Seriously. I couldn’t even go out last night, even with the offer of free beer, pizza, more free beer and a few decent bands left to see. Airwaves this year managed to break me in ways that Eistnaflug, Illegal Dog fighting clubs, Reading and Glastonbury failed to do. When i woke up on the sunday, it was so difficult to type my review of NASA as my hands were shaking so much. and my ears were weeping spirit juice.
But despite several problems and a certain amount of cynicism on my part, i think this years Airwaves overall could be deemed a great success. When just about everyone could point to several moments when they said that they were having the time of their lives. but what about my highlights. Well read on me dearies…
The Lack of Arseholes: The thing that i noticed that i came across a lot fewer arseholes this year. I did miss certain places were flashpoints occurred (such as the Art Museum on Saturday night), but overall people seemed to be gracious, polite and friendly. From the security to the venue managers, to the bar staff. I would say that if you are going to spend an entire evening in a venue, take a minute to speak to the people who will be doing their best to give you a good time.
Egalitarian structure: Ok i did have a press pass that allowed me to get backstage at most of the venues, but if you kept your eyes open, then you would have ended up bumping to many of Iceland’s music stars who were milling around the place and taking in the same sights as well. And normally I’m a fairly cool, edgy “yeah, whateva'” type of guy. But i did become a little open-mouthed Fanboy when i met Dr Gunni of S.H. Draumur and Óttar Proppé from HAM. At least they were gracious in speaking to me, and never once looked pissed off or awkward at my disgusting essence invading their presence…..
The Sound: the one biggest gripe with airwaves this year from a lot of people was the sound quality at most of the venues. Either it was often extremely badly mixed (kick drum swamping out bass lines, vocals being inaudible, too much treble on guitars) or it was way too loud for a small venue or for when there were not enough people to absorb the sound (the decibel meter for We Aeronauts clocked in at over 100 Db and they are a folky band!). This year, so many people were wearing earphones and at one point Gummi from Reykjavik! asked to borrow my mp3 player headphones as he said his left ear was partially blown from the Thursday night. If we’re not careful, Airwaves could be deemed a health hazard!
The Queues: Now I’m not sure about what happened, but from the first night, there was a serious queue problem at the Art Museum/Sódóma/Venue, although other venues, such as Faktorý and Amsterdam experienced no such problems. Reached its zenith on Saturday when EVERYONE tried to get into the Art Museum to see Robyn which meant cues that nearly reached 200 metres. Not really sure how this can be solved if you have a major international star appearing. My rule is to hope that it is someone who you REALLY don’t want to see and avoid that place till later on.
Ok that was just a few things. Could spend hours typing over the smallest things, but instead I’ll have my own ICELAND AIRWAVES 2010 AWARDS!
Winner: It was so good that in the end it has to go to a whole night at a Venue. Thursday at NASA showcased some of the best in Icelandic Rock. The Fist Fokkers, kimono, Reykjavik!, Ensimi, S.H. Draumur, HAM each brought their own aspects to the game and the place went down in flames by the end of the night.
Runners Up: James Blake @ Venue (one of the best DJ sets I’ve heard in a few years) & Ghostigital @ Tjarnabio (surrealist power electronics from Einar Örn, Curver and their acolytes)
Honourable Mention: We Aeronauts @ Fakotrý, Sjálfsprottin Spévísi @ Amsterdam
PEOPLE I MISSED THAT I WANTED TO SEE: AMFJ, Chateau Marmont, Teeth, Vuk, The Hljoðakelttar night @ Faktorý, the Metal Hammer night @ Sódóma
WORST SEEN PERFORMANCES
Winner: JJ @ NASA. God they were very much overhyped and their songs suffered to a really crap stage presence and lack of craft. Made me angry and spiteful watching it.
Runners Up: Sing for me Sandra @ Amsterdam (really boring), Mínus @ Sódóma (delays meant that they didn’t play till 3am and it all felt and sounded wrong)
BEST BAR STAFF
Winners: Was a tie between Faktorý and Bakkus/Venue. This was due to the fact that they gave me free beer when i truly didn’t deserve it. Oh and they were really friendly and forgiving of my obvious drunken fool antics..
Runner Up: Den Danske Kro. we went here for our editorial meetings and it was a great little bar and the staff we very helpful there as well, even when we abused the 2 drink rules that we were given.
BEST DRESSED PERSON
Winner: John Rogers from Brianlove records was at Airwaves Sporting an extremely dapper all white Safari Suit with matching frilly shirt. and he never managed to get a single stain on it! result!
Runner Up: HAM’s Ottar Proppé had an exceedingly snappy tweed suit/red shirt Combo
Winner: the gogoyoko party on Friday. was invited by Alex from Kimono (whose lovely child has the best guilt ridden stare i ever seen) and again some free beer, intelligent chat and an office that made me weep tears of envy.
Runner up: The Brunch of Legends. Organised this before the gogoyoko party. Met several foreign music bloggers and had a great chat about music and got some decent gossip. May have also become a music promoter by accident. I’ve got to stop doing things by accident.
Best Aftershow Party: Obvious winner was Bakkus on Saturday. Both James Blake and Mount Kimbie were playing extended DJ sets that caused some major disturbances in the space-time continuum. also managed to have a little drink with MK & Mr Blake (again) along with most of the bar staff and they were exceptionally charming and wonderful. Bring James back next year!!
There are those things i could blab and mention about, but i am sworn to secrecy. and in the end we all managed to pull it together and have a great time. I salute you all.
I just don’t want to do it again (until next year….)