Sunday, October 23, 2011

iceland airwaves 2011

for one week in october, i lived a dream. ok, maybe that's a bit extreme - but i have wanted to go to iceland airwaves for years and, to be honest, i couldn't believe that finally i was there! for one week, i lived in reykjavik at kex hostel and i immersed myself in all things icelandic. and it has to be said, it has had an effect on me. it seems that i was totally spellbound and, just like pretty much like everyone else who had just had their first trip to the city/country, i definitely hope to be back.

and i really do think it is true - airwaves may just be the best festival i've been to, ever! so much amazingly great music around every corner, in pretty much every nook and cranny. the off-venue gigs are almost worth being in reykjavik for even without an airwaves ticket. our hostel was one of those off-venues and it had gigs all afternoon which - for the first three days - were simultaneously being broadcast via radio in seattle (a great station which i've been listening to since getting back, and you can check out their airwaves shows on their blog). pictured below is johan johansson playing at kex on day #2:

 johan johannsson - iceland airwaves

other off-venues included: a fair few other hostels; a tent behind the back of a restaurant (hressa) - particularly enjoyable there was the morr music afternoon showcase with borko, soley and sin fang (who by the way had the most impressive homemade guitar pedals made out of tin cans!); a rather classy menswear shop (kormakur og skjoldur) beneath a supermarket where i was most pleased to catch snorri helgason and saw a fun set by retro stefson; and even a jewellery shop for a proper diy show by porquesi, with only the band in the shop and everyone watching on the street in the rain (not that i really noticed the rain).

all of these bands are icelandic and none of them i'd seen before in their current guises - but many of i would see again over the course of the festival, if not the bands themselves then members of these bands in other bands! a special mention here goes to maggi magnús magnusson, who i saw playing  four times in the course of one day with borko, sin fang and mr silla - although actually he'd played six times that day - and over the course of the entire festival, he'd have played 16 times! (or maybe that count even got higher in the end??)... he can be spied in the gallery below playing at the end day #2.

so yes, a lot of the band members seem to swop around. and everyone in reykjavik seems to be in a band (or maybe it just feels like that around airwaves time). and by far the best quote i overheard was from a festival goer chatting to a girl of around 10 years old outside reykjavik backpackers hostel after sing for me sandra had just finished: "so... are you in a band yet?"!

orphicoxtra - iceland airwaves

after the end of my first day, i'd seen pretty much 90% icelandic bands, although by the end i had get to see a fair few non-icelandic bands too and there were plenty more i didn't get to see. out of the official venues, i got to most of the big ones (including harpa, the art museum and nasa, where orphicoxtra - pictured above - was snapped), and actually i think my favourite might have been iðnó, maybe because for at least three of the nights we ended hanging out in the upstairs bar, and on one of the nights pretty much all the bands i'd seen that day were in the same room - with members from sin fang, soley and kira kira plus dustin o'halloran and haushka - even one member of sigur ros too. rock and roll tastic. and everyone was happily hanging out with each other and they weren't getting bothered by fans ('cept for one person, i.e. me, who couldn't help chatting to the aforementioned drummer!).

anyway, i think that is quite enough babbling and now here are some photos of the bands i saw (full list is given at the bottom of this post, although i didn't take photos of all these, not least cos my camera gave up the ghost after three days... who forgot to pack her battery re-charger? hmm.)

so that's me (on the left in harpa) signing off for now. maybe i'll be back with a second round of mumblings and meanderings soon. for now, i'll just say to click on this link for my full iceland airwaves set with a random selection of photos and click on the links below (to be added soon) for the individual sets.

edit: to see my 'highlights' blogpost, go here


// a to z (actually b to u) of band shots:

berndsen - iceland airwaves

borko - iceland airwaves

kira kira - iceland airwaves

lockerbie - iceland airwaves

other lives - iceland airwaves

porquesi - iceland airwaves

samaris - iceland airwaves

sin fang - iceland airwaves

snorri helgason - iceland airwaves

team me - iceland airwaves

utidur - iceland airwaves

who knew - iceland airwaves

// icelandic bands seen:
agent fresco


for a minor reflection
helgi jonsson
johann johannsson

kippi kaninus
kira kira
lara runars

mammutmr silla
of monsters and men
olafur arnalds (x2)
porquesi (x3)
retro stefson
samarissin fang (x2)
sing for me sandra
snorri helgason
sudden weather change
who knew utidur

// non-icelandic bands seen:
de staat

dustin o'halloran
gudrid hansdottir
jenny hval

other lives
owen pallett
puzzle muteson
ter haar

team me
treefight for sunlight

and loads more i didn't get to see. maybe next year?!


Sunday, October 09, 2011

little scream // john vanderslice

one week ago today, marianne faithful was in town. she played paradiso, amsterdam. upstairs in the same venue, i went to another show. in the kleine zaal (little room), little scream and john vanderslice played to less than 50 people (the total of both gigs, not separately). this is a crying shame. i didn't think that could happen in a city like amsterdam - but i guess sunday night gigs are sunday night gigs the world over and it is one of those nights of the week when it is hard to get punters along. i dunno. but those of us who were there were treated to a fantastic evening, albeit with things slightly delayed (little scream could only soundcheck during marianne faithful's noiser songs!).

little scream
when i was about 14, i had a penchant for little screams. i'd come home from school and go into the kitchen, stand by the sink and scream. laurel sprengelmeyer (aka little scream) sure knows how to scream in one of the songs - in a very lyrical way of course. and she reminds me of someone - not in her looks or the way she sings, more in her stance/dance i think? i wasn't sure who, but then i thought maybe it was jesse stein (from the luyas) but now i'm not sure...

little scream

little scream

little scream

little scream

john vanderslice
when i saw john vanderslice play two years ago in leeds, twice in the same week i had two separate people tell me he was the loveliest person ever. and it is true. at the amsterdam show, there were some folks who'd been at the berlin show earlier in this tour and he remembered their names and whilst chatting with them merrily after the gig, he said if they were ever in california sometime, to let him know and he'd happily be a personal tour guide. and i was also extended this invite! this was after we had discussed somewhere else in california (carmel-by-the-sea) that he wouldn't actually personally recommend (too pricey). anyway, so yes the gig was wonderful. although not at all as atmospheric as the berlin gig apparently due to the smaller crowd i guess. we still did get the acoustic walkabout bit that JV is well-known for now. smiles all round! :)

john vanderslice

john vanderslice

john vanderslice

john vanderslice