Friday, October 16, 2009

Iceland Airwaves Update - Day Three

The day program at the Nordic House is getting better and better, with interesting acts doing personal and intimate songs in this cozy auditorium. The first act today was billed as Oh Land, (Nanna Øland Fabricus), a gifted natural singer from Denmark who played her beautiful songs on piano (both grand and toy) with a bassist. Her song I Feel Like Running described her feelings when she had been told that she would never dance again (she had been a ballerina). Heavy stuff:

A bass-less Casio Kids (from Norway) normally play the big venues (as they would later that night) but fit in here just as well with their "acoustic" set. They've been known to do a kindergarten tour from time to time, but make no mistake, they are great musicians- George Martin even produced one of their albums:

The next act was Toggí, who usually fronts a band, but played solo today. His well-crafted songs were interspersed with hilarious banter. If he decided to pursue stand-up he would be a knock-out. A group of preschoolers came in to enjoy the show as well:

Finally, Agent Fresco performed completely acoustically. The lead singer and main writer of the group led us on a trip through his emotional art-songs, concluding with a devastating song about his father's dying days:

I ran into Wim Van Hooste (sitting behind the photographer in the Toggi shot), whose Icelandic music blog I've followed for years. He introduced me to his Icelandic friend Heiða and we all shared notes. I managed to squeeze in a couple more off-venue shows including the Nick Cave-inspired Hudson Wayne at the fabled 12 Tonar record store:

For the start of the evening festivities I saw the Icelandic Surf band Bárujárn ("Bare Iron") ripping it up at Sódóma. The addition of a theremin gave the music a nice coloration. Great, loud, crazy, with a bit of a tendency toward heavy metal, but I'm not a purist:

Stopped by Iðno and heard composer Daníel Bjarnarson and his chamber orchestra. Real classical music, although seeing Daníel conduct at the keyboard of a Fender Rhodes piano gave me a little flashblack of Gil Evans. The first piece, All Time to Silence Comes was a tone poem and most effective. They played some additional works which were all well received:

I hadn't got quite my fill of riot grrrls, so I returned to Grand Rokk to see the Danish group Darling Don't Dance. Not as polished as last night's Vicky but more in the style of the old Minneapolis group Babes In Toyland. They even did some effective feedback solos. Makes my heart glad to see these young women empowered with high-power Marshall amplifiers- AND THEIR GUITARS WERE IN TUNE!:

By Professor Batty


Blogger Rose said...

Takes my breath away!
We're off to the mountains for a night, then Speckled Bird CD release party tomorrow night!

Blogger Maria Alva Roff said...

Ben's a nice guy, despite his feedback loopiness :) Q: Did you enhance his possessed look on purpose or does your camera register what you're secretly thinking? hehe...

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Maria ~ I usually take out the red eye, but it did seem to fit. I was more bothered that of all the acts I saw, his was the only one that didn't have his kit together.

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