Iceland Airwaves Day Five: Jon Hopkins, Fontana , Tilbury

The last day of Iceland Airwaves was a productive one. There were interviews to transcribe, outlines to draw up, and blogs to publish. A 30 minute trip to the flea market helped knock a few souvenirs off of my list, including a marvelous tapestry to celebrate my induction into the league of fish eaters, I wasn’t bold enough to try the fermented shark, looks like I’ll have to come back next year. An unexpected excursion took us far outside of the city where we took in more of the majestic scenery.


A stop at Laugarvatn Fontana helped the whole class unwind after a week of debauchery and deadlines. A few of us “wild at heart” types even left the comfort of the geothermal heated pools and took our chances in the frigid lake that divided us from the mountains. No hot tub will ever compete with the pools found at Fontana. Who am I kidding? So much of Iceland will remain uncontested for quite some time.


I splashed in the face of hypothermia 15 minutes after this was taken.

Jon Hopkins at Harpa Silfurburg

From the crowd’s perspective, Hopkins worked his hands like a sound crafting stenographer, punching away at every nob and button on his table blanketing set up. Pulling  heavily from both 2013’s stellar Immunity and 2009’s Insides, the UK producer built up an organic potpourri of blips, thuds, whirs, and buzz. In the absence of the now common drops, the crowd spent most of the set transfixed to the LED lights that made up the backdrop of Hopkin’s performance. When the drops made their appearance, the tranquil atmosphere quickly evolved into a bouncing mass of shaking, sweating, smiling faces.


Tilbury at Gamli Gaurkurinn

A packed crowd wasn’t enough to draw out the inspiration behind Tilbury’s music. The only source of diversity within the alt-rock songs were provided by the keyboardist while the rest of the band went through in a largely forgettable and ultimately bland performance. Ironically, the band’s music was featured on our flight back and couldn’t have been more different than when it was performed live. Had that been the Tillbury that took the stage, the show would have been much different.


After a quick stop to catch Æla and Moses Hightower (who both ended the festival on a high note), I returned to the hotel, looked at my suitcase and thought “Man, it’s over.”  One last late night of laughs, hotel singalongs (karaoke as well as much of the city was closed by 1), and Iceland reflection was the perfect exclamation point to a trip that has become one of the highlights of my human existence.


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