From Iceland — Aðalsteinn's Friday Night Iceland Airwaves Diary — Looking For a Fight

Aðalsteinn’s Friday Night Iceland Airwaves Diary — Looking For a Fight

Published November 4, 2023

Photo by
Joana Fontinha
Hafsteinn Snær Þorsteinsson

Frikirkjan Friday 3. November 2023

After each song the audience stayed silent in humble reverence.

Hekla‘s mastery of one of the most difficult instruments in the world has long been noted and admired. Looking at her play, you see her weave her art with tiny hand movements. It is in itself a magnificent sight to behold.

But her mastery of her chosen instrument isn’t the whole story. Her compositions play on varying themes of dark drones harmonised with evolving melodies. Intertwined with vibes of menacing sadness. Simply put, it’s wonderful.

It has been exciting to watch her grow since her beginnings and now we will enjoy the journey of her evolution.

Afterwards it was time for something completely different, so I headed over to IA Center for something special. A joyfully delivered high energy party music from Tanzanian party god JJ Paulo. Teaching dances, encouraging to dance with your neighbour, changing costumes, doing flips and dips and drops! Sexy dancing! The works! Amazing.

After perusing the schedule I decided to check in on GKR. He felt angsty to me when I came in but I only caught the tail end of the track before he started his 2016 hit “Morgunmatur,” which is about making himself a bowl of cereal for breakfast and then “doing his thing, doing his thing.” “Tala um” (Talk About) is where he feels the pressure of putting out another hit after the unexpectedly massive success with “Morgunmatur,” while asserting him self towards naysayers by reminding that they don’t know what they talk about, while he does — better than them, he bets.

As with the first hit the locals knew the lyrics and visitors caught on quickly enough to the catchy choruses.

GKR then took a tally of locals vs. visitors which was about 50% out of 25% (30% at best) participation. But once the tracks started the overall dance and response ratio increased to about 89%.

I decided to walk into a random venue and ended up at Gamla bíó and caught a good half of The Haunted Youth. Can’t say I’m a fan, but more in an indifferent kind of way rather than being a bully. This kind of Indie Dream Pop meets Post-rock meets late 80’s pop just isn’t my thing. It’s not them. It’s me.

It’s at this point in the night that I ran into a scheduling conflict. I wanted to see the K-pop brilliance of Balming Tiger — and I did cathch the first 20 minutes or so — but I also really wanted to see Kneecap at Gaukurinn, so I tore myself away from Gamla Bíó and sprinted down the hill only to crash into the mammoth and 100% stationary  Gaukurinn line. By then I had missed the end of Balming Tiger. A conflict that turned into a tragedy. So I decided to check out Fetish at Iðnó.

Here’s the thing. After the melancholy ethereal landscapes of Hekla followed by the happy party fun of JJ Paulo and GKR and Balming Tiger, I needed some angry music and the violent Irish fighting words of Kneecap would have been perfect.

I never really recovered from that let down.

As such, I didn’t have fun at Fetish’s house set. I was glad to see that I seemed to be alone in that because the floor was full and filling more by the second with eager dance enthusiasts.

But all in all it was a fun night. It’s one of my favourite things to do at Iceland Airwaves is to aimlessly visit the venues, see what’s there and discover new music.

Follow along with our Iceland Airwaves 2023 coverage right here.

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