After a day of almighty winds trying to sweep every person, vehicle and road sign off into the sea, a night of good, solid, rousing music is what we need to warm us through again, and Þýski Barinn/Deutsche Bar is set to provide just that. Managing to just about stay grounded for long enough to reach the front door, the winter layers are unravelled and we settle in for a night of music that is set to be extremely diverse and extremely interesting.
Kicking off proceedings are local boys Japanese Super Shift and the Future Band, a Reykjavík four piece who mix swirling guitars with passionate vocals and an endearing laid back attitude. Even though they’re filling the venue’s opening slot, they’ve drawn a sizeable crowd, and a crowd which is loving every second of their engaging performance. Calling upon tracks from their debut record ‘Futatsu’, the show is confident, with shoegaze tendencies and riffs abundant. Catchy guitar lines and interesting ideas are the name of the game this evening and despite the early slot, Japanese Super Shift and the Future Band have proved themselves to be a very promising proposition indeed.
Next up is feisty female three piece Nelson Can, who waste no time in letting the audience know exactly what they’re here to do. Howling vocals blast from the speakers from the get go, as chunky bass lines stir and excite a suddenly packed room. Launching into second track ‘Troublemaker’, lead singer Selina Gin and bassist/vocalist Signe Tobiassen unveil some interesting lyrical interplay, their voices bouncing off of each other creating a palpable buzz and excitement amongst their listeners. ‘Apple Pie’ is the unmistakable hit of the trio’s oeuvre, opening up with an irresistible whistled melody before a swaggering bass line takes hold. They round off their set with a new track, ‘Attack’, after which Nelson Can depart the stage having very much won over tonight’s thronging crowd.
Reykjavík stalwart Borko is next up, a prominent local musician having played in bands such as Rúnk and FM Belfast. But it’s Borko, or Björn Kristjánsson, taking to the stage to perform his solo material tonight supported by a six piece band. Revealing a selection of tracks from the new album ‘Born To Be Free’, Borko opens with “Waking Up To Be” a dynamically inspired track, playing with melodic shifts and revelling in harnessing brass led rises and falls. The undisputed highlight of the show is the title track from the new album, a song with a sweeping bass line and an intricate acoustic guitar led melody, and a song that proves why Borko has come to be such an influential member of the Reykjavík music scene.
There’s been a pattern emerging when asking local folks for recommendations as to who we should see at Iceland Airwaves, and that pattern has come in the form of the name ‘Tilbury‘. A clearly much respected local group, the band have pulled in a sizeable crowd and waste no time in unveiling their gentle, atmospheric compositions. As the band move into their second track, ‘Slow Motion Fighter‘, it becomes clear how much heart and soul this band place into each of their tracks, songs which capture the grace of Wilco and the tenderness of Grizzly Bear. Sublime chord progressions and soft three part vocal harmonies fill the room throughout the band’s show, a welcome breath of warm fresh air on an otherwise cold and blustery evening.