One week has past since Iceland Airwaves finished and after getting
our feet back on solid ground and trying to compose ourselves it’s
time to summerize Airwaves’11. When doing so we’ll highlight those
moments which didn’t make it in earlier reviews and picking some K7
highlights and low-water marks.
Reykjavík Art Museum
These guys tried to be secretive and mysterious to the point where
they lost contact with their audience. With smoke enough to choke the
front row and lack of light made the band almost impossible to see for
the better part of the set. It’s like Beach House doesn’t want to
really make the most out of the gig. And it sounds just like on
record, it’s just to perfect… almost like on record. The entire
point of seeing a band live is lost. Well except the fact that I now
get to say ”I saw Beach House on Iceland”.
Not worth it though. Maybe these guys need a break from touring? I
don’t know. Maybe I’m just spoiled after a cavalcade of great live
Of Monsters and Men
This young group is said to be the next big thing out of Iceland with
their folky approach on pop but I’m not so easily convinced. When an
entire set is spent waiting for that one last song you’re still a
one-trick pony. Admittedly OMAM do that trick very well and puts that
silly smile on your face but in order to be the next big thing you
need more than just that one song.
Cute, but have some growing to do.
Lockerbie looks like they’re barely of legal drinking age but that
doesn’t matter when you make pop music that good. When compared to Of
Monsters and Men above I for one believe that these guys are more
likely to be the next big thing. If you absolutely need put that
rather absurd title on any up and coming band.
The audience was small to begin with put grew as the set progressed. I
was worried about how these guys were gonna be live after seeing a
youtube video that scared me off but during the week I heard friends
raving about their brilliance live (they of course played their fair
share of off venue gigs). As many other Icelandic band they manage to
combine regular pop music with elements from their own string section
and that just makes me wonder… what’s up with the music education on
Iceland? How do these kids manage to compose string arrangements? K7
loves them to bits either way.
Reykjavík Art Museum
Pretty music, one-sided live performance. The singer danced the same
steps over and over, never standing still. Maybe Austra isn’t the best
live act ever, but I can tell that her whimsical manner is real and
that she really can’t be still. This is just to much fun. And it is,
and it should be. K7 let’s Austra do her thing while getting in line
for… a special someone.
Yes, that special someone is John Grant. K7 had the pleasure of
running into him again at the airport when arriving to Iceland. We
talked about touring, the magic of Iceland, him working with Swedish
producer Kleerup (”we’re both control freaks”) and how to get on a
crowded bus with 345 other tired and grumpy passengers shoveling and
muttering swearwords in Icelandic.
When he did his off venue gig at KEX there was a line outside with
enthusiasts trying to get in. K7 was in that line, in the heavy rain
and cold winds. Packed like penguins we tried to keep warm but to no
avail. The warmth came from two open windows from where John’s warm
and soothing voice spilled out.
The main gig at Harpa left everyone in the venue with goose-bumbs and
a lump in their throat. He started with walking up to the mic and
telling everyone about his upbringing, him being gay and the
difficulties that he faced as a consequence. His voice seems to
tremble and we kind of understand. Not really, but almost.
He gets all of the more well known songs out of the way early on which
leaves room for a more personal connection with the audience.
John declares his love for Iceland and we declare out love for John.
It works both ways, there’s even a dialog between him and the crowd
during the set. K7 smiles stupidly at this.
There’s so much to say and John is a K7 sweetheart for a reason. We
thank him for his warmth and honesty.
With John Grant Kentuckyseven rounded up Airwaves’11 in the best way
possible. Coming home to Sweden was a stark reminder of reality. With
the magic of music though we will survive this winter as well.
Until next time.
/Maja, K7 correspondent