Airwaves ’14 – Day 4. Dancing Feet.


Rökkurró are at the Nordic House. It’s 2 pm so the band are a little less hyped, and possibly a little more hungover then when I caught them on Day 2. It’s their 4th show of the festival, so its understandable. They perform a set of Innra songs, including the wonderful ‘Blue Skies’ which is entirely appropriate today as the weather is freezing with bright blue skies. ‘Flying Dragons’ finishes the set with Hildur declaring it get favorite song. It’s becoming mine too.

Júniús Meyvant has slipped under my radar until now, when I catch him playing in a bank of all places. The bank has been gone to the trouble of printing his name on to bottles of Coca Cola to mark the event but he seems unswayed. He plays a short set of Americana style acoustic songs, which is odd considering he’s from the Westmann Islands. That’s not his real name, no. In any case, I’m impressed by this young troubadour.

Vök make even less sense in the bank but I have one of their cokes too. This concert in a bank thing is strange but has pulled a massive crowd of mainly Icelanders. Vök are unfazed. That saxophone still doesn’t grab me. I think I’m going have to work at it.

I’m unimpressed that East India Youth have canceled their set at Harpa tonight. It’s the second big name to cancel (Jungle were first)—both U.K. acts as it happens. East India Youth give some story about how their passports are embargoed, but it’s a real shame.

Úlfur Úlfur (‘Wolf Wolf’) are playing their brand of Icelandic rap. It’s a peculiar thing and I see one kid with fingers firmly in ears but it kind of works. The two of them shout over their backing tracks, back and forth between each other. It’s a change of pace, put it that way. The announcement “This one’s about girls and sex” sends a few more of the crowd scuttling for the door.

Future Islands, recently received attention due to their ‘Seasons’ single but have actually been a going concern since 2007. This had given them plenty of time to hone their craft and the back catalogue to service. The other point of note is frontman Samuel T Herring’s case of ‘dance as if no one is looking,’ as the maxim goes. At various times, he twerks, uses imaginary lassos, bounds, licks his hands, scissor kicks, face slaps, chest beats and punctuates all with poignant gestures. This is not to exclude his unusual and always surprising growl, which is used to good effect throughout. He is an enigmatic frontman, which is a good job at his three bandmates barely crack a smile between them. By the time they play ‘Seasons,’ we are putty in their hands. Oh, and Samuel? We’re all watching.

Retro Stefson (pictured) have stepped in for no shows Jungle. It’s no bad thing. The Stefson boys are on top form and bring their rhythms to Gamla Bíó to good effect. They soon have the crowd—the ones who decided not to queue for Caribou in the freezing cold—hopping and jumping around. ‘Glow’ whips up a frenzy and they can’t put a foot wrong.

Logi must have ran from Gamla Bíó to nearby but wholly unpronounceable Þjóðleikhúskjallarinn, which is a basement in the Icelandic National Theater. He’s here for the final Young Karin show. It’s a belter, too. The bass makes my bones shake but the vocals and sampling are superb. In such an intimate venue, it’s impossible not to dance. If Samuel T. Herring was here, it might prove too much for him.

Originally published on Iceland Review online.