On Saturday, I took it easy and had the best time at Kex Hostel, with Kippi Kaninus, whom unfortunately I could not appreciate in-venue the nigh before due to conflicting schedule. However crowded, Kex maintained a cozy ambiance that harmonized well with the music. Listeners were enraptured by the pervasive sound and the musicians, without concealing beaming smiles now and then, demonstrated that they were the first to be having a hell of a good time. Although Kippi’s set was short, it did not feel in the least less rewarding.
Saturday was one of the main dates of Airwaves 2011, with lots of fancy events and concerts for all tastes. We spent the greatest part of our time at Iðnó, which was mostly crammed with foreigners — but attendance had sensibly diminished after Thursday and Friday. We got to the venue when Miri were on stage and it felt for us the perfect way to start the night. For a song only, Snorri Helgason and his harmonica made an appearance too, offering a nice complement to the band’s sound.
Fortunately, The Twilight Sad, who performed bathing themselves in blinding red lights, were not too much hindered by last minute technical problems (why is this always happening at Iðnó, by the way?) that they could not put up a great show. Singer James Graham descended from the stage, making the hearts of the Scottish band’s fans throb for a few instants. With their dynamic set, We Were Promised Jetpacks were the highlight of the night. They managed to get their audience pogo-dancing around and yours truly nearly got run over by an old dude jumping up and down and waving his point-and-shoot in the air like there was no tomorrow. Mazes took their place after that and, although the crowd had dispersed or moved to other venues by then, they enjoyed the support of a loyal following.
On Sunday, we went for the same approach of day one, which was to attend shows of Icelandic bands we had only barely known through studio recordings, but never had the chance to appreciate live. We thus set our post at Gaukur á Stöng, which is a venue I had occasion to dread with a passion in a few instances for its less than satisfactory sound quality. When we got to Gaukur á Stöng, the audience was still in warm-up mode. My main interest was for Coral and We Made God; it must be said, I was not disappointed. Both bands delivered engaging and energetic performances and entered my “Airwaves Discovery” list for 2011. In comparison, Thulebasen and Mammút felt somewhat bland, although both surpassed their predecessors in popularity. For Mammút and their generous display of face paint especially, the venue filled up, although not to the point of having people wait in line to get in. As I said above, most attendees from abroad had probably left after the first days; by Sunday, the festival had reverted to a more manageable status. After diligently going through their set, Mammút bade their farewell and after an encore, they finally closed the event. We got home in the hazy night, tired, deaf and elated.
This is the final part of our Airwaves photo diary. We had a good time overall and we hope we succeeded in conveying part of our enthusiasm through the images. Thanks to everybody who stopped by and sent messages through the site, on Flickr and on our Twitter and Facebook.
Looking forward to the next Iceland Airwaves? Then remember these dates: October 31-November 4, 2012. Keep an eye on this page and on the official site of the festival for updates.
All photos (c) putheowl and Iceland Chronicles.