From Iceland — Airwaves Saturday Super Review, Pt. 2: Existential Crises and Punk Rock Chaos

Airwaves Saturday Super Review, Pt. 2: Existential Crises and Punk Rock Chaos

Published November 6, 2017

Photo by
Art Bicnick, Timothée Lambrecq and Magnús Andersen

Otherworldly sounds, more existential crises, queues, ADIDAS, and punk rock chaos: it’s the Grapevine’s Airwaves Saturday review, part two.

Charley Ward
I won’t lie: last night it was a struggle to leave my cosy warm home and head out again for a fourth night on the beers. It’s cold AF and I’m starting to think that my body is at least 30% yeast at this point. I skipped a couple of the earlier bands in favour of a cup of tea in bed, then donned a thick jumper and hopped on the bus to Gamla Bíó for Mammút. At least, I thought I was going to watch Mammút. Seems like there was a scheduling error printed on my timetable as instead I was treated to a set by Torres. I’d never heard of these guys before but this was the best scheduling gaff of my life. Torres’ set was the highlight of my Airwaves so far. Mackenzie’s guitar yelled across the room as she screamed and stuttered and quivered on the stage. It was awesome. At the end, her eyes rolled back into her head as she fell to the floor but I just fell in love. New favourite!

Mammút played next instead. I was unsure they could even top what I just saw but they came pretty damn close, if not topping it, with their witchy vibes and euphoric wailing guitars and powerful vocals. So many talented ladies on guitars, I actually could not cope. Second best highlight of the festival for me. Thank God I didn’t stay home! I left as they finished to the sounds of the audience demanding an encore. I would have stayed to watch, but I was already late for the weird and wonderful dj flugvel og geimskip at Hressó. It was just as good as I expected, the otherworldly sounds had everybody enrapt and her accompanying stories about dogs and india et al were delightful. “This is the only dance song in the universe,” she said to introduce one song. “Lucky us!” I did feel pretty lucky to be fair, bopping wildly to some intensely extroverted dreamy dance music under a kaleidoscope of disco lights next to a fibre optic lamp in Iceland. It was very cool, and I was loving life. After this I briefly flirted with GusGus at the Art Museum, but by then I was truly beat, and who needs to watch a bunch of dudes on stage anyway when the women have unequivocally already won the night?

Grayson Del Faro
If you want to know how I’m feeling right now, I can confess that I actually just started to try writing about Sunday night’s Airwaves shows. After sources confirmed that it is in fact still Sunday afternoon, so you can see how I might get such an idea. However, after someone explaining to me how time works, I’ve come to the realisation that that nothing has happened yet on Sunday to write about. See how hard that was? This is not just any Sunday, either. It’s Airwaves Sunday and this is how it begins: bleary eyes, utter confusion, and the slow dawning of an existential crisis.

Since I apparently cannot see into the future, I’ll just rewind instead. Last night ended exactly as it should: Milkywhale. Finally getting a late night time slot, they’re usual explosive beams of pure dance energy were fully reflected dancing, smiling, laughing, loving crowd. And now with crowd surfing! This was a perfect antidote the sloppy, shovey, vaguely aggro crowd losing their goddamn minds at GusGus just beforehand. GusGus, however, were in fine form—or, at least what I could tell from the batty silhouette of Daníel Ágúst swooping around the stage in some kind of cape. Before that was an epic display of completely justifiable, sickeningly tight guitar-pro show-off-ery from Songhoy Blues all the way from literal Timbuktu. Before that, a delicate and moody show from aYia turned Húrra into some kind of witchy synth sabbath. And before that, there was a very important nap. Before that, I believe there was Keto, a British guitarist and singer whose rich, otherworldly voice took me off guard and still haunts me a little at this very moment.

Before that is a blur, because I was very much still drunk from the night before, but I was allegedly seen at Lido Pimiento’s second and only off-venue show. It has also come to my attention that I possibly found her and her drummer afterword, separately, and shamelessly fanboy-gushed at them about how incredible they are. (They’re also in love and that’s fucking perfection). I have a vague, dream-like memory of crying a few very real tears listening to her song “Humano” as I walked to brunch yesterday morning. Or was that tomorrow?

Elías Þórsson
Last night I dreamt that I’d already written my review, but, whatever I’m horribly hungover so let’s do this. At Boston I watched a weird eclectic mix of musicians. It all began with the Faroese Sakaris. Wielding a keytar, my friends and I first thought this act was a joke. But as it went along we started to get it. “Isn’t this just brilliant?” “I love that this guy is doing his thing.” Everybody should join us on the Sakaris bandwagon as we drive towards 80s glory. After he finished, Gunnar Jónsson Collider came on with his deep electro and stoned visuals. Then it was the sweet, theatrical pop stylings of Heiðrik. I couldn’t understand why anyone would book these three back to back, but having talked with them I get it. The concept was insanely likable guys.

After the trio, burger and beers, after that Gamla Bíó. There a girl working for a fashion magazine wanted to take my picture because I was wearing all ADIDAS. And of course she could, ADIDAS is the only fashion that combines German organizational skills with the comfort need to nurse a hangover out of Gerd Müller. Please give me a sponsorship ADIDAS. Anyway. Next up was Mammút. They always bring their A game live, but the show was way too short. Thanks Torres for wasting everyone’s time. Onwards to Michael Kiwanuka. Finally I saw an international act. I wish I hadn’t. Gus Gus played at the Art Museum, and it was pretty dry. But the night ended on a total high on the shoulders of a friend in the middle of a mosh pit at Tófa. Punk on and never stop drinking—that’s how you avoid being hungover.

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