Iceland Airwaves 2012: Rockin’ Out with the Icelanders

SYKUR at Faktory

Arriving in Iceland is kind of like coming to an alien planet for the first time. It quite literally feels like you are on top of the world. The landscape is mostly flat due to the lava fields that little to no vegetation can live on and ranges on to a large gentle sloping mountain range. Everything is smooth from erosion including the clouds that blend into the mountains and make it hard to tell where which one ends and the other begins.

Reykjavik is a wonderful city with very hospitable people. Everyone there is very polite and share a lot of Canadian tendencies in general. It is very easy to feel at home here, well except the language barrier (but most people speak English perfectly).

But I am writing this post to talk about Iceland Airwaves 2012, so lets get to it!

This post will feature all the Icelandic artists I discovered and enjoyed while in Reykjavik.

SYKUR (photo above) brought exactly what you would expect – high-powered intense energy. You can tell from the atmosphere in the room (well you can’t tell in my video below) that Icelanders love this group.
Thorunn Antonia is one bad-ass bitch. She is a well-established vocalist within the indie scene having worked with bands, such as Fields and Junior Senior. But she turned away from her indie roots and decided to go in a new direction. Right now she is coming out with a new dance-pop album. It is clear from watching her at Airwaves that she is bound to be a gay icon. In one second of performing I turned around to see a crowd filled with cute gay boys going wild to her tunes. She is an all-in-one sexy-talented-fun babe.
Check out my last post about Thorunn.
Samaris (Photo: The Reykjavik Grapevine)
Samaris was a group that came completely out of left field for me (ha ha, sports reference on a music blog). I hadn’t come by any info of them in my research of Airwaves and was taken completely offguard by the singers beautiful, melodic voice. It helps that she sings in Icelandic, which in my opinion is a language made for music.Definitely worth buying their EP ‘Hljóma Þú’ on iTunes for around $6.
Olafur Arnalds at Eldhus

Ólafur is an Icelandic legend – one of the most influential artists out of Iceland of his time. He is famours in his own rite, but also for his amazing musical scores in several films. I saw two of his performances that were both equally magical. You can feel each note reverberate in the air and feel the tension between each note. He tells the audience at the beginning of his sets to not use their noisy cameras because it interrupts the environment of his style of music.

Listen to him below and check out his performance in the Eldhus here.


SOMETIME was pretty entertaining but they were not as good as expected. The lead singer’s vocals were not up to scratch compared to all the other Icelandic artists we saw that weekend. Nonetheless a good time. The cherry on the cake was that the singer was wearing a dress that resembled a Christmas tree – tinsel madness!
Mammut (Photo: The Reykjavik Grapevine)
Mammút is another band that is a legend in Iceland. They have been around for a while now, starting out as angsty teenagers with a punk-rock sound gradually maturing with beautiful vocals but still holding onto their rock roots. I saw this group perform at the Art Museum in Reykjavik to a huge crowd of people. Clearly an Icelandic staple. Watch this video too!

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