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Iceland Airwaves Day 5: All Good Things...

07 November 2016, 12:00

After a long and exhilarating festival, the day has finally come: the end of Iceland Airwaves.

Like any good Sunday, the day starts slowly, with festival goers visibly exhausted as they walk through downtown Reykjavík during the day. Tonight’s highlight is undoubtedly PJ Harvey performing at Valshöllin, but after four hard days of running around the city to catch every show possible I decide to avoid big stadiums and keep things on the down low.

My first port of call is Prikið, where the weekly Lowercase Night is on. Each night sees artists perform live music to various films, and this week’s film was the 1966 Czech film Sedmikrásky, about two teenage girls whose pranks spiral out of control. The music accompanying it was performed by two thirds of Kælan Mikla (pictured below, photo by Daníel Starrason), a dark nihilistic synth punk band, that played loopy synths and deep roaring bass as we watched the bohemian girls reach the bottom of the barrel.

Kælan Mikla by Daníel Starrason

Gaukurinn hosted Una Stef, whose poppy jazz music was perfect for gearing the festival down. Two of the songs she performed stood out: one she wrote about love when she was 15, and another called “Von” (“Hope”) that was written after she gave birth to her son last year. Meanwhile, the indie poppers of Vio unleashed a chilled out set at Húrra, whose songs all sort of melded into one.

Following them were the genre-defying Agent Fresco, who play an elusive mixture of prog, alt metal, and math rock. Having just returned from a six week European tour, the dynamic outfit is absolutely on point, bringing the festival to an explosive end for the throng gathered by playing a selection of their biggest hits.

Hormoner by Florian Trykowski

Skipping out to catch the end of Hórmónar, I finally get to see what all the fuss is about. The winners of Músiktilraunir 2016, Iceland’s Battle of the Bands, Hórmónar’s magic lies in their ability to slowly build up energy and then unleashing it with devastating results. The singer (pictured above, photo by Florian Trykowski) in particular deserves praise for pushing her voice to new heights in each song, and then continuing to push it past its breaking point. The final song is a maelstrom of PTSD and pent up anger and truly brings the festival to a close.

Outside I see attendees mill about for a spell, ponder if there’s an afterparty before scattering to the four winds. After five days of well curated music, it’s time to finally rest those eardrums and sober up, because today is a Monday, and nothing good ever happens on a Monday.

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