From Iceland — How To See Thirteen Gigs In One Day Without Even Trying

How To See Thirteen Gigs In One Day Without Even Trying

Published November 6, 2015

Photo by
Hulda Geirsdóttir

I work on Tuesday nights, so this year’s Airwaves didn’t start for me until nine that night, when I made it to Lucky Records off-venue; just in time to see the end of Stafrænn Hákon‘s amazing shoegazy/post-rock show, followed by the self-assured and almost acrobatic set that Endless Dark performed, filled with jumps and stomps. I decided to make up for my lack of shows on Tuesday by catching all the gigs I possibly could on Wednesday, November 4. The rule I set myself was “No prejudice”: I have to check it out if I walk past it.

My first happen-upon was when I was coming from the swimming pool at around noon and heard the lovely and sweet Morning Bear (US), just halfway into their set at Bíó Paradís. I stopped for three songs: excellent act to start the day with. After some cooking and a siesta at home, I went out again. I popped into Laundromat for Milkywhale, just in time to see their last two songs. Very energetic, and a nice voice.

I decided to see Vaginaboys play at Loft Hostel at 16:00, as I was waiting for Godchilla to start a bit later. Vaginaboys live are loads of fun, a bit witty but also sweet. Nicely done and left people wanting more. I still had a little time to kill, so I went to check out Shelita Burke (US) in the Bad Taste record store. I saw her play a wonderful couple of songs, and she turned out to be a wild performer.

Finally it was time for the Godchilla gig I had been waiting for (I’m a hopeless fan of those boys). It seems I turned up way too early at Bar 11, so I got to see the last song of a new Icelandic band called Barbarosa (New wave, cool) and the full set of the Norwegian Sturle Dagsland (full on crazy) before Godchilla went on at 17:30. I have listened to their stuff for a few years, since their Soundcloud-page only had one song on it, and it just seems to get better and better. Dreamy and aggressive at the same time. How is that even possible?

I made a run for it to make it to Bónus to buy dinner before the shop closed and on my way out to get back home I had to pass the haberdashery Herrafataverslun Kormáks og Skjaldar.

Oh, there was a gig going on there too: “Remember the rule, Heiða.”

“But I’m hungry and in a hurry to go home and eat.”

“No, you can’t skip this gig, you have to stop.” So I did, and I obviously loved the gig, having heard the new album by Markús and the Diversion Sessions. It’s really good songwriting, and the band members are excellent. So there I was, holding my Bónus-bag, hungry, but happy.

Living downtown has its perks, and one of them is home-cooking while still getting to all the good gigs on time. After a quick bite I went downstairs to the new venue Kaffi Vinyl to see Börn play. Three girls, one boy, all punky and attitude, backed up by really catchy hooks and a unique voice. Their vocalist has so much feeling in her voice, it’s like she’s pouring her heart out.

Ah, then I had time to squeeze in a rehearsal with my band, Hellvar, and then at ten o’clock we stopped, and my ears hurt, and my eyes wanted to close but nooooooooo. My favorite band, Misþyrming, was playing at Gaukurinn. I had just recently discovered them, and the opportunity to see them live comes rarely as they tour abroad a lot, so it was time to swallow my fatigue, get over my pathetic little human needs of rest and sleep and just go. When has resting actually mattered more than good music, anyway?

Misþyrming did me in, seriously, and I had to pay with ringing ears and a sore neck the day after, but it was worth it. After the gig I flew over to Gamla Bíó. I literally wasn’t touching the pavement, I was so thrilled about the gig I had seen. Æla never fails to please. Even a mediocre Æla-gig is far better than most gigs, and this gig was great—as in “Will live in my memory”-great. As in “This wall in China sure is big”-great! I mean, they had a horse-man on stage who eventually got stark naked. And confetti-bombs. And it was only Wednesday night of Airwaves.

I crawled, rather than walked, out of that one, back to Gaukurinn to see the last band of the night for me: Svartidauði. They were black, dead and loud and it got the best of me.

This is the recipe for how to see thirteen bands in one day, unintentionally, and have a band-practice of your own, too. My ears are pissed off at me, but my heart and my spirit are happy.

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