From Iceland — So: Who Won Iceland Airwaves 2017?

So: Who Won Iceland Airwaves 2017?

Published November 8, 2017

Photo by
Art Bicnick, Tim Lambrecq, Magnús Andersen, Florian Trykowski

Oh, Airwaves. So much fun, glamour and glitter. So much beer, music, laughter and dancing under flashing lights. So much whirlwind, heat and flash. Every year, it feels like it’s over too soon. Airwaves 2017, we barely knew thee. Here are our writers’ highlights. SPOILERS: it’s Hatari who get the most love, in the end—but it was a close run thing.

John Rogers – Sólveig Matthildur
Sólveig Matthildur blew my mind. Her melancholic gothtronica emerged from clouds of smoke and arterial red lighting; during the finale, she let rose petals fall from her fingers, holding her face and and sinking to her knees, overwhelmed. We were with her every step of the way.

Jenna Mohammed – Hatari
Seeing Hatari was a cathartic experience. Their aesthetic alone caught my attention. They were weird, fascinating, and fun. From the moment they walked on stage—pushing people out of the way to get there—they never broke character, keeping serious and straight faces the entire time. These guys are worth the hype.

Charley Ward – FM Belfast
Aside from the obligatory Hatari nod, one of the highlights of my weekend was bopping up and down to shamelessly cheery pop in the Art Museum while confetti and streamers rained down upon me from the ceiling. It was a pure and joyful experience. Thanks for the serotonin boost, FM Belfast!

Elías Þórsson – Hórmónar
I have to give a shout out to Tófa, but I’m going with power punk girls (and two boys) Hórmónar. Their Friday show at Gaukurinn was off the hook and I had a fucking blast. I got in touch with my inner woman and apparently she’s mad as hell. Riot.

Rex Beckett – ROHT
ROHT’s raucous minimal hardcore is dynamic and melodious in its guttural simplicity, with an onstage connection that delivers a sharp and devastating blow. Shouting their disgust and fury with the world, these songs are tight, fast and fun to rage out to. As punk as it gets.

Greig Robertson – Hórmónar
Seeing Hatari sober made me realise how good they were, because afterwards I felt completely off my nut. Also, being screamed at has never felt better than it did from Hórmónar—hopefully due to their exhilarating stage presence, and not a dip in my self-esteem.

Grayson Del Faro – Lido Pimienta
This year, Lido Pimienta won Airwaves (and my heart). With exquisite percussion, delicate vocals, and a mention of empanadas, her performance was warm, fresh, and memorable. I don’t expect to see Lido in Reykjavík again, but maybe someone can take her suggestion and sell some damn empanadas here?

Alice Demurtas – Songhoy Blues
Walking out of the Songhoy Blues concert, I wished more gigs were like this. I got lost in the crowd between jaw-dropping guitar solos and rhythmic afro beats, dancing, clapping and shaking my head as if bound by a mysterious spell. What would I give to feel such passion again!

Valur Grettisson – Hatari
Three bands caught my attention this festival—all Icelandic. First was the crazy robotic performance of Halldór Eldjárn. Then the weird Post Performance Blues band—original, talented performers driven more by theatre than music. And finally, of course, Hatari—the dark conscience of the soul.

Hannah Jane Cohen – Mighty Bear
Even if I’d seen every band at Airwaves, my favourite still would be Mighty Bear. I’m a sucker for spectacle and Mighty Bear served that up with bizarre samples, ambient soundscapes, screams, and a silver mask to boot. They gave me exactly what I wanted: a fully articulated conceptual performance.

Read our full Airwaves Festival reviews here.

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