Iceland Airwaves Day Three (11/7): Thus Owls, Kira Kira & Eskmo (REVIEW)

To finish off night two of Airwaves, Thus Owls, a band hailing from Montreal, Canada, brought down Iðnó with its heavy beats and dramatic sounds. The five-piece group used several techniques and instruments unique to them. For instance, to kick off the set, guitar player, Simon Angell used a toothbrush and sponge to strum on his guitar, providing an eerie feel to the licks he produced. Erika Angell, singer of the group and wife to Simon pulled out a country harp and gave the music an ambient feel. One song they played that held particular significance was “Island.” Husband and wife, Simon and Erika said that they wrote the song while on their honeymoon in Iceland six years prior to this engagement. It did the country justice in a way that it put into perspective the vast amount of mystery hidden both outside of the city and within. The band overall sounded great however, for that venue they were much too loud. Simon also ended up breaking one of his guitar strings mid-song, but he recovered gracefully and without any interruption in the sound.

To start off day three of Iceland I went to the Ölgerðin Brewery to speak with two brew masters on the culture of beer and history of prohibition in Iceland.

After finishing up at the brewery I headed over to Harpa.

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Dorito bags, planks of wood, megaphones, crystals, poles and more were all musical instruments used for a performance at Harpa Nordurljós. This show was a special performance called the Kira Kira Eskmo Experience. It was unlike anything at Airwaves thus far. Kira Kira, who hails from Reykjavík, and Eskmo (Brendan Angelides, who hails from Los Angeles), joined together to put on not only music, but a performance. This show truly was a work of art. Their genre is something that can’t be defined except for possibly experimental electronic with an essence of jazz and the blues. While performing, Kira Kira would dance around the stage with her shakers, plank of wood and megaphone just creating these majestic noises. All the while Eskmo was experimenting with his own oddities. At one point he opened up a can of Gull beer in front of the mic and then looped that for a while. Kira Kira’s soft and sweet voice combined with Eskmo’s more electronic voice made for a wonderful juxtaposition.

Kira Kira and Eskmo were joined by several other musicians. The trumpeter, Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson, of múm and Sigur Rós, was something special. Throughout the show he created interesting noises with his trumpet. He whistled into it, blew air onto the mouthpiece, and even seemed to beat box with it. Petur Hallgrimsson, who performs with John Grant, played the guitar, Bergur Thomas Andersen from Grísalappalísa was on bass and trombonist/composer Ingi Garðar Erlendsson from Kippi Kaninus joined them. Together they mesmerized and enchanted the audience.

At the end of the show Kira Kira made a special announcement that she and Eskmo were releasing a 7″ vinyl that day. It is named Call it Mystery -A Remedy for Patience.

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