Iceland Airwaves Day One: Skelkur Í Bringu, Rúnar Magnússon, and Reptilicus (10/30)

I learned many years ago to never use the “T” word. The “T” word is a nasty, foul word that needs to be censored from the English language entirely, and replaced with the word “sexy.” When we admit to feeling tired, we might lose our minds or worse, lose our balance and fall to the ground as we dose off while standing up. But sexy people don’t need sleep. Sexy people are ready to go. Sexy people are ready to embrace Reykjavík in it’s big, Nordic sweater.

After a solid 36 hours (and counting) of no rest, we have become the sexiest of people.

After a grueling series of flights, layovers, and appetizers at an airport Chili’s Too, We finally touched down in Iceland!

….and hopped right onto an hour-long shuttle bus to our hotel.

But our weary eyes remained open! And they only widened with college-kid-like wonder as we began our walking tour through Reykjavík this morning. We stopped by a fascinating museum, ate the most wonderful hot dogs on the planet, and we went swimming in a pool–a popular local pastime we’ve been told.

Feeling refreshed and smelling much more enjoyable, we swung by the KEX hostel to say hello to KEXP, a Seattle-based radio station broadcasting live from the festival, and attended a daring dinner of various fish, lamb, whale and puffin — all of which filled our bellies and progressed us into a far more advanced stage of sexiness. I was feeling so fly, even coffee couldn’t knock me back into myself. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of seeing three marvelous musical acts to calm my sensuality.

First on the Roster was Skelkur Í Bringu (22:30 @ Amsterdam), an Icelandic noise rock band who brought beautiful chaotic screams and drum beats to my ears. They were visually pleasing as well, the fearless female lead singer dressed in an eclectic outfit, complete with a Christmas light necklace and multi-colored light up rings. She wasn’t afraid to tune her voice to a shrill punk screech. Her voice trilled between a multitude of screams, as her two guitarists and drummer tethered the sound. It was good, fun music to kick and scream to.

After all that fire, Rúnar Magnússon (23:20 @ Harpa Kaldalón) toyed with the electrical connections in my brain. In complete juxtaposition to Skelkur Í Bringu, Rúnar’s show was simple, with minimalist arrangements, but eerie enough to plant a seed of torturous dreams in any emoting being. He stood onstage with a laptop and various looping devices, and drew the audience out of their comfort zone. Two dueling videos accompanied his performance. One, a steady, bloody, beating heart like clot of flesh, the other a neurotic dancer, trapped in a horror-film hallway. The two faded in and out of each other, creating a feeling of being uncomfortably trapped. But truly, this unsettling feeling would not be present throughout the footage alone, if not for the music Rúnar wove onstage. It comforted you, then a subtle change would strike an uncomfortable chord in your chest, which as it was repeated, had a water boarding affect. In short, it was spooky and disturbing, and perfectly thought provoking.

The night was finished off with Reptilicus (00:10 @ Harpa Kaldalón), an experimental electronic duo. They had a knack for morphing sounds into thoughts, and they also had a video accompanying their performance. This video was vague with extreme out of focus closeups and left the music to imagine what exactly was being shown onscreen. Their songs certainly provoke their listeners through expert mixing and incorporation of peculiar sound bites and noises. The music was witty and innovative. In short, these men are very good at what they do.

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