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 what to expect.
After seeing only the photo published in the Iceland Airwaves app for Samaris, which pictures the band of three as teenaged punk-rockers with goth-like makeup and black clothing, I was surprised by the reality of their performance in Harpa Silfurberg on Wednesday October 30th.
Instead of the hard, gothic sounds their photo implied, I was pleasantly surprised by a much more ethereal, soft, and magical sound. Electronics, clarinet, and vocals combined to make a floaty, alien-like soundscape. The two female members of the band were dressed in white flowing sparkly dresses – adding to the feel that I had just stepped onto the set of the film “Black Swan” – except in this case, the happier, white swan version.
The third song of their set, a remake of another Icelandic band whose name I didn’t quite catch in the crowded room in Silfurberg, was reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood being chased by the wolf through a dance party. The clarinet starts out the song, ethereal and light, as if Little Red Riding Hood is walking through a fog, then suddenly, the rave breaks out and you can envision a dance-party in the foggy forest, with Red & the wolf and all her closest teenage friends coming along to join. The end of the song comes abruptly back to a quiet, slightly depressed downtempo – and it’s pretty clear the wolf got tired of dancing and ate Little Red Riding Hood.
It’s worth noting that for this performance, the band’s clarinet player was absent – and there was another woman filling in who I would have never known wasn’t an original member of the group – as apparently Iceland has a deep bench of musical talent, even the relatively rare clarinet.
All in all, a (positive) surprise, and well worth a listen.
Ziah Fogel attended Iceland Airwaves as part of the illustrious SF Embassy crew. The team has been submitting writing to Grapevine’s Airwaves site over the course of the festival, and there are more to come.