Day two of the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival was hectic stumbling around windy Reykjavík looking for bands to cover.Walking down Smiðjustígur, I came across Bar 11, a cozy spot hosting a variety of off venue shows. The harsh buzz and static of an electric guitar hummed from outside the bar. Downstairs, Icelandic pop-punk band Fraebblarnir blared their dirty electric guitar rifts to a small audience who seemed like they were happy to be awakened from the warm and soft atmosphere of the dimly lit bar. A female vocalist, strung her guitar with power and strength while her band mates accompanied her with harsh vocals that bounced off the walls of the tiny downstairs venue.The drummer thrashed away at his set, adding intensity to their highly energetic songs. The set was good, but the glitch geared instrumentals of artist Bistro Boy, had the crowd moving upstairs.
Bistro Boy’s light and airy dance grooves were disorganized and filled with off beat machine drums. Each song had long introductions filled with bass and charm. The set was good, but not enough to keep some Airwavers around. Festival goers were looking for a more vibrant atmosphere to kick off their night.
Luckily, a beautiful surprise awaited eager festival goers down the street at a massive venue called Iðnó,which housed inside the Bedroom Community’s Puzzle Muteson. With the help of his acoustic guitar, Puzzle Muteson’s quiet and eerie vocals filled the room with warmth and nostalgia as he sang heartfelt stories about love sickness and humanity. His band mates added color and texture to his lyrics by featuring lonely and saddening strums from a female violinist. A pianist danced his keynotes around the soft-spoken artist’s vocals while a hallow and dark cello interjected throughout the set.
Puzzle Muteson’s vocals were astonishing, bouncing around from dreary low pitches to heart-wrenching, high-pitched cries. With every drink of water he sipped between sets, the songs became clearer in subject matter. It seemed as though everyone in the audience had their eyes closed, envisioning their own distinct emotions and feelings. The set could make a grown man cry.
Everyone needed a pick me up after Puzzle Muteson’s depressingly awesome set. Airwavers flooded the downstairs portion of Faktorý bar waiting in anticipation for a Techno duo dubbed Nuke Dukem. The crowd waited for about 10 minutes for the band to get their gear set up to rage, but when the wait was over, it was time to dance. Nuke Dukem’s bass and techno driven songs entranced the audience into a rave. The strobe lights coordinated to flailing bodies and beers tipped on top of my head from intoxicated audience members whose judgment was lost because of the highly intense music coming from the stage.
Unfortunately, some crowd members were disconnected from the set. A group of girls were screaming to the top of their lungs while Nuke Dukem did their thing on stage, completely drowning the music out with their shrilling voices. Luckily, the 30-year- old gentleman who worked it out at Thursday night’s show at Faktorý was there again showcasing another spastic set of dance moves to show his appreciation for Nuke Dukem’s talented performance on stage.