Iceland Airwaves Day One: Sóley (10/30)

After a flight to Newark, spending almost eight hours at Chili’s Too, a five-hour flight and a one-hour bus ride, our class has finally arrived to our hotel in Reykjavík.

But do we get to sleep after this full day? Nope! After throwing all our bags into a room (that isn’t ours), we head back out to meet Prof. Althea Legaspi at Harpa.

Althea played the role of tour guide and showed us everything in Reykjavík. And, it is all so amazing to take in.

Along the tour we stopped at the Viking museum 871+, and being the kind Icelanders they are, the museum curators allowed us all in for free.

Hunger set in, and before this caused any grumpiness, we stopped at the best hotdog place in Reykjavík, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. A hotdog here with everything on it includes ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. The crunchiness from the fried onion and the flavors of the condiments mix together so perfectly.

After all the sightseeing and window-shopping, we headed to the community pool for a dip. Icelanders love to swim, and their pools are heated geothermically. Unlike American pools, one must remove their shoes in the designated area, then take a shower. This keeps the pool clean and less chlorine is required to maintain it.

After swimming a couple laps. Still soaking, everyone jumped out and headed outside in the mid-30 degree air to the hot pots, or Americans would say hot tubs. And then the sauna, where I really felt the stress of the day melt off my body.

Feeling rejuvenated, the group headed over to KEXP‘s live broadcast at KEX for a quick beer and some good tunes.

After heading back to the hotel to finally get a room and unpack, it’s already time for dinner. The tapas at  Tapas Barinn are incredible. We all tried whale, trout, blue ling, lobster, lamb, Skyr and puffin. I totally recommend everyone try these, especially the trout and lobster if you get a chance.

Finally I headed to Harpa to see some shows! Sóley played at Harpa Silfurberg at 9:40.

She started out on the slower side with “Smashed Birds.” The show kept building as she stepped to the keyboard and caused it to omit the eerie music she’s known for.

“Kill The Clown” and “Pretty Face” were the next two songs to follow. Here her music stepped away from folk and turned into a folk-pop combo with some awesome bass amid musical silence.

Then she premiered a new song called “Halloween,” which she was admittedly afraid of. Sóley said earlier in the day she wanted to take a nap but couldn’t because she was nervous about performing the song. The song turned out well and was the perfect brew of spooky, futuristic and complicated sounds as a purple light shown her gently seating in her lace-sleeved, black dress.

“Pretty Face” was exciting because Sóley used a beat machine to harmonize with herself and be both lead and backup vocals. At one point she just stood there sweetly smiling and listening to her own voice harmonizing with itself.

Her final song “I’ll Drown” began with a rough start, but she managed to pull through it. The audience became hyped and involved when she incorporated more live recordings of her voice as the beats and foundation of the song.

It was an amazing show, an amazing night with one more performance still to go: Emilíana Torrini.

Tune in tomorrow for a glimpse of my interview with Sóley.

And now some much needed sleep. Zzzzz

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