Photos and Article by Kevin McGann
Last week on Thursday, November 2nd the Best Indoor Festival for 2022 (European Festival Awards) returned for its latest installment. Iceland Airwaves first kicked off in an airplane hangar in 1999 and is now regarded as one of the best showcases for both local Icelandic talent as well as other global artists. The festival took place from November 2nd through the 4th and involved multiple venues, from the Art Museum to an old church, a local bar, to a hostel, and many others.
The unofficial start happened on Wednesday the 1st with the 4th birthday celebration of indie music company INNI. Hosted by venue IÐNÓ, the night celebrated the sights, sounds, and even smells of local artists Kjartanholm, Sin Fang, Lala Lala, Gemma Doherty, JFDR, and perfumery/art collective Fischersund, along with others. Artist Lilja Birgisdóttir welcomed us with a spritz of Fischersund’s fragrance No.23 which, like their other fragrances, are inspired by the clean, natural scents that can be found in Iceland’s unique landscape.
Thursday saw the official kickoff of this year’s Airwaves festival with a fun, energetic set from local dance-punk phenom, Kvikindi at the IA conference center. From there it was on to the soulful, pop, R&B of Jazzygold at the Kex Hostel and UK pop sensation Freddie Lewis at Gaukerinn. Also at Kex that night was Lithuanian artist Monikaze who played to packed house of electronic fans who danced to her unique blend of music, beats and vocals.
Two of the night’s biggest artists, Yard Act and Hatari, played at the largest venue of the festival, Iceland’s Art Museum. The post-punk, rock outfit Yard Act out of Leeds, West Yorkshire came out swinging with a hard-charging, tight set that had fans screaming for more (all sets were limited to 40 minutes). Reykjavic’s own Hatari brought their blend of performance art rock, industrial beats and techno stylings and put on a show. Taking advantage of the Art Museum’s stage and lights they put on one of the most visually interesting sets of the entire festival. Not to be outdone though, Belgium’s Whispering Sons took the stage at Gamla Bíó for a blistering set to close the night. Lead singer Fenne Kuppens performs like a soul possessed and tore through their tight set of self-described “Belgian post-punk breathing dark and atmospheric sounds”.
Sin Fang and Kjartan Holm: