We are always hanging out in downtown Reykjavík (it’s where most of us work and live, you know), so we are fairly familiar with the venues that will be in use for Iceland Airwaves 2010. Lucky you, then, that we would bother to write down short descriptions of all the Airwaves venues, so you can know what to expect when you get there!
But first, a note on dressing for the occasion: You probably want to be all stylish during the festival. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, do note that it can get pretty cold here in Iceland. We do not want you dying of hypothermia or anything. Throughout more than a decade of attending the festival, we have surmised that your smartest bet is to dress in easily removed and stowed away layers. This allows you to stay snug and comfy while venturing between venues, while not overheating when you get in there. Good luck!
Venue, Tryggvagata 22
Venue an Airwaves newcomer (although it was once part of the legendary ‘Gaukurinn’). Love it or hate it, this place has got energy (AKA drunken debauchery), seeping out of every crevice. It might take a while to get a drink at the bar, and expect to have to jostle your way through the dance floor in order to get downstairs to the toilet (this can be an experience in itself). Things get hectic pretty quick once the place fills up and everything goes pop, but then that’s why you came here, eh?
Risið, Tryggvagata 20
Risið is a sports bar and jazz club at the same time, so the regular crowd tends to vary. Generally speaking though, you’ll find finger clicking jazz cats sitting around the huge centre bar come evening time. Risið will be home to a mix of lo-fi, pop and acoustic Airwaves sets this year, so if you’re looking for a venue where you can chill out for a bit and appreciate things at a slightly gentler pace, this could be your surprise WIN.
Sódóma, Tryggvagata 22
Sódóma translates to Sodom, but don’t be misled; there is no more – nor less – sodomy here than in any other bar in town. Climb the dark stairwell and enter a fairly large dance-floor where you can rock, groove, twist and mosh your way through the eclectic range of acts that grace its stage. Beers are moderately priced and there’s a covered smoking balcony for those that are brave enough to try shoving their way there. A trip to the men’s room provides a unique opportunity to piss on the portraits of some banksters too.
Amsterdam, Hafnarstræti 5
Kaffi Amsterdam looks set to be the dark horse of Airwaves 2010. With a regular crowd of rough and ready, hard drinking tough guys (and gals), Amsterdam isn’t your typical Airwaves venue, and probably all the more fun for it. Cheap beer and plenty of space will make many a mosher happy. Expect gritty, sweaty old school rock outs and, if you’re lucky, the odd brawl or three.
Reykjavík Art Museum, Tryggvagata 17
Once a year the Reykjavík Art Museum is transformed into Airwaves’ largest venue. The Museum has seen some of the wildest dancing in town over the years, and its cavernous size and great atmosphere offers you audience-types a real big slice of the Airwaves pie, with a side of posh of course. Drinks are fairly expensive, but after all this is no dingy club and you’re are partying to some of the biggest bands around, so what the heck.
This music venue/nightclub is steady Airwaves favourite. It gets pretty packed but manages to stay on the sane side of madness. On the downside, drinks are pretty expensive, so unless you want to pay a month´s rent in fine wines, best to come prepared (i.e DRUNK) to this front. The ladies room offers a fair amount of elbow shoving and catfights, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re up for some drama.
Another Airwaves newcomer, Apótekið used to be a posh restaurant, then a posh club, then a not-so posh club. Then it was closed, then it got re-opened, then it probably closed again at some point – with varying degrees of poshness involved. This is pretty much the story of every Reykjavík club. The decorations are really nice, and the line-up this year’s sounds great for anyone who wants to shake a leg. So see y’all there!
Iðnó, Vonarstræti 3
This historical theatre by the city pond is a small and charming venue with a nice capacity. Its 19th century chic décor is well reflected in the price of drinks, which are towards the high end of high priced, and when its busy, it can take a little of patience to get one from the teeny bar. Iðnó can be wonderful to experience live music in, provided the place isn’t too crowded, and makes for a very refined Airwaves venue, if refinement if your kind of thing.
Faktorý, Smiðjustígur 6
Formerly known as GRAND ROKK, Faktorý is a colourful venue on two floors, well three if you count the courtyard, where there’s almost as much drinking and drama going on as inside. Faktorý plays its music loud and proud, and gives reasonable value for money on the all-important ISK to beer ratio. Upstairs doesn’t have a huge capacity though, so get there early if you want to get up close and personal with your musical heroes. It gets pretty wild so hang on your hats.
Tjarnarbíó is yet another new house of Airwaves, although the venue itself has been used for various artful endeavours for several decades by now. This small and cosy theatre (excellent for chilling out during a hectic programme) was built in 1913, and used for fishing-industry related purposes until 1942. Since then it’s acted as a cinema, a theatre and a concert venue. Go there for an intimate environment and a taste of classic Reykjavík.
Posted October 12, 2010