The Airwaves ’14 off-venue report:
My word, what a daze. I felt a lasting, dull sensation in my ring finger this morning, almost a muscular latency, having woken up hungover on my mattress, which has been placed on the floor for my optimal comfort. Maybe it’s the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome, I don’t know. As you can imagine, I drank, and drank, and drank yesterday (that was Saturday) (meh, who cares) after some Airwaves fun. Not to the point of becoming a burden on my company, but a pleasant fuzz, a blur, which resided in me until about… I want to say… three in the morning? This morning. As I do, I limped out of bed, made myself some toast with Nutella and put on this record, which is fantastic, by the way.
This weekend I saw some equally good work. Take a moment and share the moment with me, you perv.
The splendor that is Airwaves descended on Reykjavík this week, and with it came all of the revelry. Imagine the most prominent bands… the most beautiful people, the most fun possible.
Now imagine a person nowhere near that shit.
As a dutiful employee of my company, I had other obligations to fulfill this week, but be that as it may, I wanted to experience some fun over the weekend. It doesn’t help that due to a recent trip abroad, I am broke, nor the fact that I lost my wallet two nights ago, but just the same, with the help of nice people, and the blessed creation known as off-venue Airwaves events, I too experienced the magic (star flies overhead, twinkle twinkle*****.) Thank you Airwaves, for putting some other stuff out there for me to enjoy.
FRIDAY, FIRST DAY
The Magic begins on Friday night for me, at around 23:30. After relaxing at home for a bit, I went to Paloma and then, with a new acquaintance and my pal Markus (a partner in crime from other experiences), got shitfaced at a guesthouse—to the point where I think I managed to leave my bike literally in his bedroom (for some inexplicable reason).
I’m not going to mention other stuff about that night, but it was fun. You had to be there, I guess.
SATURDAY, SHITFACED AGAIN
Saturday morning began, shitfaced again, next to Iða. A new friend by my side, I informed whoever would listen that I wanted to see a nice little band called the “Pink Street Boys” at Kex for the KEXP show. Ha ha ha. New friend smirked, creepily.
So we waltzed (waltzed? ugh, I don’t know, some more original way of saying walk that isn’t so commonplace) over to the venue and promptly had some more drinks and coffee. New friends bought all of the drinks. In fact, this whole weekend I didn’t buy one. That was really, really great.
God, this person was amazing. So cool. Unreserved. Uninhibited. Some people make living really worth while. Score one for first world poverty.
After that I met the cool producers from KEXP. I introduced myself to them, and congratulated them for putting on a consistently tasteful and interesting programme. Then I got fucked up by the bands. Here are my notes.
Pink Street Boys at KEX
“haven’t slept since 3. Samuel Clemens is in my face *picture on the wall. trails from the booze. esja. coffee.blinding fashion everywhere. Coffee or beer…baby. Everyone looks perfect. A Norwegian stares at me, maintaining the article of the employee – patron relationship at all times. Pink street begins ..askfsadlfjsdkgdfskj, families having meals. pewtt45p7655487658757$%^%^$#%^ tremolo armed, even the soundcheck rocked. shit in my ears. try eating your potato wedges to this shit. like getting a STEEL tipped BOOT in the face. they have a song called fuck the police. fuck them, fuck everything, fuck, fuck fuck fuck. evil knievel. how can you sit down to this shit? my mouth was wide open. my head was bobbing before the songs. riot music—help help help. i don’t give a shit, i’m going to MOVE. MOVE MOVE. Ahh fuck yeah, fuck yeah, and fatty FLANNEL sweat. I want to throw a fucking chair. devils everywhere. I want dutch camera shots of these guys. so fucking good. i would have jumped in the shot but it was their day in the sun.
When Pink Street Boys came to a close, naturally I found myself imbibing more. And more. And more. After them came Girl Band. Talk about rocking.
All that needs to be said about this band is that you should see them. They rock.
I screamed out things like:
“I WANT TO YOU TO HURT ME.
MAKE ME BLEED YOU ASSHOLES”
and of course, the ever popular,
Because they rock. Seriously. Look at this shit. It’s like taking a nailgun into the inner septum. It’s like murder.
I want to be killed by a band. I want to be ground into a fine powder. I want to be shipped to West Africa along with powdered milk as sustenance for infant Biafrans with Kwashiorkor in 1970. If you can’t floor me, get off the stage and back into the the practice room until you find a way to do so. Thanks Ms. Stratford for refreshing my memory about their existence on Monday morning on my Facebook wall.
Soon my friend and I transgressed our way back to Bravó for Mr. Silla. I feel like an idiot, because frankly I think I lost my notes for her performance (I lose and forget a lot of things in general), but I’ll do my best to recall it from fading memory.”
I found myself sandwiched in a door way, not even quite in the sitting area of Bravó, it was so packed. I walked in by perhaps the second song and just stared. To be throughly honest, I was amazed by what I saw. Silla is a transcendent performer. Sweet, positive, friendly, accessible. She emotes with such clarity in her voice, which has a very precious, very light timbre. I was amazed by the intricacy of her pieces, the sparking, sparkling, crack of electronica enmeshed in a very accessible and rich indie rock. she can truly sing, and, in fact, roars. her hair swishes and sways, carrying her music, causing the crowd to swing along with her. against the pastiche of disco that the light show provided, a sheen of authenticity was apparent. The maturity of her lyrics, evinced by their lack of sophomoric pretension and ability to carry great feeling, (look no further than the track “Walking”) demonstrates that she is truly a musician’s musician that has stripped herself bare of lesser qualities. Add to that an enthusiasm by how well the chord changes were worked out in her songwriting, emitted through a gorgeous Fender, and you have a portrait of a real musician. One of the fucking best. She also knows how to rock an outfit.
On a personal note, having subjected Silla to some of my, to put it mildly, aberrant, behavior in the past, it was nice to see to what degrees and extents a persons warmheartedness and kindness can be realised through their art. Silla, my hat’s off to you.
After this event, I attended Brain Police Off-Venue at Dillon. Talk about rocking.
All that needs to be said about this band is that you should see them. They rock, 2x.
On Sunday I was tired, as I spent Saturday night watching a Lars Von Trier movie. I woke up and decided to catch Futuregrapher, Tanya Pollock and Einar Indra at Eymundsson with a new friend I’ve made from the Netherlands after we stopped at Babalú for some coffee. Thankfully, I saved these notes on my phone.
“A man I have written a lot about. unpretentious, the tone of the microphone, isolated, is pleasant, especially when speaking poetry acquired at Kolaportið. His poems highlight his music, and are not a crutch. Love the pants. Passion in his sways, and furious intensity in his face. Hand movements establish personal contact with the listener.”
Tanya Pollock notes
“the nuances of her programming attract me. she never allows her music to be boring. beautiful subbass. she knows the importance of spacing. my knee kills. the girl left. there is a sternness in her face. pensiveness, she looks exhausted. why aren’t there more female idm programmers? in her motions I see a motherly quality. she has a marvelous, well rounded sound which isn’t limited to the exhausted moog/massive vst preset tropes found in most daw produced music. there are bells, chimes, heavy reverbs. it works. i love the trap snare rolls. kids are drawing on the floor. a healthy turnout. even I was bobbing my head. to imagine a picture for this music, imagine the opening of melancholia by lars von trier. against the grey of reykjavik and the transfixion on some audience members faces, I would say that she has long since found her place as an artist. transported by this music, I feel like I’m deep within subduction zonage. Abyss. Deep in the abyss. Her nondescript mannerisms produce mystery to this work. she is just cool. the non reliance on an ostentatious stage presence works hugely to her advantage. hers is a subtle cool, a coolness that ossifies into austurstraeti around her, a rich ephemera, blue, grey, obsidian. i was freed.”
Perhaps my new favorite band. “Men looking on, stoically. Such beautiful guitars. Subtlety is the name of the game. There is a warmth to Einar’s voice. The bass works. this is sensual music. stargazing music. I love the mechanical abruptness of some sample patches. I love the feedbacking, harmonica, almost muddy waters like. They know Spacing. Spacing. Spacing. this is music for the railcar traversing through the low countries, or france, or anywhere in western europe. amazing. if king crimson were an icelandic ambient band, this could be them. these folks were just being themselves, and it worked. everyone in the audience is staring at them. truly beautiful work, i almost cried. subtle, darker harmonies. Yes 🙂 the reflections of the crowd are priceless.”
After good times at that venue, it was onward to Mosi Musik, and to the conclusion of my Off-Venuing. Here are my notes from their pleasant performance.
“Emotive, passionate singing. fun, upbeat, danceable…fashionable. this is epic, power disco. this is genuinely good. arnar is definitely one of the best drummers in reykjavik”
…But then that’s it for me. Sorry for the anticlimax. Yep, as quickly as it began, it ended. ♪ Back to life, back to reality ♪. My pal Bob said at Hressó something about having a real life to live whilst all of this Airwaves was happening, with actual responsibilities. For a few days, at least, it was nice to relive some ♪Glory Days♪.
With that cessation of amusements came an overwhelming, almost dreadful feeling that I myself need to get my shit together and release something, something good, soon. Something good enough to spark the imaginations of the Icelandic cultural cognoscenti enough to really deserve a place at Airwaves, not simply to allow nepotism to run its course. It’s a high honor in this culture to play at this festival, and for all of you out there who feel… dare I say, inspired by it, I say, go forth as the Minutemen did, DIY, econo-line, make that shit happen in your bedrooms, on your iPhones, in your notebooks, on bathroom walls, in practice rooms, in hospital beds, on the sofa, in the basement, in bed with your lover for the night after talking for twenty minutes at a nameless 101 bar, and maybe we’ll meet up one day at a concert along the way.
Let me take a deep breath, a glass of water, and put on the voice of some incredibly learned sounding, authoritative Briton from the previous century. Some Dylan Thomas shit. Here goes. “And so ended my time within the Airwaves.” This year was a relaxed affair, and I’m glad about that. I spent it with friends, had fun, and in the end, had a great time. Thanks to everyone who helped put this on. Now, it’s back to the day job, and patiently waiting for Airwaves 2015.
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