Iceland Airwaves '07 - Day Two
Arctic glaciers, volcanoes and awesome wilderness, Iceland is a place of extreme and stark beauty, a land like no other. And Iceland Airwaves is a music festival like no other. Each year downtown Reykjavik showcases the finest in Icelandic talent alongside quality European and American imports. It's an opportunity to see established and up-and-coming acts in intimate bars and clubs in the company of some of the most hospitable gig-goers in the world. And, what's best, no campsites.
Day Two: Thursday, 18th October
The two-tier Club NASA is the venue for some of today's most anticipated acts. English duo Slow Club are an impossibly indie affair and rather lovely with it. Galloping acoustic guitar, some primitive percussion and the intertwining boy/girl vocals help fashion gorgeous harmonies whilst their heart-rent-asunder lyrics evoke the romantic fatalism of the Sundays. From the sublime to the bizarre. Best Fwends are a real life Beavis and Butthead. Unfortunately they're not quite as funny. Having subjected us to perhaps the most unerotic striptease ever, the anarchic twosome run amok, throwing a series of ever more outlandish shapes and occasionally babbling into their microphones as their computer unleashes a cacophony of demented electro-punk. It's diverting and perverse and all a bit confusing.
The absurdly young members of Retro Stefson go for the joyous pop-rock angle, you've got to admire the versatility of the players, all eleventeen of them, but there are no melodies you'd care to remember. French dandies The Teenagers bring a little electro-rock glamour, their rake-thin frontman assuming some Jarvis Cocker inspired poses, whilst dispensing lines about love, death and Nico. They struggle to walk the line between kitsch and knowing, but are reprieved by some brilliantly crafted melodies.
A rock band entranced by dance music's kinetic energy, the UK's Friendly Fires are the most impressively grooving band on this bill. They've learnt a trick or two from The Rapture, rudeboy bass lines racing in tandem with hyper guitars and a bit of cowbell thrown in for good measure. Their lead singer is a limb flailing dynamo who looks curiously like Simon Amstell with a Mick Jagger pout. He provides a furiously vigorous focal point.
Critics have been extolling the virtues of Late Of The Pier for some time now. They certainly warrant some of that praise, but I can't help comparing them to Klaxons, a band whose Magick they've obviously attempted to appropriate, and find them lacking. The endeavour is there alright, 'Bathroom Gurgle' is a fiercely rocking collision of guitars and beats, but overall it seems they're trying a little too hard. Certainly the guy operating the drum machine is, hasn't he seen Pennie from the Automatic? Not a good look. Regardless, expect to see him and singer Samuel Dust, silver padded boiler suit and all, on the cover of NME someday soon.