After a nonstop dance party from FM Belfast lasting until 2 a.m. last night, I woke up just a bit tired, to say the least. After a quick breakfest I hopped on the tour bus to take me to the countryside, or better known as the Golden Circle of Iceland. The bus stopped at what was one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to on this Earth, the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall. With the wind still whirling a bone chilling wind in my face, I made the walk down the 90 stairs to see the waterfall. Only able to stay there a few minutes because of the wind, I walked back up the slippery stairs with my mind still blown at the sight I just saw. The bus then headed to the geyser, Strokkur, which happened to erupt in my direction causing all of the sulfur-filled steam to engulf everyone in the surrounding area. My tour of the Golden Circle was incredible, and then it was time for music.
Fronted by Björn Kristiansson, member of FM Belfast, Rúnk, and Skakkamanage, Björn fronted his own band today, Borko, at KEX Hostel. With some audience members sitting on the ground, Borko used a combination of folk, rock, and a touch of electronic that caught the attention of the audience from their first song Spoonstaber to their last song which was a two-part medley about peace and friendship. The band showcased the trumpet and trombone in a few songs, and this is when most people in the crowd were into the show the most. Borko also played a few new songs off their upcoming album Born to Be Free, including a self-titled track that included a mix of electronics, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, trumpet and trombone. After Borko was done playing, they took their final bow and headed off the stage to a crowd that was cheering to hear more.
Surrounding the Reykjavik Art Museum with an almost jazzy R&B sound, Kwes showed that they are a band to look out for in the future. The Great Britian native switched playing keyboard and bass with his bandmate, and he also filled the room with his soulful voice. Even with a brief power outage during his set, Kwes kept his calm composure, and after a short apology, he regained the crowds attention with no problem. Kwes ended his set with a simple “takk takk” to the crowd, which in Icelandic means “thank you, thank you.” The genre jumping indie rocker Sin Fang took the stage next, and the fan favorite filled the entire Reykjavík Art Museum. The band took the stage and drowned the crowd with a layered sound that kept most heads bobbing throughout the show. Sin Fang showed music diversity by blending many different genres such as new wave, indie rock, and even a bit of electronic, into one smooth and coherent sound. With their set ending, they thanked the energetic crowd with a bow and left the stage for the last time at Iceland Airwaves.
To a jammed packed crowd, The Dirty Projectors showed why they were chosen to close the Reykjavík Art Museum on Saturday night at Iceland Airwaves. With their off-beat drumming, clapping and complex four-part harmonies that one could call perfect, The Dirty Projectors created a state of bliss. The guitar playing from both David Longstreth and Amber Coffman led the band with a complex intertwining of scales and octaves. The band played flawless music to a crowd that was trying to keep up with the band’s clapping patterns showcased in a few of The Dirty Projectors’ songs. The audiences clapping added another layer to the already rhythmic mix, and many people in the audience had smiles on their faces, trying to match what they saw on tage. The most impressive aspect of the Dirty Projectors is their vocals. Each member of the band has an extremely large vocal range, which makes it easy to have three and four-part vocal harmonies. The last show of Saturday night at the Reykjavik Art Museum from The Dirty Projectors was one that will not be forgotten.
My trip to Iceland has been an amazing experience full of incredible music, delicious unique food, and some of the nicest people I have ever met. As I woke up on Sunday morning, my last day in Iceland, the question that has been on my mind all weekend could not go away: When am I going to move to Reykjavík? I hope to move to this beautiful city very soon, and I know when that happens I will be greeted with open arms from the Icelandic population. I will never forget my first trip to this wonderful country, surrounded by my classmates and the people I met in Iceland, who are now my very close friends. The only negative I have from this trip is that now I have to wait much to long for next year’s Iceland Airwaves.