Iceland Airwaves Day One (11/5): 1860, Mr. Silla, Kippi Kaninus

1860 opened night one of the 2014 Airwaves Music Festival with an upbeat, energetic set by combining driving guitar from Johann Thorgeirsson and soaring, hopeful vocals of Hlynur Hargrimsson. Making their way through parts of their debut album, Artificial Daylight, the Icelandic pop quintet finished their quick six pack set with crowd favorite, “Íðilfagur.” In between songs, bassist Gunnar Jonsson crooned to the audience for their approval, “We won’t play any off venue shows but you can buy my t-shirt. It’s sweaty and expensive.”

Change can come in any form. 2014 has been a  year full of it for Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, or Mr. Silla. Known for her work with Múm and Low Roar, she decided to focus on her experimental sound solo project. With brooding, droning and eternally sad tones of her delicate voice, she forced the audience to feel heartache. Her set seemed structured around running samples that cascaded into distorted bass riffs. She performed an overall simplistic but dynamic showcase of electronic music at Airwaves. Expect a new “album” from her this year.

Calculated noise rock with a smile, that’s what Gudmundur Karlsson and the rest of Kippi Kaninus delivered to Harpa Silfurburg’s attentive crowd Wednesday night. Kippi Kaninus is Latin for the muscle humans use to smile and the crowd certainly obliged. By adding a horn section and more emphasis on drums both analog and digital, Kippi Kaninus blasted through some of their new album, Temperaments. The most mathematical performance at Airwaves thus far, they acted as if the crowd wasn’t even there while they hammered out loops and distorted melodies that faded away into the ether.

After spending all day Tuesday in airports and on planes, getting to review some live music in Iceland was definitely a great payoff for our tireless travel efforts. Beating the jet lag in the small nordic country can be done (but it’s not limited) to these three ways:

Eat encased meats with outlandish condiments, explore the hidden spots of Reykjavík, and swimming in a geothermal heated pool and sauna complex.






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