Iceland. It’s not the first place you think of going on holiday, let alone travelling to for a festival but that’s just what we did for Iceland Airwaves 2009. It wasn’t even that cold – it just pissed it down.
Obviously, apart from the fact we ate loads of fish, hotdogs and pizza (three of their national dishes) and drank loads of beer (a national drink), we saw some awesome bands that you’ll probably never hear of again or even care about right now. Here are six that we liked. Care about them!
We Made God
We saw this lot play their atmospheric alternative rock three times over the long weekend and it was absolutely by choice. With Magnus screaming his way through as many songs with the microphone as without and effervescent guitarist taking over the dancefloor of every crappy venue he can find, it’s no wonder they were a hit when they played the UK earlier this year. They’ll be back over here soon.
Watch We Made God live at Iceland Airwaves 2009
For A Minor Reflection
Now here’s a band for all you Explosions In The Sky fans. There are no vocals to speak of apart from wholly courteous between-song grace but when these youngsters pick up their instruments they cause a massive but beautiful sound, blending heavy, atmospheric rhythms with swirling, dynamic guitars. They have learnt their craft well and produce songs that ebb and flow like the Reykjavik tidal system. With a couple of Sigur Ros’ brothers in the band you’re probably already getting the righteous vibes about this lot and my word are they good value.
We only caught this lot one time in Amsterdam (just a confusingly named bar in Reykjavik) but egads we wish they played every night. Their furious hardcore was absolutely relentless and with frontman Heimir spending most of his time running through the crowd clawing at his head, most of the time you won’t know which way to look.
To say they wear their influences on their sleeve is not even a metaphor as their guitarist has got the QotSA logo from Songs For The Deaf tattooed on his arm – the one with the lone spunk floating around. Yep. With the singer flitting between tuneful Josh Homme moans and chirpy Alex Turner Arctic Monkeyisms, they’ve certainly found a style that works. This quartet is looking to bust the UK open in 2010 so keep an ear out.
Probably the most unpredictable of the six, this lot get some Dillinger Escape Plan comparisons bandied around but they’re not quite heavy enough to warrant them, they still rock out in that special, spazzy way. Some locals doubt whether they’ve actually got a second album in them but for the moment it’s ok because the first album’s pretty damn good.
Watch Agent Fresco live at Iceland Airwaves 2009
It was something of a comeback for Iceland’s most notorious metallers. After a five year hiatus the Reykjavik bruisers nailed two fantastic shows at the wonderfully-named Sodoma (yes, that means sodomy) and also at Dillon. The fact that Minus singer Krummi joined them onstage for a few songs only made their Botch-y madness all the more exhilarating. We remember seeing a girl emerging from the pit covered in someone else’s blood. Yummy.
Here’s a special mention for our friend Haukur who is in a band called Reykjavik!. They use the power of punk rock to slay that cursed city every damned day and released their latest album, The Blood in a sandpaper sleeve. It will ruin all your other CDs and you shouldn’t wipe your arse with it. Haukur is the editor of a very, very cool English-language paper over there called the Reykjavik Grapevine. You should go over there to read some real journalism.