Many new arrivals and Nordic acts will make people sit up and take notice for three days in the Icelandic capital. The musical offer is very broad.
In the center of Reykjavik, people have long become accustomed to the chatter of international languages, but when the clock strikes midnight and the streets are filled with people, it’s time to throw a big party again: since 2002, Iceland’s airwaves have been dense and diverse live programs presented in dozens of locations. Starting Thursday (November 2) again for three days. Everything can be reached within walking distance near the port, and sometimes even next door.
The focus is on Scandinavian artists, mostly from Iceland itself, and musically in the independent sector. Also, international business is mostly new and not well known. Over 100 bands and individual artists were announced this year, with a small focus on musicians from the Faroe Islands and Canada. One of the highlights of this year’s program is definitely Danish producer Trentemøller, once known as a minimalist techno DJ and now the leader of a band whose musical range extends into dark psychedelia. This was also recently tried in Vienna Arena, and in Reykjavik it will be the end of this world tour.
Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásjir Trausti performs a special concert with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in the modern Harpa Concert Hall. It sold out so quickly that a second appointment was scheduled. He will also appear in the internationally successful film “Monsters of Men” and will also present his documentary.
Daí Fryer, who competed for Iceland in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, is also likely to be known to a wider audience. Last year, Ukrainian folktronica band Go_A, also a former ESC participant, impressed.
Bombay Bicycle Club and popular post-punk quintet Squid form the spearhead of English acts in the line-up, while newcomers include indie rock band Yard Act from Leeds and mutant artist Freddie Lewis from Bristol, who also features narrative-style songs Sometimes reminiscent of Mike Skinner (“The Streets”).
American pianist Dustin O’Halloran provides a clear contrast in the band’s lineup; Its appearance shows the breadth of the show at the festival of the airwaves. The 2022 edition included, among others, a highly sensitive concert by jazz singer and Grammy Award winner Arooj Aftab in the delicately reverberating and comfortably heated Free Church (Fríkirkjan).
There are some Icelandic acts on the program that thrilled the audience last year. For example, the popular electronic trio “ex.girls” (in 2022 still under the original name “russian.girls”, but now renamed for some reason) is right on point. While the masterminds work on drum machines and effects equipment in the background, reminiscent of “Kraftwerk” shows, singer Tatiana Des Aldisar performs in front of the two. They bring their artistic dance songs from cold to ice cold.
It is unfortunate, as always, that you as a visitor miss most of the many concerts taking place at the same time. Or if you can no longer get to one or another club due to crowds. Some relief is provided by the fact that many artists play additional concerts during the day in so-called “outdoor venues” with free admission. For example, in the city’s record stores, like the slightly remote but spacious Lucky Records. Self-proclaimed Lo-Fi Electro Funk Luchadors “Revenge of Calculon” performed big there last year – in true style in colorful Mexican wrestler gear and with equally loud beats. Their brilliant afternoon performance was so well received that the Nottingham Pranksters were invited back.
So you can look forward to musical surprises when they hit the Icelandic airwaves again on Thursday. And the colorful surprises aren’t just on stage – when playful northern lights suddenly paint the night sky over Reykjavik while queuing in front of the club.
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