Iceland Airwaves is a 5-day music festival held in Reykjavik each winter. It’s been running since 1999 but this is my first one. I was inspired to come upon hearing that Björk was headlining. I booked. She cancelled. I came anyway. Although there is a good handful of international acts, the vast majority of the approximate 250 bands performing are Icelandic. Of those, I know a more modest handful but I love Iceland, I love music, I love new adventures so good times guaranteed.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that Icelandic music doesn’t really break down into genres and any attempt to do so is futile. It just doesn’t work that way. Even if you were to classify the bands, the audience would defy the definition so there’s really no point.
The first cab of the rank was the not-so-subtlely named Vaginaboys at Húrra in the older part of town. After another largely sleepless night, they woke me right up! They were simultaneously bold and shy, and seemed genuinely humbled by the crowd they drew to watch them perform. An energetic electronic entrée before heading down to Harpa for a sumptuous feast of just my-kind-of-music!
I’ve had a lot to say about my love of Harpa in the past but this was to be my first ever experience of actually attending an event inside its hallowed halls and I wasn’t disappointed. Axel Flóvent struck all my chords with his evocative indie-folk that put me in mind of Asgeir and made me want to cry for the sheer beauty of it.
Vök, a band made up of 3 indie-electro-imps, became an instant festival favourite (and have been on the highest rotation in my collection since). Their very tight performance (not to mention some pretty enthusiastic saxophone) made their music instantly sweet, consumable, digestable and hungry for more.
Agent Fresco supplied and spent the rest of the day’s energy and somehow achieved the magical balance between Karina’s and my musical tastes which is no mean feat. Although Karina and I share a great love of music and attend more gigs than most people we know, unfortunately, we’re usually at opposite ends of the spectrum – Karina likes it loud, heavy and metallic. My sound is more melancholic melodies with a bit of an indie-electronic-folk thing going on. I don’t know that Agent Fresco would answer to any of these names but we were both entranced by the passion of the lead singer, the high-voltage moves of the limber guitarist, and the bass player who was quite the striking-Viking! His guitar looked like a toy in his hands! Electrified and exhausted, we stumbled home to sleep… or at least try to… unsuccessfully.