Saturday, November 05, 2022


The weather, while still warm by November standards, had turned a bit windy, so I spent most of the afternoon in the hotpots at Vesturbæjarlaug swimming complex. While there I talked with some Airwaves attendees and even a couple of performers (Hi, Pale Moon!) I spent a long time in conversation with Lárus Halldór Grimsson, a Icelandic music veteran who had been in the prog-rock band Eik in the seventies. He was full of stories; he had even hung out with David Bowie! He knew everybody in Iceland, and was full of arcane references, but I think I surprised him when he mentioned Baggalútur and I mentioned that I had seen them perform. I spoke of Pascal Pinon and he said that he knows the twins father well. We also spoke of the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson whom he knew back in Jóhann’s days in Ham.

I reluctantly left the pool to get ready for the evening’s festivities, which started off in the Smekkleysa off-venue where the Electronica duo Pellegrina, a band whose name sounded like a disease. Indeed, they were afflicted with a strong case of mid-bass-itis:
Gróa, a favorite of mine from the 2018 Airwaves came on next:
Bouncing on the stage with their hype dancer… the three-piece band emits infectious energy which the attendees eat up. The buildup and release of each song becomes more intense as the show goes on, with discordant instrumental clashes competing with repeatable lyrics, all blending into a chaotic riotous bundle of joy.” ~ Gabríel Benjamin, Line of Best Fit
Gróa is Fríða Björg Pétursdóttir, Hrafnhildur Einarsdóttir, and Karólina Einarsdóttir and they are rowdier than ever. The already high energy level in the tiny venue was boosted considerably when Marta Ákadóttir, one of the fabulous Ákadóttir sisters, began drumming and dancing with them. When Marta took off her cargo pants and climbed up on a balcony next to the stage (wearing bloomers on her bottom with the logo “Granny Pants” stitched on them) the place went berserk.

I actually knew of Marta’s dancing talent before hand, so I was pleasantly surprised to see her collaborate with my favorite Icelandic “riot grrls.” After the set I spoke with them briefly (as they were cooling off outside) and I thanked them profusely for their great show. SMILES ALL AROUND. I mentioned to Marta that I had seen her videos (see link previous) and she was mortified/thrilled. “I thought no one had seen those! I did them for a class,” she said, with another big smile.

Tonight’s play was the musical Sem Á Himni, originally a Swedish production. It is a crowd pleaser, but not really my cup of tea. I had read that the big production number (at the end of the first act) was so good that the rest of the play suffered in comparison. I left right after it: if that was the play’s high point (and it was very good) I didn’t want to see any more. Well sung, but lifeless staging, especially compared to the two previous plays I saw. Definitely dinner theatre fare:

After leaving the play I went on the prowl. First stop was Gamla Bío, with Axel Flovent from the UK playing his bummer songs, backed by a full band:
From there I went to Airwave Headquarters, a venue in the old Kolaportið building, where the Faroese rapper Marius DC was… well… rapping… in Faroese:
A quick stop at Hurrá, a small club, where I saw the guitar band Brimheim, led by Faroese musician and songwriter Helena Heinesen, pounding out three chord masterpieces. Hurrá has consistently had the best sound of any the venues:
I headed back to Fríkirkjan, the church on the pond. Arny Margret, a capable singer-songwriter was there. She mentioned that she had played her first public performance a year ago in that very place. She only had one song then, but more tonight, with very tasteful accompaniment from a pianist and electric bassist:
My apartment was only 20 meters away from the church and my bed was beckoning, so farewell, Airwaves 2022!

By Professor Batty


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