The first two days of the festival were pretty impressive – overall the quality of the bands has been much higher than in past years, and that trend continued on Friday.
- Ghostigital: This blew my mind. It was a stripped down set with just three members of Ghostigital performing at KEX Hostel, and the show was broadcast live by KEXP radio (and recorded… so look for it online in the upcoming weeks). Einar flat out tore it up with an intense 25 minute set.
- Dr. Gunni: Dr. Gunni has a number of albums to his credit, and is also the local authority on the history of the Icelandic music scene. His new coffee table book on Icelandic music was just released, and the show was at a bookstore for the release party. He played alongside a rotation of Icelandic punk and rock artists from the 1980s. A pretty cool experience (and an impressive looking, if very expensive, book… in Icelandic).
- Monotown: These guys came highly recommended by a friend here, but I found them somewhat boring.
- Cercueil: French goth band playing filmstrips in the background during their music. I enjoyed their first song, which had a solid beat, but they went quickly downhill from there. Came across as pretentious.
- Olafur Arnalds: This dude has a very intense fan base. His group consisted of him on piano, along with a violin and a cello player. Olafur also uses some electronic beats in some of his songs. It was decent, but I’m not sure what all the hype is about, though I will say the violinist was incredibly impressive.
- Apparat Organ Quartet: Straight up synth-electro-pop. Holly didn’t enjoy it too much, but the rest of us got into the groove with them.
- Half Moon Run: Think Nickelback, but a little less rockish. Nuf said.
- Hjalmar & Jimi Tenor: Classic Icelandic reggae (yes, you read that correctly). These guys have been around forever, but it’s the first time we’ve seen them. Great sound, great horn section. They got the crowd moving and energized for the headliner….
- FM Belfast: FM Belfast tore the place down, going full speed for just over an hour and whipping the crowed into an electronic pop frenzy. They played a couple of new tracks, then some of their big hits, and the fans packed into Harpa ate it up and got after it. If you ever get a chance to see these guys (and gal) live, you have to go!