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Iceland Airwaves 2014 – Day Four report

10 November 2014, 11:55 | Written by The Line of Best Fit

Reykjavíkurdætur provided a burst of bonkers for those who didn't get up early and queue for tickets to the headline shows. The rap collective - currently 19-women strong - formed at a poetry night and deliver a set at Hurrá that was fun and fantastical as it was jarring and confusing. We hadn’t a clue what they were singing about, but there's a song about Tinder in there somewhere. [PB]

Next door at Gaukurinn, East of My Youth drew from a similar orchestral electronic as Austra but at their second ever show the Icelandic duo managed to carve out something new through an overdriven vocal effervescence from singer Herdis and a warm complexity to beats and loops. It was a performance brimming with a confidence, joy and a bucket-load of bass. When Herdis found the space within the rumbling, dramatic melodies and dubby drops to let loose, there were signs of something very special going on. [PB]

The War On Drugs are drawing the year of their lives to a close with the same ineffable elegance with which it began. Though a couple of songs from earlier albums are dotted around this almost-headline set, it’s understandably – and very agreeably - very Lost In The Dream focused, with “Under The Pressure” and “Red Eyes” in particular turning this personality-devoid aircraft hanger of a venue into the most warm and welcoming place on the island. What the Vodafone Music Hall lacks in charm it makes up for in prowess - thanks to a remarkable, crystal clear sound system, the richness of the band’s music floats out of the speaker’s a treat, with frontman Adam Granduciel’s playful, classic rock-mocking guitar solos never having sounded better. A graceful triumph. [TH]

Though festival goers throughout Europe and North America have become accustomed to seeing The Flaming Lips’ name atop a bill, it’s actually been fifteen years since they visited Iceland, and so their ‘circus comes to town’ shtick – there are glitter cannons, monsters in huge inflatable costumes, Santa Claus and a big balloon that says ‘FUCK YEAH ICELAND’ all within the first two songs – is greeted with all the wide eyed wonder of a crowd who by in large had no idea they were in for such a spectacle. And, even if you have seen it before, it’s hard not to be wowed by it – and the fact that it’s actually a mere visual accompaniment to songs as strong as “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” only adds to the fun. If you didn’t enjoy it, you might be dead, and all your friends and family probably don’t even miss you, because you sound like a miserable git. [TH]

For the last show of the festival, it appeared every one of the many thousands of ticket holders was attempting to get in to Hurrá to see the inimitable Zebra Katz. Those who did manage to catch a glimpse certainly get put through the mill – Katz arrives wearing a gimp mask (“Sex sells, sex sells”, he repeatedly tells us) and playing RnB so slow and twisted one would be forgiven for running away in fear. But as each track got faster and more melodic, and Katz removed more and more clothes, it suddenly became the biggest party of the festival. By the time “I’m a Read” dropped, the stage was full of dancing audience members, and Katz found himself suspended from the lighting rig on the ceiling, all without missing a beat. [TH]

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