As it’s now over a month ago since the 2011 Iceland Airwaves festival finished, this final post about the festival is of course long over due. But then again, the photos and reports on File Under were all online super fast, so besides having many more other excuses, I think I have the best one there is for not being in a hurry anymore to get them published on my own site. Because when writing this article and looking at all the shots I can enjoy the pleasure of digging up some memories of what was an amazing experience once more…
There are almost too many memories to mention, but I’ll try to share a few here along with the photos from the final two festival days.
After partying hard on Friday at NASA and working very, very, very late into the night to get the photos and report ready for publication the next day on File Under, Saturday was destined to become a much more relaxed affair than the days before, which meant plenty of time for kaffi & klatti and also a very tasty lunch at HaPP… Nom! Nom! Nom! But erm, yes, this site is all about music photography isn’t it? So before risking to turn it into a culinary site (did I mention that I cook a mean chicken curry though?) let’s get back to the music. Of which there was plenty on Saturday and Sunday.
This meant a return to the bar we first set foot in on our arrival in Iceland: Kofinn. Great place, good atmosphere, tasty sushi served from the nextdoor sushibar and their meatsoup is also not to be sniffed at. Our aim for the Saturday at Kofinn was of course of a musical nature, not culinary, as we didn’t want to miss out on some off-venue (and basically off-festival) gigs which we knew would take place there that day. We picked two of them: Agent Fresco and My Brother Is Pale. Never mind the frustration of impossible lighting conditions at Kofinn which restricted any decent photography, as these gigs turned out to be two of the many highlights of the festival.
The tiny placed crammed full of people who wanted to see local legends Agent Fresco, singer Arnór Dan Arnársson apologising for his voice as a result of the Blue Lagoon party earlier that day (which we didn’t make it to, damn, better luck next time) and so called ‘salty pukes’(?) in his throat, but still giving his all together with the rest of the band… All great memories… And the biggest surprise of the night wasn’t even that Kofinn’s very own bartender was playing with My Brother Is Pale after Agent Fresco, but that just before the gig started my mate Andrew told me he had a chat with him and he turned out to be Dutch! Imagine us talking English to him all week before discovering this… Funny! But let’s not forget to mention that Matthijs van Issum delivered a great performance with My Brother Is Pale in his own ‘living room’… Check their music out on myspace.
To be perfectly honest with you, I think I should have called it a day at the penultimate festival day after the gigs at Kofinn, as I was too destroyed to really enjoy the gigs we saw afterwards at Idnó, so best not to say too much about them and just leave you to enjoy the photos. The first band we saw there was The Twilight Sad (pictured above).
Next up were Mazes (above) and the final one we saw was We Were Promised Jetpacks (below). But after that it was time for sleep, lots of it…
The next day and final day of the festival saw us (Chrissie, Michiel, Andrew, Martijn and Suzanne, thanks for the company!) having dinner at Vegamot and contemplating if anybody had some energy left for gigging. And whilst everybody else simply surrendered to the call of a nice dessert elsewhere, I got myself together for a few final gigs of Iceland Airwaves 2011.
Earlier that day we had a short visit to Gaukur á Stöng (we hadn’t been there before during the fest) and as soon as I saw the intimate venue, the stage and knew which bands were playing there that night, I had a strong feeling I could finish the festival with a bang! Worth mentioning too that it was all Icelandic bands playing there that night, so that was an extra bonus. First up were OrphicOxtra and whilst photographing them was a struggle (I had to go up to 12800 ISO to get anything!), it was a pure delight to see them playing such complex music as they do, with such ease. But maybe it’s because they get a lot of practise too, as members of OrphicOxtra also performed with Útidúr earlier during the fest.
Then the fun really started with two bands that packed a lot of noise and energy which enabled me to try some ‘wilder’ things with my photography and experiment a bit. First of those two wilder bands was Coral who weren’t only out to make serious, hard hitting music, but the singer could just as easily be a stand up comedian, especially when he gave us the choice of buying their new EP or ‘creative’ (ahem) ways of spreading political messages… Sorry guys, I just couldn’t make up my mind on the night.
The last band I saw, heard and photographed at Iceland Airwaves 2011 was We Made God. Wow! The energy they display on stage is really of biblical proportions. No wonder why for instance Kerrang and Q Magazine have already reviewed them very positively. These guys are great and if you want some idea of how they sound, well try and imagine the music of both Sigur Rós and the Deftones blended into one. I hope my photos in the full gallery of their gig after the break give you some idea of their music too.
And after that final gig, it was time to leave… Goodbye Iceland, goodbye wonderful Icelandic people, goodbye Iceland Airwaves! See you next year!
Eight(!) full galleries after the break…
Enjoy the photos!
Agent Fresco @ Kofinn
My Brother Is Pale @ Kofinn
The Twilight Sad @Idnó
Mazes @ Idnó
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Idnó
OrphicOxtra @ Gaukur á Stöng
Coral @ Gaukur á Stöng
We Made God @ Gaukur á Stöng
Oh and for those of you who might also like to see some moving images from the festival (there’s plenty more to find on YouTube) have a look at this: