From Iceland — Who's At Iceland Airwaves? My Impressions Of You Guys!

Rebecca Conway
Photo by
Sigurður Ástgeirsson

Watching the audience has always been a huge part of my Airwaves experience. You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she reacts to music, which is why, during concerts, I often find my gaze sliding from the performers to the person next to me. For my first Iceland Airwaves report, I decided to turn my gaze to you, random audience member, in a gesture of supreme appreciation for everything you add to the Airwaves scene.

At the various shows I attended during Airwaves’s first official night, I picked one person to glance at every now and then. I recorded my ‘first’ and ‘second’ impressions of them, because it’s fun to see how people (and my perceptions of them) change throughout a show. So many people are coming and going during the festival that it’s nice to briefly freeze frame those who make Airwaves what it is.

Here are some impressions of just a few of those people.

Audience member #1: during Vaginaboys at Húrra

First Impression: Short bearded boy dances by slowly bending his knees. He holds his beer like a candle and sings the wrong words to the first four songs.

Second Impression: He knows all the words to ‘Elskan af því bara’. I admire the gusto with which he sings them.

Audience member #2: during GKR at Húrra

First Impression: Dark-haired girl in her early twenties spills a can of beer on the ‘Please Do Not Bring Drinks Onstage’ sign, asks me to “lick it up.”

Second Impression: GKR tosses a small box of Corn Pops (or was it Corn Flakes?) into the audience. It strikes her in the head. She visibly swoons.

Audience member #3: during Sturla Atlas at Húrra

First Impression: Tall, bespectacled boy thrusts his hips and pumps his arms in time to the music

Second Impression: The show ends, and he realizes there is a two-foot radius around him. He hangs his head ever so slightly.

Audience member #4: during Reykjavíkurdætur at NASA

First (Re)Impression: Dark-haired girl from GKR reappears – an enduring friendship, perhaps? Either way, I realize second chances really do exist.

Second (Re)Impression: She lightly strokes the back of a security guard who had asked her not to stand in the photo pit.

Audience member #5: during Árstíðir at Harpa

First Impression: Man in beanie stands with his arm draped over his head.

Second Impression: The bright lights wash from band to audience. He has a faint pit stain. He clenches his fist at almost every hook.

Audience member #6: during Gísli Pálmi at NASA

First Impression: Short American boy with a koozie on his beer offers everyone around him a swig of Brennivín. He HAS to see what Icelandic rap is all about.

Second Impression: He grinds on the girl in front of him. She moves to the side. He remains unconcerned.

Audience member #7: during Retro Stefson at NASA

First Impression: The band orders us to face each other for a collective dance-off. Girl on the other side has long red hair. She gets some of it in her mouth as she hops up and down.

Second Impression: Tangle of pale arms, flash of red. I lose sight when someone steps on my foot.

In closing, sincerest thanks for being my friends for a night, random audience members. Please know that any and all judging I do is filled with nothing but love for all these drunken antics, all these sober quirks.

Hope to see you infallibly cool kids again tonight.

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