity of being a human animal on a rock spinning through space. I couldn’t stop laughing, and saw the sentiment mirrored in Einar’s wild, rolling eyes. Beauty! Music! Life! Connection! YES!
My companion for the evening later pointed out that I had jumped all over those around me, including my friend Hörður Már from M-Band and Tonik. But wince-worthy incidences of total over excitement are what festivals are for, right? So, along with everyone else recovering from this monumental six-day party, I’ll try not beat myself up about it.
It wasn’t, after all, as bad as the part where my companion said, “hey look, now’s your chance to touch ZebraKatz!”, which I duly did as he walked by in Húrra, much to his confusion as he realised a stranger’s hand was suddenly resting on his shoulder for no reason. The recovery high-five wasn’t as much of a recovery as I’d hoped for, although he did at least laugh.
It also wasn’t as bad as giving the worst high-five of my high-five career on a hungover Sunday morning, when I completely failed to connect with Geoffrey from Prikið’s hand in a kind of pathetic, soul-crushing flop. The girl sitting at the bar just looked on and said, in heavy Icelandic-accented English, “that was horrrrrrrrrible.”
Or as bad as leaving an after-party on Laugavegur and realising the next morning, as I woke up coated in painful bruises, that the homeward taxi had probably traveled less than 500 metres.
Standard Airwaves, I guess. Happy festival, everyone. Time to go to bed for a couple of days. And don’t beat yourself up too much for your own festival antics, eh?
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