Tag Archives: Sólstafir

Iceland Airwaves Day Three: Sólstafir, Young Fathers, Magnoose, John Grant (11/4)

After Temple rocked my world, I thought it might be time to kick it up a notch and head to my first metal show of Iceland AirwavesSólstafir at Harpa Norðurljós.

Sólstafir is an Icelandic, downtempo, metal-esque band, with notes of ambient rock.  One of the guitarist seems to be always wearing a cowboy hat, which fits into their dusty, leather clad appearance.  The band consists of two guitars, one bass guitar, and a drum set.  Their songs tend to be a bit longer than the average song, however they are very well thought out and progress very well to a noteworthy climax.  This show can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who do not typically like metal music, as it is very dialed back with catchy hooks and great instrumentals.

sIMAG0142

After Sólstafir I made my way to Gamli Gaukurinn to see Young Fathers from Scotland.

This group was pleasantly unique for a number of reasons.  The Airwaves website describes Young Fathers an “Afro-futuristic psychedelic hip-hop boy-band” which may sound made up, but actually is completely accurate.  Talk about a band that is all over the place…in a very good way.  This performance showcases displays of hip-hop, rock, electro, R&B, and rap against the backdrop of a super laid back reggae beat.  There are three vocalists in the band and they all serve a different role, either rapping, singing, or providing some backup flair.  This group is a lot of fun if you want to strap on your boogie shoes and bust a move.

After the shows were done I met up with some local Icelanders and was invited back to their apartment in the 107 to hang out for a bit.  They were all fantastic and very receptive of my very American inquiries.  On the way there we even saw a bit of the northern lights, and while they were not as phenomenal as they might have been away from the city lights, they we still remarkable.

After making many new friends over in Reykjavík’s 107 area, I decided to make my way back to the hotel for some sleep and on the way back I found a very old graveyard.  This was one of the creepiest I have ever seen, but how often are you in Iceland for Halloween?  I walked along the well lit path bisecting the graveyard and on each side the headstones trailed off into sheer blackness.  I tried walking off the main path, but even I, bravest of the brave, got too scared to stay in the darkness with all the ghosts.

IMAG0143

After a goodnight’s sleep and a day of adventures to see Iceland’s street art it was time to see Magnoose at Harlem.

Magnnose was a refreshing deep house act and a key part oversees of the house movement  which is sweeping the world internationally.  With blurred visuals of normal people interacting in intimate settings, it is remarkable to see a house artist this good so far from where house music was invented.  Chicagoans will be surprised to hear these chill deep beats so far away from home and probably also could not help strapping on their boogie shoes and testing out a few new moves.

After getting down at Harlem I found my way back to Harpa Silferberg to see a much anticipated artist, John Grant of Midlake, preforming solo.

This man is a lyrical genius with stanzas of wonderful sarcasm presented in a way that hits a listener more genuinely than they might like to admit.  The back up band provided rock beats with elements of electronic from time to time.  Really proud to say this act is from America.

IMAG0146

*Taken in Lucky Records

Advertisements

Iceland Airwaves Day Two: Bloodgroup, Bárujárn, Love and Fog, Temple (10/31)

After my blog post yesterday I was able to see a few other bands before I went into a six hour coma due to sleep deprivation.

Bloodgroup performed last night at Harpa Silfurberg.  They are a band with a completely unique sound, a blend of electronic, metal and indie.  During the show everyone, with exception of the drummer and one of the members working a bunch of electronic equipment, would switch instruments, giving each song its own unique soundscape.  One of the members even played keytair (a guitar and piano combined), which added a very interesting element to the songs featuring it.  They had very amusing crowd interaction between songs which is always a plus, and in addition they had both a male and female vocalist, bringing even more diversity to their high energy live performance.  This is a band definitely worth seeing.

After Bloodgroup I headed over to Amsterdam to see Bárujárn.

Bárujárn is the present day Icelandic equivalent to American 1950s surfer rock, like Dick Dale.  The setting in Amsterdam was very intimate and it was great to see the band so close after being in large venues at Harpa prior.  The band consisted of a drummer, guitarist/vocalist, a bassist wearing some type of fur hat (which was pretty cool), and a woman playing a theremin (which added a very interesting layer to the driving rock.)  The band sang in Icelandic but spoke in English between songs.  They got many laughs out of the crowd with some pretty crude jokes, setting a great tone for the show.

After a night’s sleep and another day of exploring Reykjavík I began the night by seeing Love and Fog.

Love and Fog is described on the Iceland Airwaves website as an electronic duo, however most who see their show will notice that there are actually three members: a bassist, a guitarist and an absolutely beautiful keyboard player.  The three play together against the backdrop of a well thought out drum machine that is reminiscent of America’s New Wave music of the ’80s with a funk-meets-alternative type of twist.  Witty banter, danceable beats, and the fact that their amp was seated on two quarter-kegs of beer make this group a blast to see, especially in Hressó’s outdoor tent.

IMAG0135

*Love and Fog

After a bit of dancing there I mosied on over to Gamla Bió to see Temple, but was early and caught a remarkable acoustic band called Árstíðir, which was quite possibly the happiest I’ve been being early to anything.  With two acoustic guitars, one acoustic bass, a keyboard, a violin, a cello and captivating six part harmonies, this drumless sextet painted a landscape of beauty in sound.  Truly remarkable.

IMAG0136

*Árstíðir

Then Temple hit the stage.  Talk about a band that can take listeners from a place of peace and serenity to a firestorm of chaos and face melting.  This guitar and drum based Swedish band could have someone crying one moment and head-banging the next.  The bass player at one point began playing his bass with some sort of wooden stick.  They were certainly a show people will be buzzing about tomorrow.

That’s all for me tonight.  Check in tomorrow to hear reviews of Sólstafir, Young Fathers (a member of which I just met moments ago), and many more.  Goodnight Reykjavík!