Airwaves ’14 – Day 3. Stolen Hearts.


ÍRiS is first one up at the Nordic House. She is accompanied today by a band of two, playing variously a cello, saw, drum and one of things that you whirled round your head as a kid. ‘Sea Song’ and ‘Day Break’ stand out, and she even switches to French for one song. Her new setup does not detract from her strong, clear voice or from the quality of the songs. Except, maybe, that thing you whirl around your head.

Low Roar was faced with an unusual proposition of not being able to get into his own concert at Bravó, and once he did, had to have his beer passed through the crowd. He played alone and acoustic, and was stunning with his songs of love lost despite his confession that he was just “winging it.” Proof that he can do it just as well without his band or electronics.

Uni Stefson is at Slippbarinn. He’s one of the very talented Stefson brothers and part of Retro Stefson but plays a less happy brand when alone. However, his voice is soulful and the music is slick.

From seemingly nowhere, the weekend starts properly with Lily The Kid. They arrive with a bundle of enthusiasm, with Lilja dancing like a girl possessed. The music is powerful, danceable pop delivered with passion and zest that makes it truly irresistible. Hard to believe that this is their first ever concert. This might just be the warning that airwaves is really here.

Continuing the party, Young Karin (pictured), featuring the other Stefson brother, tear the place apart. Electronica, guitars and seductive vocals that are super infectious. ‘Hearts’ sounds like your favorite song that you never knew. It might just be the song of Airwaves 2014.

It’s time to calm it down a bit. I head through a howling gale to the sanctuary of Fríkirkjan. It’s a wonderful place for a concert, this cozy little church, and looks warm and inviting. Inside it’s barely lit, with candles on the stage and low mood lighting. The crowd fills the pews and peers over the balcony. Snorri Helgason arrives with his usual crew, including Silla, who must be the busiest performer of the festival with her Mr. Silla concerts too. Scrap that, it’s probably Maggi who appears to be the only drummer in Reykjavík and appears on stage everywhere.

Snorri and band play country-tinged songs that center around beautiful harmonies between Snorri and Silla, who take center stage. They perform to a hushed silence, with everyone leaning forward in their seats to catch more of what is happening. ‘Mockingbird’ is an early highlight, with a good mix of songs from Winter Sun and Autumn Skies. The highlight, and finale, is ‘Caroline Knows.’ It’s stunning, with Snorri and Silla even stopping for a private joke before finishing with their final harmonies. This is magical stuff.

At Harpa, Norwegian songstress Farao is just on stage. She’s been recording in Iceland, and toured with Jónsi. I’ve been looking forward to this, but I find myself disappointed. This is just standard synth-pop stuff, albeit much heavier than expected. The sound at Harpa doesn’t help with far too much bass.

Vök are up next, and fair a little better. Now a four piece, they still draw comparison with The XX, although with added saxophone. Clearly local favorites, Vök fill the room quickly, and then get everyone moving. Later, FM Belfast continue the party well into the night. They are quickly becoming Reykjavik’s house band. I don’t suppose that there is much wrong with that.

Originally published by Iceland Review online.