I woke up for the first time in Iceland. I walked myself down to the first floor cafeteria of the Fosshótel Baron in downtown Reykjavík. I engorged myself in fruit, a boiled egg and waffles for breakfast, while mentally preparing myself for the interviews I had set up that day.
I left for the Harpa to interview Icelandic rapper Kött Grá Pje who is set to perform tonight at Gamli Gaukurinn along with Gísli Pálmi, Original Melody and Úlfur Úlfur. I walked down to the Harpa, and the day was far different from my first day. The sky was clear and no fog hid the mountains peak from across the bodies of water.
I made it to Harpa to find it occupied with many people sitting and camping out inside the building. Hallways were filled and difficult to maneuver through. This could be a hint of what is to come as Iceland Airwaves moves forward with more bands and more live performances.
In common tourist fashion in unknown areas, I found myself lost. Rather than panic I saw this as an opportunity to see the city, to explore. I found myself on unknown streets, alleys and roads. I found myself taking constant photos as I searched for the Nes Church, my destination, to talk to Lutheran minister, Toshiki Toma about race relations and immigrants within Iceland.
As I searched I asked random people on the street how to get directions and each one helped me — something I can’t say would happen if I were back home. Icelandic people are truly kind and welcoming. After I found the church and did my interview I headed to Dolly, a bar in Reykjavík. The bar was very close to the Gamli Gaukurinn venue. This made me even more excited about the lineup I am set to review tonight.
Original Melody put on a good show even though they had technical diffculties. They had problems with the machine playing their song instrumentals as well as a problem with the singers mic being too low. At one point the saxophone was louder than her singing. The group had a lyrically driven show with jazz and old school hip-hop infused music. The crowd reacted with much praise and applause after every song.
Gísli Pálmi put on an amazing and emotionally driven performance with his trap hip-hop sound. The crowd were like kids to candy; shouting to the stage the name of songs. As the performance went on more and more people in the crowd couldn’t help but bob their heads, jump and dance. The rapper kept his energy going through his entire performance. Moving, jumping and rapping all around the small stage to the point of clearly seen exhaustion.
Kött Grá Pje put on a mesmerizing show. Each song was a mixture of hip-hop, a bit of techno, and a surprise third: he had songs that were mixed with trap as well as old school influenced tracks and EDM. Alternative truly is the best way to describe it. The crowd became more and more enamored in the music after each song. They began to dance, bob, their heads and put their hands up. As Aheybaró, Kött Grá Pje’s summer Icelandic chart-topping song played the crowd chanted the name of the song. Kött Grá Pje brought a wild and crazy attitude and demeanor as he rapped, which matched the tone and of his tracks and flow.
Úlfur Úlfur had the crowd moving and bumping their heads no less than the very beginning of their performance. It was an amazing show. The crowd was brought to life again immediately after a long break session. Úlfur Úlfur also had songs that combined hip-hop with trap and rock. The crowd loved every minute Úlfur Úlfur was on stage and sung along with every song, even new ones that they played. The crowd quickly picked it up and sung along as the hook came in.
This was a great way to spend my first day in Reykjavík.