Thursday, November 03, 2022


Hekla Magnúsdóttir                                                             Salka Valsdóttir

Iceland Airwaves started last night, albeit unofficially, with various off-venue acts (two shown above).

This morning I had an appointment with the President of Iceland, along with music from Sycamore Tree and Júniús Meyvant at the Grund nursing home (below):
In the afternoon I saw JFDR at a Yeoman, high fashion boutique. Playing amidst the clothes, at times it appeared as if she was performing in a closet. She was charming, confident, heavenly:
I stopped in to see Apparat Organ Quartet, now a trio since the demise of the late great Jóhann Jóhannson. They joked that they were an Apparat cover band (“Better than the original”). The performance space was dangerously overfilled so I had to make an early exit. I made up for it by dashing over to the Norren Husið to catch a set by Dawda Jobarteh, a Gambian player of the African harp. He was exceptional:
Fríkirkjan, the church right next to my apartment, featured Systur, three women singing alt-folk songs but they started of with them and their band singing an acapella Icelandic hymn:
I then went to the Art Museum where I saw Júniús Meyvant for the second time today; he was appearing with a full band. I’m beginning to think that Júniús needs a new drug, and definitely not lithium. I left after a few songs. Going over to Gamla Bío I was pleasantly surprised by the Kaktus Einarsson band, playing real pop songs, with real instruments. An even nicer surprise was seeing Ásthildur Ákadóttir (of Pascal Pinon fame) on keyboards:
I had secured a front row balcony seat so I stayed put through Nation of Language, which was almost all programmed instruments except for Vocals, Bass and a smattering of guitar. They reminded me of 80s synth-pop. They were a hit with the audience, however:
So then JFDR played, for the third time in 24 hours. A bad sound mix blemished the set, although it was nowhere near the disaster of the 2018 Airwaves. Backed by Josh Wilkinson, Unnur Jónsdóttir and Karl Pestka on strings and sister Ásthildur on piano, JFDR led the group through some of her songs, both old and new. The ensemble played well and at times JFDR was a real guitar-slinger. I've gotten a kick out of her fearless attitude since I first saw her and her sister perform in 2009, also at Airwaves:

By Professor Batty


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