On the Friday of the Iceland Airwaves festival we decided that this day was to be our NASA day and let me tell you already that we weren’t disappointed with this decision as it turned out to be an amazing night…
When we were queuing to get into NASA the night before a few Icelandic girls started chatting to Andrew and myself. Most of the chat was very lighthearted, but they also gave us a good tip about a band we should definitely see (if we were into music that sounded a bit like Sigur Rós) consisting of fellow classmates of them: Samaris.
And guess what was the first band we saw at NASA the very next day? Samaris! To me it became very clear very soon after hearing them play, why they were this year’s winners of músíktilraunir, battle of the Icelandic bands. They’re three very young, but very talented musicians playing dreamy and at times a little haunting music, with influences/echos from Sigur Rós, Portishead, James Blake and Fever Ray (imho). Just listen to Góða tungl on Samaris’ soundcloud and you will catch my drift… The use of the clarinet as one of the main instruments is an eye-/earcatcher too. Very cool!
Next up were Cheek Mountain Thief, who played music that was a little more traditional compared to Samaris’, but what is special about the band is that it’s fronted by Mike Lindsay who’s from the UK, but fell in love with Iceland and decided to stay there. He’s recorded his soon to be released debut album with Icelandic bandmates in a studio facing Kinnafjoll, Iceland’s Cheek Mountains, hence the name of the band.
After Cheek Mountain Thief an already very diverse musical evening became even more diverse as Niki and the Dove performed their goth-tinged electro-pop. This is the type of band you shouldn’t just listen to, but you really need to experience, as it’s as much about the music itself as it is about the theatrics of their performance. Think Florence, think Siouxsie, think Bat For Lashes… I’ve got a strong feeling that come 2012 the buzz around Niki and the Dove will become stronger and stronger.
Another band that might become big next year is Young Magic. I didn’t know them before the festival, so had no idea of what to expect, but wow, they managed to surprise me in a very pleasant way! With memories of Esben And The Witch at the Incubate festival still fresh in my mind, a parallel between Young Magic and EATW was easily drawn. Maybe the music of Young Magic is a little less dark, sometimes a bit more melodic and there are certainly elements in their music that set them apart from their UK counterparts (such as the very clear tribal / native American influences), but the mystical element is what ties them together for sure. Go and have a listen to them and see if you like them as much as I do.
After this mystical US act the photo pit became so full it was almost ridiculous… And it wasn’t just the photo pit that was full, nobody could get into NASA anymore, I heard there was even a big queue for the press outside NASA. But then again, there was a ridiculously amazing artist to perform there soon: Merrill Garbus and her band tUnE-yArDs… I’m not even going to try to describe how cool tUnE-yArDs were and how brilliant I think Merrill is. Words fail… I just loved every moment of it! (even the ‘frustration’ of hardly being able to take a decent photo).
Last band I took photos of that night was Clock Opera, but it wasn’t the last band we saw play that night. After I had stashed my camera gear away somewhere safe we (Andrew and me) and the whole of NASA fell prey to the vibes of the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Wow, the place just exploded and it left us with nothing else to do, but to give in to it and start dancing too. No photos of that though. I leave it up to you to form a mental picture of what that might have looked like, hehe…
Six full photo galleries after the break…
Enjoy the photos!
Samaris @ NASA
Cheek Mountain Thief @ NASA
Young Magic @ NASA
Niki and the Dove @ NASA
tUnE-yArDs @ NASA
Clock Opera @ NASA