Crowd at Harpa by Hörður Sveinsson

The Absolutely, Unquestionably, Very Best Of Airwaves 2013!

We did it again (oops). We did it again. It was a tough one, what with the one hundred thousand bands each playing three shows per night for fifteen consecutive nights at eight thousand venues spread throughout the gargantuan R...
 
 
Sykur by Galina Alexander

Sykur: Being Insane Is A Good Thing!

The lead singer of Sykur, Agnes Björt Andradóttir, is clearly mental. But in a good way.
 
 
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Confusing, Lovely, Twerking, Pre-Flight Entertainment

I will hand it to the six Icelandic guys in wifebeaters known as UMTBS for performing on a very high energy level to a room of full of tired and hungover people, and enjoying doing it. They shredded, they shrieked, they press...
 

 
Sykur by Galina Alexander

Bleeding Money And In Sugar Filled Young Dreams

Kiriyama Family Technically proficient throughout, this young band underpin everything they do with interesting rhythms, the female voice added much needed soul when used. On this showing it seems like the band members were too...
 
 
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Icelandic Soul Is Life Of The Party

The decision to spend the last night of Airwaves at Gamli Gaukurinn was one of the better ones I made over this four-day music bender. Though Gamli was hot and packed and people were by now sweating beer, there was a sense of c...
 

 
Júlía of Oyama, by nickydigital.com

Surf Gaze Tutu Metal

Amsterdam, Sunday, the final night. Passable pub, can’t complain but for the 2k ISK double Jameson. Suggestion: use that money to fix your damn bathroom. Gang Related sported a front line of four with high-strapped electr...
 
 
Samaris at Harpa / Iceland Airwaves

Samaris: The White Swan Performance

For many, Iceland Airwaves is about discovering new and exciting bands and being surprised with performances. My Airwaves experience usually consists of randomly wandering around from venue to venue with very little idea of wha...
 
 
Kraftwerk at Harpa by Alexander Matukhno

Those Magnificent Men in Their Kraftwerk Machine – Harpa Eldborg

It's been over 40 years since they released their first album, and even the oldest songs haven't aged much. Not many bands can say that about their catalogue, especially in the electronic genre.
 

 
soley

Saturday Night Live

SÓLEY At first glance, one would not think Sóley is a very tough person. For her set at Gamla Bíó on Saturday evening, she wore loosely tied pearls, frumpy glasses and her hair tied up in a bun. She looked, frankly, like a ...
 
 
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A Downer Crowd, Icelandic Bro-Hop And Synth Driven Lolita Fantasies

The evening started quietly at Hressingarskálinn on Saturday evening, not a lot of commotion going on as venue opener Jara took the stage.  Being the first one up, she was obviously dealing with a rather tired and stiff cr...
 
 
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Going Out With A Bang

There were eight shows of varying quality and styles showcased at Gamli Gaukurinn on the big Saturday night. First up were Skepna, a rock band that just released a self-titled album. I had listened to said album several times a...
 

 
soley

A Walk On The Mild Side

Just off Laugavegur behind some tall red doors lies Gamla Bíó, a grand seated theatre with a high balcony circle and a spotlit stage. Despite being in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, it feels like a secret somehow; an atmosp...
 
 
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The Big Sleep At Harpa Kaldalón

Kira Kira, an experimental noise band fronted by Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, opened up Harpa Kaldalón with a song I imagine is similar to the sound of a dinosaur being born. Kristín is that girl you went to art school...
 
 
vök

Different Flavours Of Electronic

VÖK Vök is a young band, formed only earlier this year. Already within that short time they’ve managed to win the prestigious Icelandic battle of the bands, Músíktilraunir, after which they recorded and released an EP...
 

 
LEAVES

Too Much Polish, Not Enough Passion – Iðnó pt. 2

No, you don’t need hand gestures to accompany each vocal flourish, and no, you don’t need to tell the crowd to move closer to the stage (pet peeve of mine, that one). And you might want to consider spitting your gum out bef...
 
 
we are wolves

Very Solid! – Iðnó pt. 1

It was an early start at Iðnó on Saturday. The band Vigri went on stage just after seven o’clock and played extremely melodic and well crafted electronic music. The vocal arrangements were nothing short of dazzling and ...
 
 
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Jon Hopkins Destroyed My Face

An unedited conversation about the bands I saw last night, which ended up being a ridiculous amount of fun. Not that surprising considering the night ended with John Hopkins bringing “all the party”, and FM Belfas...
 

 
In The Company Of Men at Amsterdam by Siggi

“Oh, and FOKK YOU MATTI!!!!!” – Amsterdam Pt. 2

IN THE COMPANY OF MEN As I arrive at Amsterdam to do the second part of the METAL NIGHT FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL (and stuff), I meet my compadre Sveinn Birkir who was reviewing part one. “Oh it was OK,” he said. R...
 
 
Kontinuum at Amsterdam by Siggi

Icelandic Metal Is Alive And Well – Amsterdam Pt. 1

Trust The Lies is a young, upcoming metalcore band. They are obviously well rehearsed for the occasion, with all melodic changes delivered without a hitch, and their timings are impeccable. They have a lot of raw power, and pul...
 
 
Mykki Blanco at the Reykjavík Art Museum by Hörður Sveinsson

This Was Special For Mykki Blanco

One of the most notable shows of Airwaves 2013 was about to begin, featuring Nolo, Ghostigital, Mykki Blanco, Gold Panda, and Savages at the Reykjavik Art Museum on Saturday night, and Michael Quattlebaum Jr. aka Mykki Blanco ...
 

 
Pedro Pilatus at Harlem by Simon Zachary Chetrit

“…Then The Bass Came In” – Harlem Pt. 2

Venue impressions: very hand painted, intimate feel. Feels like a lot of DIY loft venues I’ve been to in NY, so mission accomplished I guess. Great stuff to be looking at if one were to be flipping out on hallucinogens, I...
 
 
slow magic

Like Sticking Your Head In Warm Ambient Goo – Harlem Pt. 1

ARNI² Fresh from their blistering set last night (where they apparently played nowt but banging hardcore techno), Árni Grétar and Árni Vector decided to take a different tack this evening by playing a mostly ambient style o...
 
 
Fucked Up at Harpa by Simon Zachary Chetrit

The Norðurljós Is Thoroughly Rocked

APPARAT ORGAN QUARTET Several times during their show, someone in the Apparat Organ Quartet told the crowd, “Apparat loves you!” And we all loved them right back. Apparat Organ Quartet are musical bad-asses, but the...
 

 
KIMONO

Objectivity On Holiday – Gamli Gaukurinn pt. 2

It’s quite a mammoth task to try and cover every single gig that happens at Airwaves, and slip-ups are going to be pretty much inevitable. And a slip-up is what is responsible for me writing this particular review on a ba...
 
 
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Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp – Hressó pt. 2

Sure, I've seen this band play a hundred times before in countless dive bars and various shitholes across the United States, but this is the spirit of Rock and Roll and Dimma are living it. Hard and fast.
 
 
Wistaria at Hressó by Páll Hilmarsson

An Acceptable Night Out In The Cold – Hressó Pt. 1

Sitting down in a booth at Hressó, like so many times before, I raised an eyebrow as a female led group joyfully played through pop songs on stage, smiling from ear to ear – this didn’t sound at all like what I imagined Sv...
 

 
The Balconies at Gamli Gaukurinn by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

A Night Filled With Promise – Gamli Gaukurinn pt. 1

Gamli gaukurinn is a bar with a small stage in one corner. It is in no way perfect, but with the addition of Harpa Concert Hall to the Iceland Airwaves list of venues, I do kind of miss going to shows at these seedier little ve...
 
 
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Colour Me Impressed – Iðnó Part Two

Belgian outfit Girls In Hawaii ran a very tight ship in the packed Iðnó, regularly engaging with the crowd and getting them to swoon from side to side. During their performance, the indie-rock band showed that they had a mul...
 
 
Low Roar at Iðnó by Jim Bennett

The Inexhaustible Indie Venue – Iðnó pt.1

The former half of Iðnó’s Friday line-up was interesting. The night started promptly at eight with a set from Jóhann Kristinsson. His music is in many ways conventional indie rock with creative songwriting performed v...
 

 
Omar Souleyman at Harpa by Simon Zachary Chetrit

An Amazing Evening

You know how dogs sometimes spend so long with their owners that they start to resemble one another? John Grant and Iceland have a similar relationship going on. If there’s ever been a more convincing impression of a Reykjavi...
 
 
retro

Iceland’s Dance Music Scene Is Awesome: Amsterdam Pt. 2

Good Moon Deer have a tough slot. They’re charged with enlivening the purgatorial atmosphere of Amsterdam, with the city alive and jumping just outside of its grubby windows. Headliners are hitting the stage in most venue...
 
 
FKNHNDSM at Harlem by Þórir Bogason

Harlem Hypnosis – Harlem Pt. 2

It's getting really late. It's not late by Reykjavík standards, but it is considering how early everything started this evening. Half the room looks lobotomized, and I'm not sure they know where they are. But at least they kno...
 

 
M-Band at Harlem

Beats, Unnecessary Rhymes And Nightlife – Harlem Part 1

Something about him and his singing style reminded me of Bon Iver - a Bon Raver, if you will. Though his music was created entirely with electronics, M-Band's sound was warm and one could almost imagine him writing it in the co...
 
 
Mariam The Believer at Gamla Bíó by Jim Bennett

‘What’s Wrong With Your Eyes?’ And Other Delights Heard At Gamla Bíó

At Gamla Bíó’s seated concert hall, we show our enthusiasm for a band by gently wobbling in our chairs. Tilbury’s opening performance, however, had the crowd rollicking on their asses like buoys in a storm on Reykjavik’...
 
 
Rökkurró at Harpa by Siggi

Transient Architecture & Songs From The Fringe

So let this be your soundtrack to the after-party. As I began this review I was not entirely sure how to put it all together and to be honest, I am not sure that I entirely do now. Yet somehow this night all worked amazingly ...
 

 
Sísí Ey at the Reykjavík Art Museum by Siggi

Night At The Museum

I don't believe you can underestimate the importance of fun in a live show. It's probably a cliché but if performers look like they're having fun, there's no doubt it rubs off on those around. Of course it takes more than this...
 
 
crowd

Genre Assassination And Schizophrenia: Amsterdam Pt. 1

The first act to show up on stage at Amsterdam on Friday night was Hip-Hop/Reggae producer Nolem. Nolem has been around for years and his production has provided the backbone for various rappers, some of which he invited on to ...
 
 
Sykur at Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

“It’s a Party, You Know?” A Night At Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn

If you play your cards right, on a Friday night during Iceland Airwaves, there are a myriad of fun situations you could find yourself in. I happened to find myself in a positive predicament, chilling in a hotel room with two of...
 

 
Fucked Up by Sebastien Dehesdin

Getting Fucked Up Is A Beautiful Experience

Apparently Björk went to see Omar Souleyman instead. She made the wrong choice.
 
 
múm at Fríkirkjan by Siggi

múm And The Ghost In The Machine

The drums play a key role in múm: they can be organic and primordial, they can resemble the clanking, steam-driven machinery of the Industrial Age, and they can recall the Digital Age, with busy, precise and intricate patterns...
 
 
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Icelandic Hiphop Exists!

Cell 7 is adept at the braggadocio expected of rappers these days, but also demonstrates lyrical depth: "I represent to the fullest, I'm a feminist." As far as the Icelandic acts of the night went, I am pleased to say she was h...
 

 
Northern Lights by Simon Chetrit

Northern Music, Northern Lights

It's only my second day at Airwaves and already I have some solid advice. Icelanders: do not attempt to replicate the music of the African diaspora, especially reggae and hip-hop. You will fail. Miserably and laughably. Be your...
 
 
Anna Von Hausswollf at Gamla Bíó by Siggi

Haunted Halloween and the True Spirit of the North

The atmosphere, the intimacy and the haunting elements of Anna’s voice invoked The North, in capital letters, icy landscapes, Nordic crime drama, isolation, winter depression and all the clichéic notions you probably already...
 
 
Ólafur Arnalds at Harpa by Jim Bennett

Ólafur Arnalds Draws Tears At Harpa Eldborg

The house lights are on in the modern, volcanic red heart of Iceland. Smoke, as though suspended from ethereal fly lines, dissipates over the audience more slowly than the aurora tinting the night sky. It is Airwaves 2013, and ...
 

 
Metz at Harpa by Jim Bennett

Muck Me, I’m Glad We Metz

The lovely Torontonians made sure to shred, rip, tear and murder everything they could in the most efficient manner imaginable with the time allotted to them. And like true Canadians, they politely bade the attendees “a great...
 
 
Quadruplos by Sebastien Dehesdin

Harlem Shakes

Building from fizzling feedback, you can feel ThizOne growing in front of your eyes; quite literally it would appear, as an associate is close at hand providing mutually kaleidoscopic visuals.
 
 
Electric Eye by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

“Hey Jimmay, Gonnae Gie It 27 Geetars????” – Hressó Brings On The Drone, Twang And Strum Of The Six String Beast…

When I arrived  at Hressó, the look of the places was slightly ominous and unwelcoming if I’m being honest. There was hardly anyone there, the place was bloody freezing, and an off-venue band was already setting up to play ...
 

 
Anna Von Hausswollf by Siggi

Music You Can Sit To

As the set continues Hausswolff and her band prove themselves masters of texture, which ranges from ominous, to somber, and finally hopeful. They're not in a hurry to get there though. They know a journey is in the traveling, n...
 
 
No Joy by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

The Choppy Line-Up

Although I deeply respect and understand the urge to push boundaries, there is always an audience to consider. Doing something is not the same as pulling it off.
 
 
Þórir Georg by Páll Hilmarsson

SGs and Lap Steels at Amsterdam

I was proven very wrong very quickly. Caterpillarmen play party music that doesn't take it self too seriously, but do so with so much conviction that it's impossible not to pay attention. This is the band Johnny Triumph would h...
 

 
Jagwar Ma

Genre Explosion At The Art Museum

Dub reggae outfit Ojba Rasta are one of the evening's more interesting - and fun - surprises. While they're ostensibly pushing a sound that will always struggle for relevance in the bigger picture of contemporary music, that's ...
 
 
Hallgrímur Helgason by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

Airwords: Poets Bring Voice to the Party

The Airwords event offered an interesting new angle to Airwaves ’13 by bringing, some of Iceland’s most notable writers to the party.  The event was a mix of readings and music sets.  Harpa Kaldalón was a comfort...
 
 
Yo La Tengo at Harpa Silfurberg by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

Mayhem, The Breakdown Of Law And Order

Perhaps Iceland is not ready for Yo La Tengo, or maybe Yo La Tengo is not fresh enough for the younger generation of Icelanders. Either way, those who stayed were treated to a monster of a set that will stick in their memories ...
 

 
Mammút by Simon Chetrit

Azerrad’s Report: Wednesday

Noted music writer slash Grapevine's guest of honour Michael Azerrad goes wild at Iceland Airwaves 2013, wandering between venues, listening hard and taking notes. For his Wednesday report, he digs on Mammút and Emiliana, and ...
 
 
Retro_Stefson_by_Simon_Chetrit

Vök Storm The Scene At Harpa

First impressions: the venue is really slick. Extremely open, good viewing angles, clean, consistent, clear sound. If we had to lose NASA to get this, well, it still sucks but we got a damn nice venue out of it. This was my fir...
 
 
sindri_eldon_and_the_ways

The Beach Boys In Space And Other Sounds You Might Have Heard At Amsterdam

In a bathroom with no locks, in the basement of the Amsterdam bar, I ran into Elín, the female wonderstorm at the front of the folk band Bellstop. It was an endearing experience where we laughed about what it meant to be an a...
 

 
Dr. Spock by Iona

The Gentle Lineup Upset By Rock N Fucking Roll

All in all, the night had its ups and its down and served very well as a welcome to new guests and first timers. The unexpected addition of Dr. Spock definitely stole the show, however.
 
 
legend-siggi

A Night Of Synths In All Their Forms

First of all, I’ve got to give Metz an honourable mention. I ducked into Bar 11 to see them before heading to my post at Harlem, and they deserve a mention for enticing the first crowd-surf of the weekend. Here’s to...
 
 
bjork_viggosdottir_by_siggi

Sounds Of The Harbor: Yatra Arts Showcases The Gravity And Grace of Static

Harpa Kaldalón rumbled to exquisite electronic life with the opening Yatra Arts showcase. The depth of field within this group of artists is a difficult thing to wrap your head around, and to pull off back to back for six hour...
 

 
Agent Fresco

A Man Sings His Heart Out, The Dreaded Saxophone And More

Basically, I want to hear Högni and Sigga sing at each other for an hour. I’d pay good money for that.