From Iceland — Airwaves Saturday: It's OK To Be Sad With sóley

Airwaves Saturday: It’s OK To Be Sad With sóley

Published November 8, 2015

Alexander de Ridder
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Like a lot of fellow Airwaves attendees, I felt myself running out of steam yesterday. The constant waking around, grooving, standing, waiting, dancing, listening… it gets to you. My back hurt, my shoulders hurt, my feet hurt, and the healing power of music didn’t seem to be working when I started my evening at Beebee and the Bluebirds‘ set.

I figured I’d go see sóley—her music has a soothing quality to it, that would surely help. As I walked into Harpa, I noticed the astounding amount of people gathered there, and briefly panicked that I wouldn’t get to see the show I wanted. It’s part of the Airwaves experience, changing your plans last minute based on venues being full and queues. Luckily, I made it into Norðurljós a few songs into her set.

Sóley’s set started off weak, I feel. The audience was kind of in the right mood, but not totally. However, after a few songs, sóley showed off her incredibly funny, personable nature, which is part of why I think her shows are great. While it’s standard for performs to ask people “How are you guys tonight?” during shows, sóley takes that to another level. I forgot all about how tired I was.

“What have you guys been doing in Reykavík,” she wondered. One guy screamed “crying!” and sóley just nodded. “I do that sometimes. Reykjavík is a good city to cry in.” People laugh. “Are you making fun of me? Yes? No? I can’t hear you. We’ll talk after the show. I can hear you, so… So yeah. It’s cool. Sehr Cool.” With a completely straight face, she went on to introduce her next song, One-Eyed Lady, which is “a song about a woman with one eye, who does something stupid.”

The concert really picked up steam after this. The music is great, the atmosphere keeps getting better, and even sóley’s sadder songs didn’t bring down the mood (despite her worrying about it). In fact, right before what is, in my opinion, sóley’s most beautiful and saddest song, she said the funniest thing.

“Thanks so much for buying all our puffins. It makes the economy strong. No, joke, haha. It was…” She turns to her drummer. “Kaldhæðni? …Sarcasm, yeah.”

Then she started playing I’ll Drown, building a song through looped vocals and the occasional piano chord. The song is so powerful, multiple people turned to their best friends or significant others to either have a quick kiss or a cuddle. It was a beautiful moment, and sóley’s way of putting an audience at ease with quips and the semi-awkward banter made it kinda okay to feel sad about the song.

Airwaves isn’t all about happiness and party time. It’s about music, which can be really happy, really sad, or any other emotion. sóley’s show really drove home that that’s okay, and it’s all good. Reykjavík is a good city to cry in.

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