Iceland Airwaves '07 - Day Three
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 Three: Friday, 19th October
Kalli is greeted by a threadbare audience. The lack of numbers is painfully apparent in the Reykjavik Art Museum, the largest venue for the festival. Still he soldiers on bravely, words pouring out of him like a torrent, attempting to wash our pains away with his yearning balladry. This is comedown music that delves deep, mining the rich seam of Elliott Smith and legion other troubled troubadours. Sweden's Loney, Dear arrives just in time, come to elevate us to a happier plane. The melodious ascent is completed with the bittersweet saturated 'Saturday Waits', a song that makes a plaything of our affections.
Showing us an altogether different side of the Scandinavian psyche are Danish dance-punks Trentemï¿½ller. There is no attempt to win us over by sweet increments, no, Trentemï¿½ller aim to hit you right between the eyes. Giant screens relay images of the burlesque, of Bettie Page and B-Movie actresses, surreal vistas made up of hands or legs all moving in bizarre time to the even more bizarre rhythms. Its dark menace pierces to the marrow, throbbing through the audience, the percussionist and guitars giving real physicality as main man Anders unleashes mechanical Armageddon. Powerful stuff.
Certainly it's all too much for celebrated Icelandic act Múm. They strive in vain to re-engage our blown minds. They are gleeful, and cute, and there are interesting murmurings from the large ensemble, but it's all a bit twee, their musical candyfloss nowhere near nutritious enough. Of Montreal offer something altogether more flavourful. The headliners rocket through much of current album 'Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?' their rabid take on glam rock stomping its platform heels all over the Art Museum audience. The players are dressed up in garish attire, angel wings, Sun god masks and the like, the freakish get-up perfectly complementing their tales of the unexpected. 'Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse' is extravagant and melodramatic, whilst 'Suffer For Fashion' is fiendishly gorgeous.