Day three is going down as the windiest day of my life so far. According to The Weather Channel, the wind is at an average of 29mph – but honestly, it feels like a lot more than that. As my classmates and I were walking around the city this evening, we found ourselfs forced to a complete stop, or falling down entirely. It made for the perfect day to finish a culture story and take care of the last interviews. In other words, it was the perfect day to be productive.
Arstíðir played at Harpa Norðurljós at 12:20am, which seemed like a strange pairing. A late night show with a band that plays pretty mellow, folk-y music? Turned out that the match couldn’t have been better – with their entrancing, engaging sound, the crowd ate it up. It definitely helped that the ground all talks to the audience throughout the show, a trait probably adapted because they all take the reigns of ‘lead singer’ at least once throughout the set. Arstíðir has a stage precense that’s so demanding of your attention, it makes talking (or even thinking) about anything else difficult. The sound quality they brought with them was much better than any other show that has been at Harpa Norðurljós so far at Airwaves, and that made it possible for them to really show the crowd what they can do with the stringed instruments. The last song of the set was “You Again”, which was recently just released as a music video. “You Again” seemed to be the crowd favorite of the evening. If you’re not able to see Arstíðir any time soon, but enjoy their music, check out their World Café session – it’s able to give you a taste as to what you’re missing.
The Anatomy of Frank was the first off-venue show I was able to catch (at Bar 11,) and it was almost completely on accident. But, what a lucky accident it was. The group of five guys had an amazing connection with the audience, unlike anything else at all of the on-venue shows, they were able to get the entire crowd to sing with them at the very end, and were so entertaining in the banter that so many musicians seem to forget about. Even when they were calling out the crowd for being lazy, which would normally be annoying, it was light-hearted and entertaining. Bar 11 is a great place to hear bands play; the acoustics are great, it’s a nice space to be, the atmosphere gives you the grungy bar-feel without actually being too grungy, but it was too small for The Anatomy of Frank. It was hard to get through the door, let alone get a half-way decent picture. It will be interesting to see what happens with the group in years to come.
The evening of great music continued on with Farao at Harpa Norðurljós, an act that has been anticipated since March of this year, and it disappointed in no way. Even though she’s from Norway, all of her currently released music was recorded here in Iceland, and after she said that, the crowd seemed to warm up just a hair more – even though there wasn’t much more that needed to be warmed up to for them. With a voice so entrancing and haunting, it was hard to believe she could be even more engaging with the eye contact she made with the members of the audience. It felt like she was singing directly to you, even though the venue was completely full of 20-something-year-olds. It was easy to see she was comfortable with the music, but also a little bit nervous and possibly a little star-struck from the festival experience itself. The best part of the experience was the silence, though. It’s always refreshing when the crowd is quiet and polite, and every member is able to thoroughly enjoy the show. And Farao certainly makes it easy to do so.
It’s hard to believe that this experience of Iceland Airwaves is already half over, and I’m definitely not ready for it to be over any time soon. As always, excited to see what tomorrow will bring! Stay tuned.