Iceland Airwaves Day Two: Emilíana Torrini, Árstídir, Samaris And Elín Ey (10/31)

Last night after posting my blog I got a chance to see Emilíana Torrini perform at 12:10 in Harpa Silfurberg.

She started off with the powerful “Tookah,” which was full of fun beats and intense bass. The music began soft and continued to slowly build. Her cheeks became rosier as she sang “Home” and then smoothly transitioned into “Animal Games” where she howled like the “woo-oolf.”

At the same time as “Birds” began, lighted-lined images projected and danced on the ceiling. Her voice sounded like sadness and despair and was accompanied by mellow music. And then the lights shone out to the crowd and only her silhouette was visible.

“This song is about being brave enough to be happy,” she said, describing the next song, “Big Jumps,” to the swaying mass of people before her. “Autumn Sun” played out to be slightly faster and more angry than the sad CD version.

She mostly spoke in Icelandic, and once she started speaking English, she seemed to catch herself mid-sentence and switched back over. This may have to do with her replanting her roots in her home country that she’s been away from for several years.

She ended with “Blood Red.” It was very dark and mysterious and she slowly stepped away from the mic and disappeared into the dark as her voice faded, and then the crowd was hit with sound as the band started up “Speed Of Dark.” The way she ended the show was unusual because she just walked off stage when she was done singing, but the song wasn’t finished. It added to the mystery and darkness of her newer music.

She introduced her encore in Icelandic, but I believe she announced the song as a brand new one, because she was reading from a paper as she sang. It was very poetically put together. “The catacombs of the dragonfly,” she sang along with the simple strumming from the guitar.

After leaving the show I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern lights. My camera’s battery was dead,, but I heard that it will be even brighter tonight and I’ll be prepared this time.

Today I was able to enjoy the beautiful Icelandic weather as I walked to the building that houses all of the Icelandic women’s rights NGOs. I learned a lot about the issues Icelanders are still facing, and more on why they are ranked the numberone country for women.

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Árstídir performed at 9:50 in Gamla Bíó.

Gamla Bíó is an opera house with a sit-down style of concert, and this can make it difficult for fans to stay pumped and riled up for the performers. Árstídir consists of six men, Daníel Auðunsson (Guitar & Vocals), Gunnar Már Jakobsson (Guitar & Vocals), Ragnar Ólafsson (Baritone guitar & Vocals), Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson (Cello & Vocals), Jón Elísson (Piano & Vocals) and Karl James Pestka (Violin & Vocals). Pestka was fun to watch as well as listen to as he scrunched his face and furiously strummed his bow. This band is some sort of mix between classical music, rock and boy band, with delicious harmonies.

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Samaris performed at 10:40 in Gamla Bíó.

Samaris disappointed. Rumor was, yesterday Samaris put on a terrific performance, but tonight they seemed mild and meek. Jófríður Ákadóttir was hard to hear as well as the stand-in clarinet player. Maybe the performance let-down was not entirely the band’s fault, Þórður Kári Steinþórsson was encountering many technical difficulties.

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As I left Gamla Bíó I was starving, and to my luck there was a food truck parked right outside! The burgers were delicious, with lettuce and peppery bacon and some other saucy condiment.

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Elín Ey performed at 11:30 in Harlem.

I walked into Harlem expecting to see Futuregrapher, a bald and bearded man blasting some hard and fast tunes, but I ended up encountering Elín Ey, and I was not disappointed. Her vocals combined with her disco-sounding DJ styling was a joy to hear and see. People couldn’t help themselves, their bodies were entranced with the thumping rhythms — it was a great end to a great day.

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