Iceland Airwaves 2016 – Day 0

It’s finally here – Iceland Airwaves ’16! Holly, Norberto and I spent a few days in Stockholm, Sweden before heading to Reykjavik on Tuesday to get ready for the official opening of Airwaves on Wednesday. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved we did in fact eventually make it to our rental apartment by dinnertime. We were hoping to pick up our festival wristbands today, but a late flight departure followed by the always-occurring-never-entertaining cluster that is the experience of taking the bus from the airport in Keflavik into the city ensured that we didn’t arrive until right at the same time that the media center closed for the day. I’m not sure how this happens every single trip, but the staff at the bus terminal always looks completely surprised and baffled by the number of arriving buses and exiting passengers who are looking for the shuttles to the their hotels. I mean, you sold these people the tickets. You should know they’re coming well before they end their 40 minute trip to the station. Fortunately we were still able to meet up with our friends Tristen and Andy who arrived earlier in the morning (and who also reported a complete debacle at the bus station…) and had time for some pizza at one of our favorite haunts, Eldsmiðjan, before heading out to catch a couple of shows.

Only a handful of venues were doing shows tonight, so we decided to stroll down to one of our favorite haunts, Lucky Records, to catch up with our friend Ingvar and see a couple of bands. First up was Epic Rain (above), who we’ve enjoyed a few times before, but this set was a bit different, featuring a broader range of instruments including a harp and glockenspiel, and a whole lot of talented backing musicians. Lead vocalist Johannes was paired with a new singing partner this time around, and adding a female voice to the mix changed the complexion of the songs, creating a more natural sounding contrast. They also added some film projections to the show giving it a more multi-media vibe. The other performer we saw tonight was Teitur Magnússon, who in addition to his solo work is known for being the frontman of the reggae band Ojba Rasta. His solo project included close to a dozen fellow musicians and delivered a cross of folk and reggae. Teitur was joined on stage by none other than FM Belfast’s Árni Vilhjálmsson for the final number, and it was interesting to see Árni in a more straight-forward singing role and not in full-on performance mode.

That was it for our first night in Reykjavik. We’ve got a seriously full plate for tomorrow, and it includes some pretty cool stuff. But I’m going to leave you in suspense for now, because I really need some sleep…

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