Iceland Airwaves: Day Two (Of Monsters and Men, Cercueil, Ólafur Arnalds, For A Minor Reflection)

Today; woke up, rolled out of bed, and looked out my window to see whirling wind and snow falling sideways. That did not stop me from getting in the shower and starting my music-filled day, which happened to start with being driven by a local to see famous Icelandic musician Björk’s house. Her house sits on the ocean, is completely black, and has a wonderful view of the president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson’s, house. 

Later, with fans watching through the windows into the jam packed Icelandair Hotel Reykavík Marina‘s Slippbarinn, Of Monsters and Men did not disappoint for the many people who waited hours in the hotel. They opened with “Dirty Paws,” which was played flawlessly and got the crowd rocking and clapping their hands. “Mountain Sound” had many fans dancing, and the band lead the crowd singing the song. Of Monsters and Men then played a song by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s called “Skeletons”, which was a nice surprise. With the crowd knowing which song was coming next, the band played their hit, “Little Talks,” which showcased trumpet player Ragnhildur Gunnarsdóttir. The band closed their set with “Six Weeks,” then left the stage to end their time at Iceland Airwaves. Playing to a packed Icelandair Hotel Of Monsters and Men showed why they are one of the most popular bands in the world today. 

The ghost opera trio, Cercueil, brought their dark ominous beats to Harpa for a show that had many people stomping their feet. The band used electronics off a laptop to create their first layer of music, then they added their dark layer of instruments on top of that. The vocals of Pénélope Michel brought a beautiful sound to the almost industrial feel of Cercueil’s music. The constant beat of the bass drum from Olivier Durteste kept each song from turning into an actual dark opera. Cercueil showed their own taste of opera, and made a great impression for each person that was in the room.

Wailing out on stage to a packed Harpa, Ólafur Arnalds showed why he is one of the most popular artists in Iceland today. The beautiful music Ólafur creates, matched with the electronic beats behind created a scene that both got the audience’s head bobbing, and gave them goose bumps at the same time. During the first song so many cameras were clicking, Ólafur had to tell the photo pit to stop shooting during slow parts of his songs. After he said that, the audience was completely silent the entire show. Each and every song that Ólafur played brought a different aspect of his music into the show. He showcased a violin piece, a piano piece, and a cello piece. The last song was about his grandmother who passed, and at the end of the song the violinist and cellist joined in from the audience balcony. 

From the minute they started For a Minor Reflection had the audiences’ attention with their hard rocking, but beautiful music. Throughout the entire show each member of the band did not stop moving. Hand banging, playing duel piano, and walking close to the crowd, these 20-year-olds know how to work a stage. Guitar players Kjartan Hólm and Guðfinnur Sveinsson had a connection on stage that could not be missed. Playing the same scale but different octaves at the same time showed how much these guitar players know how one another plays. Their last song was where the band really shined. The more than 10-minute song showed that this band knows more than just instruments, they also know how to write a composed piece of beautiful music. When For a Minor Reflection left the stage the crowd cheered so loudly that they came out for a second bow.

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