Iceland Airwaves Day One (11/5): Bird, Leaves (Review)

After months of preparation and hours of travel, we have finally made it to Iceland Airwaves 2014!  It’s been nonstop since the plane landed at 6 a.m., but what started out as a hectic day turned into a night filled with some great sounding Icelandic music.

To start the Airwaves experience I caught the only official show for Bird. It was the first performance for the group as a full band. Previously, Bird was strictly a solo project for singer-songwriter Jón Valur Gudmundsson, although he still remains as the main songwriter and producer. Even though Bird only performed a five song set, Frederiksen was filled and put on a fairly good show.  All the instrumentalists were  in sync, with perfect timing and pitch, but it was Gudmundsson’s voice that stole the show. Gudmundsson also showcased his range of musical talents by switching between guitar and piano during the set.

Bird will be playing two more off venue shows.  Bird’s festival performances are leading up to the first full length album release, which is expected in early 2015.

Leaves played at Harpa Norðurljós. Their live performance was something worth hearing, but not necessarily worth seeing. They have a strong live sound, with some songs, such as “Ocean,” sounding better than their studio recordings.  However, Leaves’ stage presence was underwhelming. The members remained stationary during their set and had little interaction with the crowd or amongst each other between songs. Nonetheless, their poetic lyrics and piano rock ballads were still captivating.

With the first night under wraps, it’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the festival has in store.

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