SECOND HALF OF FAKTORÝ UPSTAIRS
By most accounts, the Doldrums were the stand-out band on Thursday. If only they had had the decency to be wherever I was.
But lucky me and lucky us the lucky people crowding the upper floor of Faktorý on Friday because I can’t imagine that any other night had this one beat.
I got in there for the second half, around midnight, and if I must say that if you’re intending on venturing up to the second floor of Faktorý do pack your smelling salts because that sweatbox is not for the faint of heart or weak of knees (this explains the sniffing sounds you’ll hear from the restrooms). The place was jam-packed like a tin of sardines in a Japanese train and if you were lucky enough to make it past the zombie throng at the foot of the stairs you could abandon all hope of getting back in. So it was fortunate that this was one of the best Airwaves nights I’ve experienced so far.
However, it didn’t get off to a good start.
Bendagram from Finland were already on when I came in, brandishing some sort of woebegone ’80s pop music that wouldn’t feel out of place in a straight-to-video detective film playing on a busted VHS in a Siberian laundromat. Heinously boring and to pass the time I started to make a list of things I would rather be doing than listening to this. Here’s as far as I got:
a) Getting a tonsillectomy live on television in some sort of reality show where amateur surgeons work under time constraints in hopes of winning a 1981 Audi 200.
b) Suturing up the genital wounds of a unsedated mongoose following a botched castration on that same reality show
c) Listen to that Of Monsters and Men record all the way through.
Eventually the Bendagrammers melted off the stage in a fog of ennui, no doubt vigorously updating their Tears for Fears fan page as we speak.
Things could only improve and improve they did. Captain Fufanu was next and boy have those teenage lads taken the techno scene over running on unchecked chutzpah and Berlin techno. The son of Einar Örn (of Sugarcubes and Ghostigital fame) seems to have stepped into the role of the frontman and is channeling his dad more and more with each show – ranting and sermonizing the crowd in a flurry. The crowd was eating it up and with half the Icelandic gay community in attendance it didn’t exactly hurt that the boys are quite easy on the eyes. The perma-hip Jón Atli (Hairdoctor) joined them for a song about how he used to have female lady bits but now has male bits…at least that’s what I think he was saying. That was the only time Fufanu lost me in an otherwise killer set.
Somewhere around this point I had one of those great Iceland Airwaves random encounters with an Austrian fella that was shooting the show. We ended up getting locked into one of those typical Airwaves conversations about European stereotypes, human nature, door policy at Berghain, clubs we’ve known and loved and so on (the title of this review comes from me trying to come up with a German band name using only my meager knowledge of the language).
This came in handy as the next band was no other than the Austrian powerstation Elektro Guzzi (named after some type of motorcycle, my new friend informed me). How can I describe the sun-piercing, core-shattering, consciousness-realigning genius that is Elektro Guzzi? It’s a three-piece band with the holy trinity of guitar, bass and drums except they’re a balls-to-the-walls techno band and these three flesh pods with analog instruments have vowed to create a flawless impression of a cold, pristine machine. Kraftwerk immediately springs to mind although there’s something very disorienting about listening to this pounding dance music knowing that the people responsible for it are these three, unassuming, silent men – looking like any pub rock band you’ve ever seen. The only other comparisons I could think of were Trans Am and The Rapture but that doesn’t really tell you that much.
It’s hard to do it justice but I heavily recommend that you check Elektro Guzzi out in a live setting.
I should take this opportunity and mention how much I love the Airwaves app. Me and the Austrian both agree that this is by far the best festival app we’ve seen and the only thing missing would be a way to check into individual locations and see where your friends have checked in. Because it can be hard for our foreign guests to keep track of each other with no local number and a head full of disgusting liquorice shots.
There were two more bands left, but at this time things were starting to get a little melty and the steroid hulk on my left and the coked-out hobbit on my right were getting me a little antsy so I got off the dance floor and moved to the back.
The atmosphere was very German. It felt like it could be a Hamburg or Berlin club, and Gluteus Maximus seemed to be trying their hardest to channel that. The boys were a little too grim-faced and serious for my taste but the music was the only kind that made any sense this late into the night. And strange seeing as Margeir (Gluteus) has been only too happy to take the piss in the past (and with a name like that?). Pretty tender and soulful techno nonetheless from the Gluteususses. Their Airwaves page mentions Trentemöller and that isn’t that far off.
Finally there was Oculus in his trademark light brigade outfit. Deep, throbbing sounds and perfect this part of the night (4am) when people were starting to sway a little ominously in their designer shoes. His Airwaves page says he played at Salon Zur wilden Renate in Berlin, which is funny because I was trying to tell the Austrian guy about the club during the set but couldn’t remember the damn name of the club. It’s a really good club and Oculus is really coming into his own. Check them both out.
That’s all, folks! I hope you had as much fun as I did. See you tomorrow.
The review was originally going to be titled “Kraut-pleasers” but I decided against it. Did I make the right call?