Iceland Airwaves 2013 Day 1: The journey begins

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Editor’s note: My Jeff, who operates the excellent blog Live in the Vinyl Lane, is an Icelandic music aficionado and offered to share his thoughts on the 2013 Iceland Airwaves music festival. You can read more of Jeff’s thoughts about the Icelandic music scene over at his website or on Life in the Vinyl Lane’s Facebook page

Epic Rain performing at Lucky Records. (Photo by Travis Hay)

Epic Rain performing at Lucky Records. (Photo by Travis Hay)

The below content was originally posted on Life in the Vinyl Lane. 

Wow – what a day!

Iceland Airwaves 2013 officially kicked off today with a full slate of on and off venue shows, and we made an effort to catch as many of them as possible.  After starting off with some cappuccinos and pastries at Sandholt Bakery, it was back to Lucky Records to spend some quality time digging through the Icelandic sections – new and used, vinyl and CDs.  I added more stuff to my growing pile of music and plan on picking it all up tomorrow – so look for some details in an upcoming post (plus reviews of tons of Icelandic music over the next few months!).

That wasn’t all we did at Lucky.  We also ran into fellow Seattle music blogger Travis from Guerrilla Candy and caught five different off-venue shows:

  • Bellstop play a sort of blues based, edgy rock that reminded me a lot of The Kills; picked up their new CD
  • Saytan is all hard rock, all instrumental, all the time
  • Fura is a new project featuring two members of the awesome Icelandic band Bloodgroup, with the addition of a female singer (not the same one from Bloodgroup).  This was their first ever live show, and their sound was a little like the Tracing Echoes album, but with sort of Western (as in Western movie…) and surf sounding guitar.  Pretty solid and definitely a group to keep an eye on.
  • Bruno Batova is a talented Italian pianist who plays a fairly classical style of his own compositions; I’m going to try to track down his CD tomorrow
  • Epic Rain have their own unique hip hop sound – I’d almost call it “ragtime hip hop,” with a sort of 1930s speakeasy kind of feel to it; caught them last year as well, and the improvement in their performance is noticeable

After that the on-venue schedule kicked off, and our first stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum to see hard rock/punks Grisalappalisa, followed by none other than my favorite Icelandic band Agent Fresco, who were fantastic as usual.  Agent Fresco treated the crowd to one new song and filled out the rest of the set with classics from A Long Time Listening, much to the crowds delight as was evidenced by how many of them were singing along.  Listening to their emotionally powerful rock never gets old.

After that we popped across the street to Harlem to catch Legend, though they weren’t scheduled until midnight which gave us the opportunity to hear three other bands while we waited.  Tonik is a great techno duo who we caught at Faktory in 2011, and they still sound solid.  Love & Fog looks like a “normal” band, but they’ve got a much more electronic sound that really pushes the vocals down in the mix to focus on the music.  Nolo was my “best new-to-me band of the night,” with a great set with solid beats and modulated vocals that had a lot of the ladies dancing.

Click here to continue reading about Legend, the band that blew Jeff (and me) away at Airwaves. 

Vinyl Lane Jeff

About Vinyl Lane Jeff

Jeff is an Icelandic music aficionado and the author of the music blog Life in the Vinyl Lane.