David Fricke, a reporter for Rolling Stone, attended his first Iceland Airwaves in 1988. After attending the 2014 festival, David published an article about a week later, stating that “there is something to be said for marinating impressions; lasting effect creeps up on you.” The acts that left a lasting impression on the author are listed below, along with a few quotes from his Rolling Stone article. Click here to read David’s full review in Rolling Stone.
Sindri Eldon and the Ways
“From this distance, it is solid retro-armed determination, a smart, crisp step back to his own way forward.”
While the band experienced some technical difficulties at their first show, David describes their second set as “funky, iridescent honey, ready for record.”
Megas / Grísalappalisa
“In international terms, this 40 minutes of mayhem was like the Icelandic Bob Dylan flanked by the local Foo Fighters.”
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
This Australian band “When the band jumped back to long, straight jamming, it was a train with brains, notching the groove with occasional shifts in rhythm and riff but no dip in focus or speed. For as long as they maintained that, the Gizzards were a hot ride.”
Jóhann Jóhannsson and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra
The orchestra performed Jóhann Jóhannsson’s hour-long score to the documentary “The Miner’s Hymns.” “The Iceland Symphony’s billowing translation framed the black-and-white images of hunched, coal-dusted men at work, then marching to save their jobs, with larger grandeur, a sympathetic minimalism big enough to cover the passing – cruel but inevitable – of a working class.”
“In a festival where singers and bands simply play their songs in the short time allowed, [her performance] was moving, instinctively calibrated performance.”
The Vintage Caravan
“In 2013, this young trio from the harborside town of Álftanes, south of Reykjavik, showed up at Airwaves like it was 1969-73, plowing an old-school field of heavy blues-rock, with singer-guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson already excelling at Grand Funk-prime hair.”
Samaris / Kelela
While David wasn’t a fan of the Knife’s last performance before disbanding, he thought the opening act, Samaris, was more impressive: “the motion and enveloping reach of the small hooks and signing were a sublime bath.” David also praised Kelela, a D.C. born vocalist and noted both are “about setting and summits, not songs,” according to David.
Rokksafn Íslands: The Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘N’ Roll
Outside of the festival, David visited the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Located in Keflavik, the museum is “as eccentric in its telling the tale it celebrates,” and features everything from photography, videos, and albums to costumes worn by Icelandic artists and old instruments they used.
Visit the Iceland Airwaves website to learn more about the festival and to read about all performers.