Alea Iacta Est. Iceland Airwaves 2013 is over.
We’ve been spending great time in Reykjavik, as usual.
But this time, the “cool” Music Festival of the northernmost capital city in the world had some very high UPs and very low DOWNs. This second thing pretty much shocked us as we really loved Airwaves 2012 (that you can even check in our video documentary here). We couldn’t really find anything too bad in the past edition, whilst this time we are a little bit upset by a large number of things.
For this reason, we are now going to make a list of what inspired us and what let us down, before writing a proper review of the whole event (but you can already check some pics HERE):
John Grant: he’s our personal hero from Airwaves13. We were delighted by his performance at POSITIVUS FESTIVAL in July but this time, playing an acoustic session with his guitarist only, he literally melted our hearts. His voice, his story as an artist and most of all as a man, his enthusiasm watching Kraftwerk 3D show – he was sitting close to us – and his attitude to make fun of problems (even the technical troubles with his keyboards) gave us shivers and emotions for the whole show. 10/10
Kraftwerk: their 3D show was the highlight of the entire festival, they were the headliners and truly never disappointed us. The performed all the famous hits, with stunning 3D projections inside Harpa’s main hall. Everything was perfect even if we were suffering sitting on the comfortable chairs of the venue: we wanted to dance a little bit more with their unique and original sound. This is history. 9/10
Eivør Pálsdóttir: she was our favorite disclosure. We went to her intimate show at the Nordic House and were more than once close to tears. Her warmth and sweetness touched us. She’s got a magical voice she’s not afraid to use, singing about her father, her country (Faroe Islands) and her love for Iceland. We were literally carried away by her presence and when we got out from the off-venue we felt like the air was that pure because of Eivør’s voice reaching it. 8/10
Múm: the super band from Iceland performed more than once, but the only true show we wanted to take part was the one planned inside the little church called Fríkirkjan. People everywhere, we were kind of trapped inside the building but it was a good prison for our souls, because of the band’s performance. They played more than two hours whilst wind was blowing outside, bringing all the attendees to another dimension. 7/10
Christine Hoberg: right before the festival we tried to put down a list of gigs to attend, but soon gave up. We decided to just let go, finding acts and performances day-by-day, following our instinct and inspiration. We went to Kaffibarinn to enjoy our favorite For a Minor Reflection and arrived pretty early. That move was absolutely rewarded by the girl able to perform all by herself before the post rock band. Christine is just special. She did some great vocal loops and our eyes and mouth were like big circles for the whole time. We fell in love with her sound, her smile and soon we will give you more information about her music. 6/10
Emiliana Torrini: first of all, we are huge fans of Emiliana. She is – directly or indirectly – one of the reasons why we ended up in Iceland with this project, or at least she is part of the soundtrack that brought us to realize Reykjavik Boulevard. That said, we were a bit disappointed by her performance at Harpa promoting her new work Tookah: she addressed the whole show only to icelandic people, without saying a word in english – despite the majority of festivalgoers is from abroad -, so we couldn’t understand a single word. A shame, because she was very delicate and sweet talking about her newborn and dedicating to him her songs (thanks for our icelandic friends for helping us out). Her voice was probably not powerful as it was in the past, and she seemed a bit tired: sometimes the backing vocals were much more incisive than hers. 5/10
Gold Panda: we had huge expectations and in this case have all been disappointed. Gold Panda is a great artist, no doubt about it. But this set was kinda too “heavy”, we came out from Reykjavik Art Museum with a great headache and nothing more. We decided to go to this show leaving Slow Magic set and that was probably one of the worst decision of the entire festival. People was dancing actually, but it was a saturday night, and we gotta find out if they were happy because of the arrival of the Christmas beer or because of Gold Panda’s Dj set. We go for the Tuborg. 4/10
Overcrowded Venues: that’s kind of weird, because one of the UPs of last year’s festival was the fact that all the venues were pretty full of people enthusiastic about music and art. Despite that, this year there was something wrong in this: the venues were so overcrowded that actually there was more people outside queuing than inside partying. Of course, not always, but we’ve been facing this problem for so many concerts that we decided that probably the Management decided to sell more, and care less. If you want to sell gazillions of tickets and then plan to give people the chance to watch their idols inside a place that can host something like maybe 50 people without any other additional show, you are doing it in the wrong way. 3/10
Retro Stefson: ladies and gentleman, the epic disappointment. Few months ago we introduced Retro Stefson with great enthusiasm, saying they were going to become the next big thing in the icelandic pretty busy music scene. We liked their approach to live shows and were completely amazed by their attitude on stage. Oh-oh: this year we completely changed our mind. They played at Reykjavik Art Museum and soon after the first songs the place was kinda half empty. They had a big camera on stage so we think maybe they were shooting a live music video of their performance, but we don’t know yet. We only know that the singer was caring too much about his clothes rather than to his singing. The songs were pretty much boring, being a continuous solo repetition where the guys were showing off their talent playing bass or drums, and we are not talking about Jones and Bonham here. Boring stuff. 2/10
Professionals: the most annoying thing of Airwaves13? The so called “professionals”. Photographers continuously blocking the view of the stages, sometimes even climbing on them to shoot at 1 inch from the singer’s face (flashing like an emergency light). With no respect at all for other photographers or people willing to enjoy a show. Sound technicians totally clueless on how to solve problems or even how to give a good sound inside a place like Gamla Bio that should be perfect to enjoy a show… This time we faced multiple disasters from the people working at Airwaves, it’s such a shame considering the high cost of the tickets (even for the media staff, being Airwaves the only Festival where even if you are there to give coverage and let other people know about it, you have to pay). We absolutely appreciate their enormous effort concentrated in very few days considering the huge number of shows, but sometimes several “mistakes” could make a total difference between a memorable festival and just another average edition. 1/10
This reportage would not have been possible without the support of
Our official sponsor for Airwaves 2013 – Geysir.is Car Rental Iceland