Iceland Airwaves Day 3 (11/7): Moses Sumney, Ólaf Arnalds, Sykur

Day three was by far my most action packed day during this trip. It all kicked off with going to see Grísalappalísa again, but this time at the Laundromat Cafe. It was a pretty small venue for the band to play. In a chat with their manager, Skúli, after the show, he said that after seeing the shop he thought he never should have booked them there. However, I have to respectfully disagree, because the size of the venue only added to this stellar performance. With not enough room onstage, frontman Gunnar Ragnarsson instead stood to the coffee shop’s counter, stepping over plates and patrons as he delivered the performance of a lifetime.

Gunnar Ragnarsson at The Laundromat Cafe
Gunnar Ragnarsson at The Laundromat Cafe

After the show I stepped outside with the band, where we argued over who was better, Scottie Pippen or Michael Jordan. When the group finally agreed that Scottie was the superior basketball player, we stepped back inside and went down to the venue’s basement for a quick lunch and interview.

Once finished there, I quickly went across the street to Microbar, where I enjoyed an hour-long conversation and a few pints of beer with bar’s general manager Steini Stefánsson. I was there to interview him about the history of beer in Iceland for one of my stories (stay tuned!) but ended up hanging out long after I turned off my recorder to discuss the up-and-coming hobby of home brewing in Iceland, which is still on tender legal footing.

From there I walked down Laugavegar to Prikið, one of the oldest bars in Reykjavík for another interview with the bar’s general manager, Geoffrey. The interview itself only took about 15 minutes but again I found myself staying long after, talking with him and some of his friends about the festival.  It was a short walk away from Núðluskálin, where I met up with the group for dinner. After quickly chowing down we went in separate directions to start covering our third day of bands at Iceland Airwaves. 

Moses Sumney at Fríkirkjan

Moses Sumney, a relatively new artist from California, played a spectacular show tonight, and his first in Iceland to boot. Using nothing but a loop pedal and his electric guitar, the artist had the audience hanging on his every word. Between each song he talked with the audience and was absurdly charming in doing so, getting laughs from his onlookers with nearly every word he said. It was no surprise when he finished the show, he received a standing ovation from everyone watching, and had to politely decline an encore, saying “This is a festival, so I can’t play another, but I’m probably going to cry when I get home for good reasons.”

Ólöf Arnalds at Frikirkjan

Ólöf Arnalds is an Icelandic singer and songwriter who absolutely killed it at her show tonight. Her songs alternated between Icelandic and English, and regardless of whichever one she was using, her music hit a note that played on the crowd’s emotions. Her 40 minute acoustic set made the church venue of Frikirkjan feel like a much smaller and more intimate room. She ended her show with a huge round of applause accompanied with whistles from the lucky audience that got to catch the show.

Sykur at Gamla Bío

Sykur’s show at Gamla Bío was like one big party. The lead singer Agnes Björt Andradóttir stepped in front of her monitors within seconds of the show in order to get closer to the audiences outreached hands. The whole band was all smiles and seemed to be having a hell of time onstage. At one point, while Sykur was just starting a song, a lone audience member was heard yelling “I love you” to the band, at which point they stopped the song dead in its tracks to tell the lone onlooker that they loved him, too. Sykur’s show tonight was one that to be sorry about if you missed it.

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