Iceland Airwaves 2010: Saturday

With Robyn, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ghostigital...
ieland-airwaves-2010.jpg
Saturday is heralded with a stumble into the grey Reykjavik streets accompanied by a very sore head and an alarmingly empty wallet. Last night’ s partying has done some serious damage to the bank account.

But it doesn’t matter – this afternoon is the Blue Lagoon Chill, and everyone bundles onto coaches to be shuttled into the middle of the uniquely bleak landscape to soak away the pain in some geothermically-heated pools.

A beer or two in the milky blue steaming water later and the off-kilter equilibrium has been restored, as we listen to sporadic techno and splash our appreciation of Kraftwerk.

Back to town in a chaotic coach journey full of neat Jack Daniels, face paint and glitter, and we roll off for another round of venue wandering and aural astonishment. Astonishment is certainly what everyone who goes to see Factory Floor feels - within 0.2 seconds of walking in, tinnitus sets in as the trio’ s noisy soundscape smacks you in the face and wraps its way around the back of your brain, scrambling it in the process.

As usual there’s no real interaction, or defined song boundaries, just some serious samples, beats, sudden snares that stab you in the ears, a wash of noisy guitar and a few Nico-esque moans from Nik Colk, a woman so terrifyingly cool she’s subzero. Suitably pole axed, we stagger out into the night. It’ s time for some local sounds, so we head off for fresh-faced quintet Mammút, who are as cute as buttons and play a solid repertoire of post punk that ricochets about the sweaty venue. Lead singer Kata sounds a little like Dolores O’ Riordan and demands attention with her shock of red hair and sparkly silver Adam Ant-esque jacket. This group are terrifyingly young and recall the wide-eyed enthusiasm of Los Campesinos! in their delivery. They’re definitely ones to check out.

As guilty as we feel watching home grown talent whilst surrounded by the riches of Iceland’ s musical community, there’ s no better excuse to do so than our very own Clash party that’ s being held in the starkly iconic art gallery, a former prison whose massive all-white hall is flanked at the top by what was clearly the cells. We’ re here to see electro folk wonders Tunng, who are 45 minutes late. The wait is worth it for the sound quality they achieve, as their set rings out clear as a bell to the far reaches of the room. Opener ‘Don’t Look Down Or Back’ lulls us into a calm submission with its loveliness, offering a brief respite from the mania of the night. Next up is the fantastic Bombay Bicycle Club, whose album ‘ Flaws’ is in our list of top albums of 2010. The crowd are rather rowdy now, but obviously feeling the love as they gamely and drunkenly sing along.

The quartet are obviously having a ball, beaming their way through their set, with highlights being ‘Evening/Morning’ and ‘Always Like This’ . We leave with adoration ringing in our ears – it turns out that the boys from Crouch End are pretty popular over here.

The night is starting to unravel and Clash is beginning to lose our grip on reality, a state of affairs that’ s not helped by the experimental Ghostigital, whose crazy setup feels like a very silly art installation. Lead singer Einar Orn, formerly of the Sugarcubes, stumbles about the stage shouting random words that flash up on the projector at the back while everyone stands about stroking their chins, apart from us and the bloke from Drowned in Sound, who can’t help but laugh manically every time the word ‘ BOINK’ flashes up. With another Sugarcube, Siggi Baldursson, manning the drum kit, it’ s no surprise that Bjork’s in the crowd supporting her former band mates.

We run off giggling into the night to participate in the climax of our very own Clash party back in the art gallery with the revered Robyn, Iceland’ s adored Swedish pop queen. The queue runs off around the block, with everyone desperate to catch her. The blonde singer takes to the stage in a baggy white outfit and is clearly on form as she bounces around the stage between her band, blasting out the hits and thanking Bjork for dinner. Seriously, that woman is everywhere in this town.

And so we round of proceedings dancing in Kaffebarinn, the after party venue of choice, drinking vodka and making friends with the international crowd in cosy quarters. What a day.

Read more of Clash's Iceland Airwaves 2010 coverage HERE.

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-