Iceland Airwaves Day One (11/5): Hide Your Kids, Benny Crespo’s Gang (Review)

The 2014 Covering International Festivals: Iceland class has officially been in Reykavík for a full day, and it seems like  we’ve done enough to fill two. A weird revelation for me has been time, mostly because it seems like our group has been trucking along on close to no sleep for over two days, and even as we’re writing our first official Airwaves blog posts, it’s not any later than 6 pm back at home. 

But Reykjavík has been treating us well so far – the hotel is accommodations; even though the food is pricey, it’s outstanding; we’ve got the weather to make us feel at home… And the music! Oh, there’s so much to talk about the music here at Iceland Airwaves this year.

The first band I caught was Hide Your Kids, and it was a pretty good start to the festival for the most part. Like any artist, they have positives and negatives going on in their show. First off, they have less than 20 songs released (including the five that are on a CD they made a handful of to hand out for free after the show exclusively), and when a band has those kind of numbers, it’s almost imperative that each song is unique, so people are easily able to tell the difference from one song to another. They do know how to establish a positive relationship with the audience, which they have swinging in their favor. Daniel Jón, the lead singer, decided to have all of the bantering bits in English, because he knew that there was at least one American audience member in the crowd. Although it may seem like this singled one person out, it made the crowd seem to warm up more to the idea of the band, and the next song was recived with more dancing and cheering from Harpa. Check out Hide Your Kids’ music here.

Benny Crespo’s Gang immediately followed in the same venue, and boy, did they put on a show. Even though it was a bit more hardcore than their studio recorded versions, they were able to keep their smooth transitions between songs solid. Their talent was especially showcased when they made the transition multiple times from hard, male vocals led by Helgi Rúnar Gunnarsson to the soft, female vocals led by Lovísa Elísbet Sigrúnardóttir. It was refreshing to see that groups are still able to split the vocals fairly evenly between male and female, even if the band’s sound seems to belong on a Halloween-movie-style soundtrack. Benny Crespo’s Gang is comfortable and confident in their electro-rock music, and it was able to shine through in their performance and crowd banter.

All in all, it’s been a pretty solid first full day in Reykjavík, and there’s still so many more things to come. Let’s continue the adventure.


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