Iceland Airwaves ’13 – Sunday

Ok so I may have partied a little too hard yesterday…possibly about the time that photo guru Dennis started getting me Birch flavoured schnapps-esque shots to chase down the pints of organic beer in KEX hostel while I fell deeply in love with a delightful young lady wearing a unicorn costume including tail and corset. Or maybe unicorns don’t wear corsets, I don’t really know as I’ve never met one. Anyway I’m totally knocked out, and when I finally wake up I get knocked out again as my wonderful travelmates took exception to something I may have said or done and have replaced the water in my water bottle with vodka. After belting back about half the contents I realize this and have to have that special internal discussion people have where they have to choose between blacking out and throwing up everywhere. Luckily I could choose an alternative option and I simply went back to bed.
Time passes and I get up again as Dennis is being a pain in the ass by noisily making coffee and annoying me by waking me up to ask if I want any. I mumble something and he goes away again but not before being all friendly and placing a steaming mug of the good stuff by my bed, where I can smell it but not actually reach it. He is not a very nice person really.
Retrobot


mij=Door: Andrew. Foto’s: Dennis
After getting up yet again (again) and eating enough bacon sandwiches to power a small country I walk down to the Cintamani store to see an Icelandic battle of the bands winner Retrobot. I hadn’t checked them out beforehand other than reading somewhere that they may have won Iceland’s premier artist contest back in ’12 so I am extremely pleased when I hear them as they make a vocal-centric electro with electric guitars thrown in to the mix too. Live they are young laughing guys busy doing their thing and amused by the novel location they’re playing in: a clothing store’s window, meaning they can see the people watching them in the street but can only hear the people in the store. Their music is full of the humour they themselves display, quirky and slightly nerdy and dark but above all highly danceable and they clearly love their audience, thanking them over and over (for causing a traffic jam in the road) and inviting everyone to come see their final gig later that evening.
Byrta
Right afterwards its time for a new project containing the delightful Guðrið Hansdóttir, hailing from the Faroe Islands. I’ve had a massive crush on Guðrið ever since I first had the pleasure of seeing her at an off-venue location a couple of Airwaves ago in her incarnation as a singer songwriter, and Dennis never fails to point out to me that he has seen her more often than I have. I’ve struck up a conversation with and American dude and his German girlfriend, both students at the university here -also she’s press like me, working for a German radio station, and they’re both quite shocked when I casually mention that it is my intention of kidnapping Guðrið and taking her back to my castle in Holland, where I live. One of those half-second pauses occur in the conversation and I just watch them decide that I am joking but the American does go as far as to admit she is very cute…earning himself a cold German stare.
Back to the project at hand: it’s called Byrta and is a cooperative work between my crush and the awesome Janus Rasmussen who is also Faroese and besides his many other works a member of Icelandic/Faroese band Bloodgroup. For me it was a bit of a shock, as last time I heard Guðrið play she was all alone and accompanied herself on acoustic guitar. Now she is in a very heavily electro weighted ensemble, complete with backing vocalists (who have dance moves wooo!). Byrta songs are all in Faroese and soundscape-wise they’re immense and redolent of Kate Bush and similar flavours. I really want to like them but they are not dark enough for my tastes, although that could potentially be because I do not speak Faroese and have no idea what she is singing about. Neither she nor Janus clues the audience in either, which is kind of a shame given the massive amount of foreigners present. Me, I like my electro dark and edgy and scary and maybe even a little depressed. I like it played in dark and edgy and scary places full of smoke and lasers and ladies wearing dark clothes. A store’s window does not usually meet those criteria.
Myrra Rós

Dinnertime now and we choose Laundromat because its half way between where we are and Gamli Gaukurinn where we want to be, and the food is pretty decent (try the fresh fruit mixes, they’re seriously amazing). During dinner we joke about how cool it would be if some Icelandic girls would try to pick us up on this last festival day, and then get scared and run away when exactly this threatens to happen thanks to the lovely ladies seated next to us who suddenly take an interest. On the bright side at least we’re really on time for the next couple of acts in the rock temple we escape to.
Of course all this build-up and I will totally fade out after just one act, so I decide to pay attention to Myrra Rós Þrastardóttir (performing as Myrra Rós). I absolutely love this lady: her sense of humour is tremendous and her songs are deep and emotionally mature. Her on-stage persona is very serious, but you can still see both the humour and spiky Icelandicness shine through sometimes when she lets it. Myrra is a singer songwriter who writes very naturally about her life and feelings, and I always experience a deep rush of emotion when she talks about or sings the song she wrote for her young daughter, because then she really, really, shines: today she was all proud mom as she told the audience how happy she was that her daughter had attended a gig, and how proud the little girl was when mommy asked her to help set up the instruments. Audience and myself totally melt of course. In fact a pretty hard-core looking dude in tattoos and accessories is really loving this atmosphere, especially during a track Myrra translates as being about the relationship of brothers. Additionally to the personal work Myrra also performs an Ane Brun cover; I believe it was Rubber and Soul but I freely admit at the time I was struggling with beer, food and tiredness. Luckily this time the travelmates actually arrive in time to save me with more beer and the desire to return to the apartment. Cool man, I can do that. Before I’ve typed everything out it’s going to be like 2 in the morning anyway.

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