Iceland Airwaves ’12 – Recap of the First Two Days

We’ve been thrilled that there has been absolutely no rain since we arrived in Reykjavik on Tuesday.  The wind, however, is another story…. today’s forecast calls for sustained winds of 50+ mph and gusts up to 75 mph.  A good day to hang out inside.

So we’re two days into the festival, and we’ve seen a bunch of bands.  While it isn’t specifically vinyl or CD related, here’s a look at who we’ve seen so far.

Wednesday

  • Tilbury:  We opened the festival at it’s first official off-venue show, featuring Icelandic band Tilbury.  They played in the smallest venue at Airwaves – a small shipping container in a town square, only big enough to hold about 10 people, so the crowd watches from outside through windows.  Decent music, but damn cold.
  • Retrobot:  Cool Depeche Mode sounding band.  We picked up a copy of their EP Blackout.
  • Lockerbie:  Better than the first time we saw them last year.  But that’s not saying much.  Sort of like what alternative would sound like… if senior citizens liked it.  Boring.
  • Hellivar:  Hard rock assault!  Guitars all over the place.
  • Legend:  Singer, keyboard, and drums.  It started off like some type of gothic snore-fest, but then they opened up and it turned out they were seriously crazy intense doom techno.  I don’t know how the singer did not knock himself out as he thrashed around stage.  Picked up their CD as well.
  • Agent Fresco:  One of my all-time favorite bands, they brought the house down with an amazing assault.  The local fans love them, and everyone sang along to the song that closed their set.

Thursday

  • Agent Fresco:  Yes!  Second time in two days.  This was a special acoustic off-venue set that was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  They brought in a string section, and took time to talk about all the songs the played.  Picked up their limited edition (of 300) acoustic EP on CD.
  • Agent Fresco:  Third time!  OK, it was overkill, but I saw them again at a local hotel.  This time they had their LP on vinyl, so I got that too.
  • Shabazz Palaces and Thee Sensations:  Seattle band!  After a delay due to technical problems, these two groups combined to put in a sweet electronic jazz funk set that was broadcast live back to Seattle on KEXP.  Plus I stood next to Bjork for part of the show.  No joke.
  • Lara Runars:  She was playing all new material.  Should have stuck to the old stuff. Not as good as the previous times we’ve seen her.
  • Jamie N Commons:  British blues rock band that really surprised me with how good they were.  I’m going to look for their album.
  • Dikta:  Only saw a few of their songs.  It was fine, but whatever.
  • Skalmold:  Only saw a few of their songs.  But it was insane metal.  Three guitarists (plus bass).  These guys tore it up.  Rock the devil horns!
  • HAM:  We are HAM!  We saw four songs by the originators of metal in Iceland, and they delivered.  They also delivered the line of the night with this song introduction.  “This is a song about friendship.  And hate!”
  • Bloodgroup:  One of my all-time electronic pop faves!  They played some new stuff, which is darker and slower than their old stuff, but hit some of the classics as well.  Great live presence.
  • Of Monsters and Men:  Not my style of folk rock, but the place was packed to the gills, and the live show was pretty good.

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