Tag Archives: Zola Jesus

Iceland Airwaves recap part 3- the rest

So now that I’ve covered the new bands I was excited to see, and the bands I always look forward to seeing,  I can discuss the rest of the festival. This year there was a lot of Pylsa eating, beer and vodka consumption, and Northern lights!  until this last trip, I have never seen the Northern lights, so this definitely was a treat, and one I actually just enjoyed, without snapping a pic.

Really, there were only two non-Icelandic must sees for me, Anna Von Hausswolff and Zola Jesus.  I went out of my way to make sure I was going to see both, and with the packed crowd I lucked out that Samaris was right before the Anna Von Hausswolff show at Gamla Bíó.  micsingAnna Von Hausswollf, put on an incredibly haunting performance.   she and the band with their intense harmonization and emotional drumming was just as amazing as I expected.  The venue was so packed I was surprised NOT to see people hanging from the rafters, but I may have missed them from not being able to look up for fear of stepping on someone below.  It certainly was packed, and the onslaught of photographers in the beginning did not help with the crowded situation.

And this brings up one of the few issues I had with Airwaves this year, the aggressive photographers.  Not all were this aggressive, but there were a few who went completely overboard to get a pretty picture.  Boom goes the camera flashI applaud the quick and stern email Airwaves sent out after this reminding photographers that the festival is for all people attending, not just the press, and that it was absolutely not OK to use a flash directly into the face of performers, but until this email, it was common to see this happening to artists and the crowd:

This picture was the beginning of the Show, as you can see, even the artist is flinching away from the insanely close use of a flash, and the amount of people using it.  And unfortunately, if you were in the first couple of rows, a line of photog-ass was your view.   The lighting made for a tough show to shoot, But as this picture shows, these guys were insane with trying and they continued through almost two complete songs. Stopping only after a certain fan of Anna’s, out of awe of her music I’m sure, climbed on stage and proclaimed her love for the music by laying down right next to Anna’s keys and flashing metal signs.

Kimono at Bar 11

Kimono at Bar 11

AlisonK

Alison from Kimono at Gamli Gaukurinn

Kimono, oh dear sweet Kimono.  I admit, I saw them three times in total.  First show was Bar 11 before Metz, second at Gamli Gaukurinn, and I saw half of their final set at Lucky Records the next day.  Kimono are an old staple in Iceland, one could argue they’ve influenced a lot of music in their time, so it was great to see them live again.

Their gigs certified  they still have it.  Heavy instrumentation, with just ever-so-slightly aggressive vocals trudging through the the set.   The band was kind enough to play my favorite song, The Wire (I’m sure it was all for me) at all three gigs,  and someone paid tribute to Alison’s paying tribute at Anna Von Haussenwolffs performance at Gamli Gaukurinn by laying down center stage and flashing metal signs while soaking in Kimono’s heavy beats.

They also introduced a few new tracks that they have been working on, including a dance number, well as dance number as Kimono can get,  Think a modern Les Savy Fav.  It excites me that they are working on new stuff.  These guys are another band that personifies the Icelandic music culture.  They’ve been playing for well over a decade, and as dedicated and serious as they are about their task, they still take the time to have fun on stage, and they also display that natural ability to include the audience in that fun, cracking jokes, heckling back and just overall having a good time playing music they love.  And they have no fear about working on new stuff that may differ from the old.  It’s an epic work ethic they have, and I’m all the more excited about it.

zolaAnd of course, Zola Jesus.  She came to Iceland with a brand new band.  If she hadn’t told the audience they were new, I don’t think we would have noticed as they played a wonderful set at Gamla Bíó.  Zola was full of her typical energy and after jumping off stage barefoot, she spent a good time serenading audience members, jumping on chairs, and whipping her mic chord around barriers like a seasoned cowboy lassoing a bull.  As I’m a bit biased when it comes to Zola concerts, it was good to read that not just I was impressed with her set.  I’m glad Iceland got to see her.

Really, there is so much more one could write about, and there are so many more pics that I could share.  Iceland Airwaves yet again delivered a fantastic festival and Iceland proved to be the ever amazingly Martha Stewart of sovereign hosts.

If you want to know about how a band you dug did, the Grapevine blogged about EVERY on-venue show this year on their Airwaves dedicated blog space.  Their presence and that blog were an amazing thing this year and a great addition to the festival experience, maybe I’m just partial because they flattered me by publishing my blog/article on supporting the local Icelandic musicians, but no, it’s an extremely well put together blog about the festival over all, and you have to give Grapevine major props for the hard work they put into it.  You can see all my photos from Iceland Airwaves here, or by clicking on one of the pictures above.

It’s weird to end a blog post without my four weird questions, so I leave you with one of them, answered while some mocking was being done about the questions I ask, by Kjartan from For a Minor Reflection:

What animal would you be, and what song would you sing? A raccoon, because raccoons are the coolest animal.. And Total eclipse of the heart, because that would be the coolest song for a raccoon to sing…..

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My top 10 must see bands for Iceland Airwaves 2013

blarghKraftwerk is headlining, Ólafur Arnalds is doing magical things with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, and Emiliana Torrini is going to charm our socks off.  But what about the other bands?  I’ve written tips for getting the most out of your Airwaves experience, I’ve posted all the Icelandic bands playing Airwaves with links to a plentiful supply of all their songs, and now, the top 10 bands you do not want to miss, in my humble opinion of course.  So give it a listen, keep updated by visiting Grapevine’s Airwaves blog, and plan plan plan.

Kimono:

I love this band, they skipped out last year, but I’m glad they are back and I can’t wait to hear the new stuff.  It is rumored there may be an electronic element sneaking into the set.  How to describe them, think modern Wire with a twist.  Prog-metal if you want to get all fancy and the like, or perhaps just don’t describe them and tell people to go and listen for their own damned selves.

Clicking the band name above will take you to my blog on them, they have one of the most extensive soundcloud pages you will find:

Apparat Organ Quartet:

Even with the missing member from last year’s festival, Apparat Organ Quartet consistently put on one of the best shows of the festival.  If you have never seen them play I highly suggest you do so as I’ve yet to hear anyone new to them dislike their sound.  Clicking on their name will take you to my blog post on them, and here is Konami:

FM Belfast:

Yes I saw them earlier this year, but in their native land this band really cranks out a party, it’s typical for other musicians to magically appear and dance on stage with them, and they are one of those bands that really gets the crowd going.  I’d suggest you go with clean underwear, as chances are you’ll be dancing in them by the end of their set.  Best gig I’ve seen was at the infamous NASA, hoping they try and top it this year.

Clicking on the name takes you to my blog post on them, and this olld video is still a favorite of mine:

In the Company of Men:

Diversity is key at this festival, and these bat-shit crazy monkeys really know how to throw down on stage.  It’s organized chaos and very Dillinger Escape Plan-ish.  Can’t wait to see them live.  The title above takes you to my blog-post for more info, and here’s a video

Samaris:

Recently signed to One Little Indian records, and with a new album comprised of their E.P’s, I’m very curious to hear how they sound live.

Zola Jesus:

On Sacred Bones Records, Zola Jesus never fails to amaze.  She’s a force to be reckoned with and her hauntingly good music is going to be a treat for the Icelandic scene.

Ghostigital:

Seriously, if you haven’t seen these guys play, make this a priority.  Curver and Einar örn are staples and their show is awesome crazy.  I try to see them whenever I can, they have crazy instruments, a crazy leader, and a baby blue trumpet.  How could you not want to see it

Oyama:

A band of many bands, Oyama’s roster includes members from a lot of other bands you will hear this week.  They put on a great show, and you do not want to miss it.  Click the band name for my blog post on them, and listen here:

Amiina:

Amiina never fails, with their creative implementation of items as instruments, haunting voices, and endless supplies of charm you really need to take a breathe and take in an Amiina gig.

Lay Low:

Nancy Sinatra and June Carter apparently had a love child when we weren’t looking.  If her song writing and soothing voice doesn’t get you, her snake charming personality will.  Doesn’t matter if she’s in front of a massive crowd, or singing for 5 people in a shack smack dab in the middle of Reykjavik, she is definitely someone you want to experience while at the festival.  She has a slew of new songs, and I’m excited to hear them.  You’re absolutely NOT going to hate her.

Ok, I’ve got to stop, I promised myself only 10.  But it was a tough choice as there are plenty of other acts worthy of mention.  Dikta, Tilbury, Pétur Ben, Moses Hightower, Mammut, Momentum, Hudson Wayne etc..etc… Nini Wilson is also a band you should look out for.  I’m not going to spoil it, but they consist of members from other well known Icelandic bands.

I’m going to be blogging every morning after the festival, and I hope to see you up there.