Tag Archives: festival

An Iceland Airwaves ’16 recap…

Well, it’s over.  Another year another massive amount of music, art, and sight seeing crammed into 5 days.  It began with an art show, a toilet museum opening with a Q&A from  John Lydon, and continued with a ton of new music.  On top of that I managed to go beyond my comfort zone and took part in conducting live interviews with bands, and created a few podcasts.

Jason from Zombie Popcorn convinced me to get behind a mic and conduct interviews and podcasts with him.   There were a few hilarious moments, a few cringe worthy moments, but a lot of good dialog with bands and musicians such as Dr. Gunni, Tófa, Milkywhale, and Sóley.  It’s all been compiled nice and neat like over at Zombie Popcorn on an Airwaves page.

I took all the photos in the blog post and you can see all the Airwaves photos here.

drgunni

It all started the night before Iceland Airwaves officially began at Mokka-kaffi.  Dr. Gunni of Bless, S.H. Draumur, Unum, and his own band had an art exhibit opening at the cafe.  It’s his new album, ATVIK, of which he’s only made 18 copies all with acrylic paintings of historic moments in his musical life on the album covers.  The bottom middle photo above is of Dr. Gunni giving the legendary Bubbi Morthens an empty Coke bottle… because that’s what you do apparently.

A new punk museum opened in Iceland.  Housed in an old public toilet the museum gives you the history of punk stall by stall, with memorabilia and pull down headphones so you can sample the goods.  John Lydon, accompanied by Rambo showed up for the opening and participated in a Q&A where he talked about underwear, and questioned if punk was still alive.

One of the great things about Iceland Airwaves is there is always something new, and there is always something for everybody.  In the event you can’t cram it all in at the official shows there will always be extra off-venue gigs throughout the city during the day.  This blog post would turn into a book if I commented on everything I saw so I will stick to highlights for me of new bands and veterans.

First, the new:

tofawideTófa @ 12 Tónar

One of the freshest highlights was Tófa.  The word Tófa is Icelandic for a female blue fox.   An animal that looks sweet and innocent but actually can be vicious and cunning.  And much like their namesake the began with innocent banter about who they are right before blowing out our eardrums and manufacturing mosh pits with their heavy high-spirited sets both off-venue and on.  Even a power outage at Gaukurinn was no match for drum solos and banter. 

30751689975_10580aae98_oMilkywhale is what you get when you cross an upbeat choreographer with a musician from one of the most party-est bands in Iceland.  He was bouncing and smiling behind the decks, she was all over the stage,  belting out while the audience danced away.  Both shows I saw this Airwaves were full of interactions with the crowd breaking down that wall between performers and festival goers.

 

30547700880_6f2d7fb796_oHórmónar is another new band that I was really impressed with.  I actually left PJ Harvey early so that I could catch their gig at Gaukurinn and they ended up being a great way to end the festival.  they were all over the tiny stage and guard rails, with the drummer using a wheel rim and a saxaphone player stuffed in the corner.  It all added to the rough and angry set.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with for next year.

 

30901145791_6b76c20cf6_oLast but not least is Cyber.  Comprised of some of the Reykjavíkurdætur crew, Cyber did aerobics with the crowd, rapped about Daddy issues and Aspen Barbie-world problems, and there was some hugging it out while pretending to pretend they were at prom.  Icelandic hip hop has become rather large over the last few years, and Cyber definitely was my top pick this year for the genre. 

Now for the highlights from the veterans:

This year was FM Belfast’s 10th anniversary playing Airwaves.  I first saw them in 2009-10?? when they closed the festival at NASA. The festival ended with hordes of people dancing and running past us in their underwear.  I have seen this band play small bars in Boston and stadium sized venues in Iceland and every time they leave you sweaty, out of breath, and wanting more of the party.

30189685764_e66540c944_o

Now, 10 years later, they’ve upped their game with confetti-cannons, rolls and rolls of streamers, and costumes galore.  The band revved up the crowd to the point the floors felt as if they were going to give in from the insane crowd jumping up and down.

In an interesting twist of things, two veteran bands I see whenever they play swapped up their stages.  Prins Póló dropped his band and Berndsen added one.  Things are always changing and even established bands like to completely swap things out for the fun of it.

30179335343_61ff4973eb_o

 

Prins Póló was joined by Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson from FM Belfast/Milkywhale/Plúseinn.  Perhaps having less folks on stage led to the heightened party atmosphere and more aggressive vocals and powerful beats.  Svavar was flying all over the stage interacting with the crowd as he sang songs we’ve all come to love.

 

30726050611_2e96855bc4_o

Berndsen on the other hand, showed up with a full band.  He played a lot of the classics, and a few of the new songs from his upcoming album, “Alter Ego.”  The new material still has that 80’s feel, but there’s more of a rock element now.   I’ve dug what I’ve heard so far and can’t wait to get my grubby mits on the full album.  The set ended with a stripped down Berndsen, and the drummer standing on his kit.

 

30771807755_ba96f21e09_oPart of the fun of going to Airwaves a lot is you get to watch bands evolve.  Fufanu is one such band, I’ve been watching them for a few years now and this year was the best I’ve ever seen them.  Their music was tight and on point, the visuals complimented the set, and they filled the Harpa hall with rock quite nicely.  They’ve released a great new video for Sports, and their show superseded my expectations.

 

30716888261_209064206d_o

Vök packed the Reykjavik art museum and their high-octane performance with saxophones, synths, guitars and simulated drums was had the crowd excitedly dancing and singing along.  They seem a lot more at ease on stage and worked as a full rock unit playing a lot of material I actually hadn’t heard yet.

 

 

img_3254And then there was Pink street boys.  I fully admit to having a musical crush on this band.  Their dirty, garage punk rock style is just my type of music and they killed it at Gaukurinn.  The place was packed, and the sweaty horde of festival goers were rocking Their album is a go-to staple for me at home and in commute and I only wish I could see them play live more often.

 

30547786410_5cf249da04_oAnd then there was PJ Harvey.She filled the enormous hall at Valshöllin.  I was not only excited for the chance to see her live, but damned near ecstatic I  was given the opportunity to photograph.  The band entered the stage in marching band style with PJ in the middle playing the saxophone. 

She lined up in formation and once everyone was set moved front and center to begin the show.  While she played a few of her classics, her focus was on the new material.  With band members moving from brass instruments to strings, and her holding on dearly to her saxophone she filled the hall with her quirky style of music.

 

So, yet again another fantastic year at Iceland Airwaves.  All of the photos are mine though the featured image contains the Iceland Airwaves logo as well.  Early bird tickets will be on sale soon so make sure to follow Iceland Airwaves on Facebook and check their website frequently.  If you want a head start on learning about more of the Icelandic bands that may be playing next year, or just want a reminiscent feel for what you saw I suggest you check out Straumur on Facebook and their website.  They compile fantastic playlists mixed with international acts, but a lot of the new Icelandic bands coming out.  Also, follow Iceland Music Export on Facebook as they deliver speedy news on new bands, bands that are touring, and new information about the bands you already love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland Airwaves 2016 coverage

Greetings, so it’s been a crazy time up at Iceland Airwaves this year.  I’ve branched out from my typical ramblings and have been working with Zombie Popcorn, delivering podcasts and interviews.  I am also photographing the concert, and you can follow along at my Facebook page for galleries of each day, or you can view the here:

Head over to Zombie Popcorn to check out our coverage!

Iceland Affair 2015

It’s time again for another Iceland Affair.  This charming Icelandic festival celebrates it’s sixth year on Saturday October 17th.  Nestled in the picturesque towns of Winchester and Norfolk CT, Iceland affair will take over the Winchester center and Infinity Hall for cultural presentations, unique items for sale, food, and a night of music.

During the day Winchester center will play host to multiple presentations, Icelandic horses, food and merchandise.  there will be a silent auction table as well as a slew of products from Lopapeysas (Icelandic sweaters), cakes, soaps and other Icelandic items for sale throughout the event.  There will be Pylsur (Icelandic Hot-dogs) on site, and their free!  They are the best hot dogs you will ever have, in my opinion.

The presenters will lecture on topics such as the science and beauty of the Aurora Borealis, geology of Iceland, Viking lore, ICESAR (Iceland’s search and rescue teams,) Arctic foxes, and there will be a Gyrfalcon, Iceland’s national bird giving a show.  The day festivities are free, and you can learn more about the schedule here

FireandIceNighttime will bring the Fire and Ice concert.  A cozy evening with 5 fantastic Icelandic artists at the Infinity hall in Norfolk, CT.  The artists tend to play together and interact with the crowd making it a rather unique and intimate night of great music, laughter and fun for both the artists and audience.

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir, Svavar Knútur, Sóley, Björn Thoroddsen and Myrra Rós will be gracing the stage this year, all of them veterans of the festival.  Most everyone playing has new material or albums that have been released recently, so I’m envisioning a lot of fresh material will be performed.

The festival typically sells out, and with less than half tickets left I would suggest getting them sooner than later.  Along with the the bands, there are always surprises that pop up during the concert.

IcelandaffairmusicianI’ve put a very brief description and sample of the artists music below:

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir has been a vocal coach to many Icelandic singers over the years.  her command of Jazz is rivaled only by her smooth and strong voice.  No matter what or how she’s singing it’s rare not to be completely sucked in to her songs.

Svavar Knútur is a riot, he not only entertains with great music, but his personality and ability to naturally engage the audience makes for a good time for everyone.  He has a new album out, and so there will be plenty of new material to enjoy.

Sóley has been touring all over, but this will be only one of the few times we on the East coast get to see her this year.  Her new album was so impressive I actually attempted a review on it.  And I can’t wait to hear the new stuff live.

Björn Thoroddsen is a magic man with a guitar, and always puts on a good show with original or highly improvised versions of classic tracks.  Not only does he command complete attention when he’s center stage, but he has this amazing ability to play back up for anyone at any time and not miss a beat.  He never disappoints.

And Myrra Rós, with her haunting vocals and up-beat melodies are just right for an autumn concert.  her new album, “One amongst others” was just released and I really enjoy it.  I can’t wait to hear some of the new material live.

So come get a hot dog, learn about Icelandic culture, and spend the night being entertained by an extremely engaging group of musicians.

Iceland Airwaves 2015

And, the final announcement is out. Almost 230 bands will be at Iceland Airwaves 2015, and while we’ll definitely miss Björk and Mammút, The Airwaves staff have outdone themselves with the roster this year. This is the most bands I have seen yet, 155 of the 230 bands are Icelandic, and they span the spectrum of every genre. Here is the new announcement, Directed, edited and created by the wonderful Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir, Sin Fang once again is credited with the music, and… Now we all know who Gangly is.

Also announced for this year is a festival within a festival. On Sunday, the final night of the festival,the mini-festival called Extreme Chill will happen at the Vodafone Hall. One last hurrah and “laid back” night of music, featuring Hot Chip, Introbeats, dj. flugvél og geimskip, Agent Fresco, Emmsjé Gauti, Sleaford Mods, Úlfur Úlfur and FM Belfast. You can learn more about it here. It’s a fantastic idea, because if you have done Airwaves right, nothing will sound better than only having to go to one place to finish off in musical bliss.

As I did for 2014 and 2013, I’ve listed all of the Icelandic bands playing into loosely divided into genres on this page.  Clicking on their name will open a new tab with the Iceland Airwaves info page for that artist, which includes Soundcloud, Social media links, and a short bio.

This list is just the Icelandic bands playing, if you want to see the full line-up go to the Iceland Airwaves Line-up page.

RocknRoll – Indie Rock – Pop Rock – Rock Rock
Agent Fresco Bárujárn Borko CeaseTone
Dikta Dr. Gunni Elin helena FM Belfast
Fufanu Geislar Hallelewah HAM
Hide your kids Himbrimi Hjaltalín John Grant & the ISO
Just Another Snake Cult kimono Kiriyama Family Klassart
Lára Rúnars Low Roar MAMMÚT Mosi Musik
Mosi Musik Mr. Silla Oyama Red Barnett
Rhytmatik Runar Thorisson Russian.girls Sindri Eldon & the Ways
Teitur Magnússon Toneron Trúboðarnir Valdimar
Var The Vintage Caravan Vio Þórir Georg
Singer/Songwriter – Folk – Blues/Jazz – Composers – Classical
Árstíðir Aurora Axel Flóvent Beebee and the Bluebirds
Brim DALÍ Fura Grúska Babúska
Helgi Valur Hymnalaya Jónas Sen Júníus Meyvant
Justman Lucy in Blue Magnús Leifur Máni Orrason
Markús & The Diversion Sessions  Mógil My Bubba Nordic Affect
Par-Ðar Soffía Björg Sóley TUSK
Þórunn Antonía og Bjarni Ylja
All things Electronica – Dance / DJs / Composers / ambient / ElectroPop / noise
Agzilla Arni Vector Arnljótur Art is Dead
Asonat Auður Berndsen Bistro Boy
Brilliantinus Daveeth dj. Flugvél og geimskip DÖPUR
Dream wife Exos Futuregrapher Gangly
Ghostigital Good Moon Deer Gunnar Jónsson Collider Gus Gus
H.dór Hekla HimBrim Jack Magnet Quintet
Jóhann Eiriksson Jón Ólafsson & Futuregrapher Kiasmos Kippi Kaninus
LaFontaine Lord Pusswhip M-Band Mafama
Mankan Milkywhale Miri Mikael Lind
Mike Hunt Mr. Signout Odinn OHM
Royal Ruxpin Serengeti by President Bongo Skurken
SMURJÓN Snooze infinity Súrefni Sykur
Thor Tonik Ensemble Trptych Vaginaboys
Vök Waage Yagya Yamaho
Young Karin
Punk – Hardcore
Æla Börn Caterpillarmen Grísalappalísa
In the Company of Men Kælan Mikla Muck Pink Street Boys
Skelkur í bringu
All Shades of Metal
Beneath Bubbi Og Dimma Endless Dark Kontinuum
Misþyrming Momentum-Malneirophrenia Severed Sinmara
Svartidauði
Hip-Hop – Rap – Reggae
AmbAdama B-Ruff Cell 7 Cheddy Carter
Emmsjé Gauti Epic Rain Gísli Pálmi Herra Hnetusmjör
Kut Grapje Ojba Rasta Reykjavíkurdætur Shades of Reykjavik
Sturla Atlas Úlfur Úlfur

You can listen to all the bands playing this year via Iceland Airwaves Spotify playlist here:

And here are the previous video announcements:

Video four was Directed, produced, and shot by Máni M Sigfússon, starring Kælan Mikla, with music by Sin Fang:

Video three was produced by Les Frères Stefson, directed and written by, Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson And the banker was Haraldur Ari Stefánsson:

Video two with Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson drumming away as band names float across the screen:

First announcement with Dj. Flugvél og Geimski:

I would suggest getting your tickets sooner than later, especially if you are planning on doing a package you’ll have more hotel options in the beginning now than you will in a month. Typically the festival sells out, but with the line up looking as good as it does this year, I would imagine it will sell out sooner than later. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of “you snooze, you lose”

If you want to see what the past has been like, here is a link to all my Iceland Airwaves related posts.  And here is the link to the Iceland Airwaves Flickr page if you want to see just how fun this festival really is.

Hope to see you there.

Iceland Affair 2014

Icelandaffair

There are times in life when the elements align themselves just right, and the blood sweat and tears of someone creating their dream shines through the end product in such a way that one can’t help but be moved.  That is what happened this past weekend in a beautifully autumn colored town in middle-of-nowhere Connecticut.

This was the 5th year for Iceland Affair, an all day festival consisting of daytime lectures, Icelandic horses, goats, falcons, A lot of Icelandic food, and coffee mugs, let’s not forget the coffee mugs. All of this followed by an Icelandic concert at the very homey and cozy Infinity hall in Norfolk, CT.

gerri

Gerri Griswald is the lady behind Iceland affair, and once you’ve come within 50 feet of her, you can’t help but get swept up with her charming personality, glacier-sized determination and outpouring of love to everyone and everything that helps her put this on year over year. Speaking with her can’t be done without 90% of what’s audible being laughs.  And the sincere love she has for what she’s doing is beyond impressive.

Arriving at the festival I was greeted by people riding Icelandic horses, Lopopeysas (Icelandic sweaters) and other Icelandic merchandise for sale out on the front lawn.  Downstairs from the lectures there were free pylsurs (Icelandic hotdogs), dried fish, and very tasty cakes.  Upstairs from the dining hall, and merch tables was the lecture hall.

Unfortunately due to scheduling and life, I arrived at the festival later in the afternoon, and was only able to hear the last half of Dr. Gunni’s lecture on the history of pop music. Along with other tidbits of Music life in Iceland, Dr. Gunni’s presentation followed his book, Blue Eyed pop, with audio/visual aids and a Q&A with the audience directly afterwards.  A browse around the merchandise, fantastic cake, and a few pylsurs later and off to the concert I went.

flags The concert was at the Infinity hall in Norfolk, CT.  It’s a cozy ornamental building, and the concert hall’s warm woodwork really played into what would be a cozy, intimate gathering.  On their way to their seats, the crowd was given Icelandic flags, and told to wave it during applause as a surprise to the musicians on stage.

I’ve spoken about the ability Icelanders have of including the crowd in their performance.  And Agnes ErnaSnorri Helgason, Svavar Knútur, Lay LowMyrra Rós, Kristjana Stefánsdóttir,  and Bjorn Thoroddsen. fulfilled and exceeded any expectations in that regard as they chatted, joked with, and shared laughs with everyone on or off the stage.  It was a collaborative effort as the musicians took turns at front stage while being supported by the others, all ending with Dr. Gunni’s fart song and a special two-toned tutu wearing host belting out an old classic with the rest of the band.  I also should mention that drums were mostly handled by Myrra’s husband Júlíus, I unfortunately did not catch his last name.

By the end of the concert, the crowd was completely on their feet singing loudly and waving flags furiously, and it seemed that neither the musicians nor the audience wanted it to end, so the party headed downstairs where the musicians talked with and autographed Icelandic flags for people. the lingering about and business of the downstairs made it evident, nobody was in a hurry to leave.

Plans are in the works for next years event, and I would highly suggest you check it out by following the Iceland Affair facebook page throughout the year.  She tends to post videos or updates on the bands that have played, as well as updates on the festival itself.

I have to say that I am glad me and my label got to do our small part to help out on this festival, it’s truly a labor of love for Gerri, and the quality, attitude, and atmosphere created a charming night I won’t soon forget.  I’m already looking forward to seeing what she comes up with for next year.

Icelandic Artists of Airwaves 2014

airwaves14It’s almost time, and tickets are almost gone, so I would suggest getting off your duffer and getting them.  Iceland Airwaves 2014 is around the corner, and of the 215 or so bands performing this year, 145 of them are Icelandic.

I’ve sorted the musicians loosely by genres, very loosely.  Don’t judge, there are a lot of bands that walk the line between categories, but I think I’ve done an alright job of making it easy for you to find something you’ll dig.   Clicking on the band name will take you either to a blog post I’ve done on the musician, or to a page with their music or more info.  To see the full international list of all artists at the festival and for more info, check out the Iceland Airwaves website.  And you can purchases packages for the festival here, at Iceland Air.

Last year’s band list is located here, and if you are new to Airwaves and want to learn more, here is a list of my previous posts on the festival.  Here, you will find my recap posts of last years festival as well.

So here are the Icelandic bands so far:

Electronic / Dance / DJ

Ambátt Árni² Berndsen DADA
Disa dj.flugvél og geimskip DJ Margeir East of my Youth
Exos FM Belfast Fufanu FURA
Futuregrapher Ghostigital HaZar Hermigervill
Housekell Kött Grá Pje Kippi Kaninus LaFontaine
Lily the Kid M-band Nolo Prins Póló
Ruxpin Samaris Skurken Stereo Hypnosis
Sykur Tonik Thor Vök
Yamaho

Experimental / Atmospheric / Non-dance Electronic

Auxpan Einarlndra Gervisykur Good Moon Deer
Kiasmos Krakkkbot Octal Reptilicus
T.V.Thoranna Björnsdóttir & Valtýr Björn Thors Vindva Mei Yagya

Indie Rock / Rock / Disco

1860 Agent Fresco Ásgeir Benny Crespo’s Gang
Bird Boogie Trouble Brain Police CeaseTone
Halleluwah Hide Your Kids Himbrimi Júníus Meyvant
Just Another Snake Cult Kajak Kiriyama Family Lára Rúnars
Leaves Low Roar Lucy in Blue Mafama
Mammút Ourlives Oyama Pétur Ben
Rökkurró Rúnar Þórisson RVK Soundsystem Sin Fang
Sometime Steinar Una Stef Uni Stefson
Útidúr Védís Hervör The Vintage Caravan Vio

Jazz / Folk / Reggae / Singer/songwriter

Amabadama Árstíðir Atónal Blús Geislar
Hafdís Huld Hymnalaya Íkorni Kaleo
Klassart Kría Brekkan Lay Low Moses Hightower
Mr. Silla Mugison My Bubba Ojba Rasta
Ólöf Arnalds Sindri Eldon & The Ways Sísý Ey Snorri Helgason
Sóley Valdimar Var Ylja
Þórir Georg Ylja

Punk / Metal / Hardcore

AMFJ Beneath Börn Conflictions Dimma
Döpur Elín Helena Endless Dark Grísalappalísa In the Company of Men
Kimono Kontinuum Kælan Mikla Mass
Momentum Muck Ophidian I Pink Street Boys
Strigaskór nr 42 Svartidauði

Hip Hop / Rap

Alvia Islandia CELL7 Emmsjé Gauti Epic Rain
Gísli Pálmi IntroBeats Lord Pusswhip Reykjavíkurdætur
Shades of Reykjavik Úlfur Úlfur Young Karen

Other stuffs or really hard to classify

Ásta F Sigurðardóttir – Poet Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl – Poet Icelandic Symphony Orchestra
Inferno-5 Kira Kira – Musician Óbó – Musician
Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir – Poet Sjón -Poet

The Soundcloud playlist for Iceland Airwaves 2014:

New Airwaves Bands

Júlía from Oyama’s green fingers dancing away

Woo-a-hoo.  Another chunk O’ bands have been announced for Airwaves 2014.  And I’m extremely pleased as there are a lot of Icelandic bands I haven’t heard yet, and the ones I have are classic.  So far, there are 61 bands that have been announced, 40 of which are Icelandic.

Click here to go to my updated my Iceland Airwaves page sorted by genre, and now with a new category for the Hardcore and Metal bands.

Non Icelandic bands include Future Islands, Farao, Emilie Nicolas, and The War on Drugs will be closing the festival with the Flaming lips.  Also, Zhala, Spray Paint, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard will be there.

This round of bands goes to the Icelanders though.  There are so many good bands coming, Oyama will be there.  And Rökkurró as well.  Þórir Georg, Kaleo, Endless Dark, Kippi Kaninus, Brain Police, Beneath, Fufanu, Epic Rain, Skurken, AMFJ, Kontinuum, Ophidian I, Var, Atónal Blús, Mafama, Vio, Lucy in Blue and Conflictions as well.

Links to all the Icelandic bands music will be on my Iceland Airwaves page, and you can learn more about the festival here as well as see the entire line up on the Iceland Airwaves official website.  The festival is definitely going to be another goodun!

And I leave you with Þórir Georg’s cover of Heya but Outkast. It’s an oldie, but I love it: