Well, Iceland Airwaves ’12 is in the books, and it was a hell of a festival. In all I caught 39 shows and saw 35 different bands, plus came back with about 45 assorted records and CDs – a big win all the way around. Here’s a recap of most of the bands we saw over the last two days.
- Prisimwaves: I believe these guys are from Minnesota. They played at the packed Bar 11 upstairs stage, and I’m not even sure they had an “on venue” official show, but regardless they had a cool vibe to them.
- Oyama: We pushed our way through the crowd to the tiny basement of Bar 11 to see Oyama, a new band fronted by the former lead singer of Fist Fokkers who we saw last year. Kind of lo-fi, kind of punk, and it turns out this guy actually has a decent voice, which never got showcased in the punk Fist Fokkers.
- Stereo Hypnosis: Sort of ambient electronic. Next.
- Epic Rain: Now these guys were interesting. Kind of hip hop infused with New Orleans jazz. They had a DJ who was both mixing the beats and scratching, plus two MCs. We picked up their CD, and we understand one of the DJs from KEXP radio did as well, so there’s a good chance we’ll hear this on the radio in Seattle at some point.
- Ghostigital: Basically they played the same set as they did the previous day, but since Einar Orn ad-libs a lot of his lyrics, it still felt fresh. This was one of the few shows in which we ventured off the fringes and waded right into the crowd, and there was a lot of head-bobbing going on.
- Jesuslesfilles: Next.
- Dr. Spock: Insanity. Punk/rock/something with tons of intensity. Holly wasn’t entirely sure when this one was getting ready to start, but afterwards she had to admit that it was impressive, and the crowd was really into it.
- Rangleklods: This electronic duo filled in for Django Django, who we really wanted to see but who were forced to cancel at the last minute due to an illness. They were one of my two biggest surprise new (meaning new to me) bands of the festival, and I’ll be on the lookout for some of their music. Moody electronica a la Depeche Mode.
- Gusgus: What can you say about the masters of dance music? Most of the set was from their newest album, Arabian Horse, and included guest vocalists – though the female singer was not the same one who appeared on the album. They also included “Add This Song” from 24/7 and a brand new track. The room was completely packed, and Gusgus delivered. Get out your glow sticks!
Sunday (Sunday Sunday!)
- Barujarn: We saw them at Airwaves in 2009 and 2011, and they’re still rocking the same surf punk, which is awesome.
- Hljomsveitin Eg: More or less straight forward rock, but the lead singer was really engaging and funny (“We’re going to play this song. We like it. It ends well.”), and I even picked up a pair of their CDs from them after the show. They closed with a cover of The Who’s “My Generation”.
- Skalmold: Skalmold!!! Bring on the goth thrash metal, with the three-guitar attack! The only thing missing was an animal sacrifice. A full-blown mosh broke out in front of the stage (mind you, there were about 150-200 people there – it was a small club), and these guys were smiling the whole show, obviously enjoying it. A great way to close out the festival for us.