Iceland Airwaves Day Two (11/6): Kaleo, CeaseTone, Phox (REVIEW)

After finally getting some sleep, our class broke apart early from our hotel to start gathering the quotes and facts that are going to make up our last two culture stories. I spent it swimming in a pool, soaking in hot pots and sweating in the sauna at Sundhöllin with Megan in the morning, and exploring the culture of coffee here in Reykjavík while talking to some of the people who work with it daily – stay tuned to hear that story – and caught some bands in the evening.

At Harpa Norðurljós, Kaleo took the stage on Thursday at 12:20am, but the audience still filled the room to finish off their evening of entertainment here at Iceland Airwaves. The majority of their setlist  is new music, and it’s all off of their upcoming album. If it’s anything like the show, the second album from this group is going to be something special! Kaleo is playing multiple shows throughout Airwaves, and they brought in some special instrumentation for it including a cello, violin, harmonica and another guitar. The crowd ate it up – the sound filled the room so much more than anything else seen at the festival, and there was more dancing from the crowd than other shows, too. They loved the old and the new, they loved the sound and they probably loved the view. All in all, Kaleo brought much more to the stage than they seemed to in their first album.

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Kaleo at Harpa Norðurljós / 6 November 2014

CeaseTone was a surprise to Dan, Jessica, and myself. With a name that derives from “Sea Stone,” and studio-recorded music that sounds more folky, it was a pleasant surprise when the electric guitars started blaring in the faces of the audience members, and over half of the crowd was jamming right along with the band with their even mix of electro-rock. CeaseTone has played multiple times throughout Airwaves this year, but this was a show at 7:10pm at Frederiksen, which seemed to be too small of a venue for CeaseTone’s show. But, the group made do, and proved that they have a lot to offer – even at a small venue.

CeaseTone at Frederiksen / 6 November 2014
CeaseTone at Frederiksen / 6 November 2014

Phox made an appearance at Reykjavík Art Museum, and started at 10pm, to an already-full venue, which remained constant throughout their set. Phox has a solid studio sound, which translates live, but from the view from the back of the crowd, it seemed like the audience was looking for more in the stage presence caption from the band. Constant chatter rang throughout the attendees, and although the lighting was more intricate than other shows at Airwaves, it didn’t seem to do much in the ‘General Effect’ category for Phox. This six-piece band from Wisconsin sure has a lot of talent to offer, they just needed to show it now. Literally.

Phox at Reykjavík Art Museum / 6 November 2014
Phox at Reykjavík Art Museum / 6 November 2014

It’s hard to believe that day two is already wrapped up – but I’m already looking forward to everything day three will have to offer. More interviews, potentially some exploring of this gem of a city on this island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and of course, more bands to catch. Maybe it’s the festival, maybe it’s the people, and maybe it’s the music; but I find myself falling more and more in love with this city with each step I take down the street. This could be dangerous. Stay tuned!

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