Iceland Airwaves 2006: Wednesday and Thursday; Sightseeing and Hot Club de Paris

NOTE: This is the first part in my much delayed “who knows how long this is going to take” series on my concert-going experience at the Iceland Airwaves festival this year in Reykjavik (yes, I finally learned how to spell it without looking it up), Iceland. Enjoy!

OCTOBER 19, 2006

Yesterday I go into town somewhere between 6 and 7am. I’m not even quite sure. I rode on the plane from JFK literally surrounded by We Are Scientists. The cute one was 2 rows in front of me, I think the other cute one was two rows in back, the funny one was back and to the right, and their tech guy (who’s butt crack I saw about 16 times over the course of the 5 hour flight…seriously) was diagonal from me. I ended up behind them when they made us go through customs upon ARRIVAL at the airport. (It’s really so much fun trying to see if you have any sort of balance to take your shoes off one at a time after a red-eye transcontinental flight.) Ended up losing there somewhere along the line.

I’m a bit sad I didn’t get to see them last night (Wednesday) because Rachel and I decided to book a tour to see the Northern Lights rather than hit the shows last night–the first “official” night of the festival. I say official in quotes because yes, it’s officially the start of the Iceland Airwaves festival, but really the main days are tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. It’s when the biggest bands play and when most people are finally in town.

It looked a lot less cooler than this in person. I had to leave my shutter open a really long time.

Even though my cell phone seems to be in working order (I’m on some OgVodofone network), it has refused to change time to match my new time zone, so now I have to keep adding 4 hours to the time when I look at my phone. Then in the afternoons I have to add 12 because they use a 24-hour clock here. Believe you me, it gets totally confusing when I try to set my alarm at 5pm to go off at 19:45pm Iceland time to wake up from my nap. “Add 12 to 5pm, then add 2:45, minus 12, minus 4, er…” (This is usually when I start crying.)

Yesterday I basically got all the Reykjavik touristy stuff out of the way–yup, in ONE DAY. This city is so tiny, and there ain’t much to do here but drink, eat, and try to stay warm. I got to see the ridiculously scary-looking church, Hallgrimskirkja (which I will continue to simply call “The Church” as there’s no way in hell I will ever be able to remember its proper 14-letter name).

The imposing Hallgrimskirkja church.

We went up the bell tower and got a great view of the city.

On top of the world, and freezing my butt off. I was also really upset that I forgot to bring my polarizing filter with me to Iceland.

Saw the Sun-Craft sculpture on the north shore, which is a modern-day representation of Iceland’s viking past, and we scared some ducks and swans by Tjorn lake as well as spotted the most bizarre looking clouds.

Up close and personal with the ducks and swans of Tjorn lake.

I swear, this is how these clouds really looked. I’m NOT making this stuff up.

This afternoon we did some more touristy stuff, walking around Austurvollur square on our way to meet Jasper at Hresso. There we saw the Althingi houses of Icelandic parliament and the country’s man cathedrial, Domkirkja. At Hresso I bought two official Iceland Airwaves Naked Ape tshirts, one of the band Reykjavik! for me and one of Jeff Who? for someone totally awesome.

Around 4:30pm we headed to the record store 12 Tonar, because Rachel wanted to check out this band she’d heard of called Hot Club de Paris, from Liverpool, England. We got there maybe 10-15 minutes before the band was supposed to go on. It wasn’t crowded at all so we headed down this steep circular staircase to check out the pop rock cds and vinyl. It was there that we realized that CDs cost around 30 USD. Rachel wanted to buy a Franz Ferdinand painting but I commented that it probably was just for display and not actually for purchase.

As 4:30 creeped closer, the tiny record shop started filling up. By the time the English trio took their places, there was nary room for another body–in fact the crowd started spilling out past the steps leading up to the door, with people staring through the front window to which the bands’ backs were facing. Someone from the record shop started pouring out little plastic cups filled with red wine.

But before they started their set, the Moshi Moshi recording artists asked the crowd if they had any extra water to drink–they didn’t have any because everything is so expensive in Iceland. Someone handed over their bottle of Evian, which Hot Club declared they were not going to give back since guitarist Matthew Smith had a cold–yet for some illogical reason Matthew decided to drink from the bottle first, therfore spreading his germs throughout the entire group as his bandmates swigged from the same bottle.

Hot Club de Paris sing their little hearts out.

Dressed up in sweaters and collared shirts with mussed up hair and day-old stubble (and with bassist Paul Rafferty wearing the dirtiest pair of sneakers known to man), Hot Club looked like a bunch of knacked uni students–which complimented their cheeky brand of harmonized Northern pop perfectly.

Dirty trainers = dirty boy? Hmmm…

Like The Futureheads before them, Hot Club’s strength lies in pretty melodies juxtaposed with diddling guitar lines and make-you-think-twice lyrics. The crowd bopped along as the boys played out songs with giggle-worthy titles like “Your Face Looks All Wrong” and “Sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachother….” and I found every minute of it to be thoroughly enjoyable. They just dropped an album on October 9th, so I suggest checking them out. They have yet to play the US, but watch out when they do!

Check out the video I made of them performing “Bonded By Blood (A Song For Two Brothers)”:


Return of the Blogger

Ok I’m still alive, but so so tired. I saw a freaking geysir today! I also saw this awesome band last night at NASA called Æla, and you should check them out. They sing in Icelandic, but they rock. I am falling asleep but I just wanted to say I’m still alive and kicking it. Oh and I met James Looker in the photo pit right before Go! Team tonight at the Rej Art Museum.

PS I think the receptionist is watching Buffy on TV now.

Greetings from Reykjavik

Hola amigos! I’m in Reykjavik right now and it’s SO COLD and the keyboards are different here. Everyone has been so nice and friendly and I just came back from seeing the Northern Lights which was amazing. I missed We Are Scientists (who were on my flight over) tonight as a result, but hey–you probably would have made the same choice…which is more important, local band or seeing a natural wonder?

Let’s see, what else? I’m here with my friend Rachel and we keep seeing David Fricke everywhere. We see him walking around with a short leather jacket and carying vinyl records with him. How appropriate. Tomorrow hoping to see a band called Reykjavik! who all the Icelandic people keep talking about. Hopefully also catching the Whitest Boy Alive. Might be missing the Klaxons because they are on the same time. Anway, looking forward to Kaiser Chiefs this week and some band full of 19 year old boys I read about on the plane ride over.

Besides it being bitterly cold at night the weather is GORGEOUS and I can’t believe I can see mountains when I walk outside my hotel. Bed is calling me–I have only slept about 3 hours in the last two days. Need to store up my energy for the next three days of non-stop rock ‘n’ rolling.

Ciao for now mes amis.


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…This Week

In no particular order:

Trader Joe’s
Holy smoke! I grew up with a Trader Joe’s near me, but for some reason I never went to it–probably because I didn’t cook. I just recently got back into *gasp* shopping at the supermarket to cook in my apartment, and one day after I’d been to Union Square Wines I was riding the M14D across 14th Street when I saw that Trader Joe’s had a wine shop. I had totally forgotten TJ’s was near Union Square. I went in and WOAH, it’s so cheap there! And GOOD food.

Whole Foods can EAT IT! TJ’s 4EVA…although I did buy this really tasty pesto sauce from WF the last time I was there. Poor Food Emporium, home of my freshman year of college food shopping, how quickly you’ve fallen from my favor. 🙁

“My Love” by Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.
Um…I love this song. It’s so hot.

My Wacom writing tablet
I’ve had this Wacom writing tablet since college, and when I moved I brought it with me. But I misplaced the pen, so it was pretty much useless. I looked online today to see how much writing tablets cost and I was bummed to see that even the cheapest one was like $90 at J & R. Damnit!

I looked to see if they sold replacement pens, but to no avail. I checked the store hours to see what time they closed today and saw they were closed for the Jewish holidays. Since I wasn’t going out shopping I decided to clean out these baskets I have been meaning to get in order for months and months and MONTHS. Low and behold, I found the pen to the writing tablet in a random bag. Hooray!

The Great Concert Shoe Debate

Check out this hilarious entry by Rachel and the City regarding “dumb shoes” that girls wore at this year’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago.

I do have to say, wearing cowboy boots is really played out, but not the stupidest thing you could wear to a festival if you plan on being in the crowd. Gladiator shoes, however, are very stupid. These black cone-heel shoes are not practical, but they are quite sexy. But these espadrilles are just plan ugly and should not be allowed to be worn in public.

Deciding on the proper foot attire for a music festival is in fact a big deal. Maybe not so much for the boys as the girls. I do think very carefully about my shoe selection. That’s because you’re committing yourself to wearing the same shoe for about 8 hours outdoors and standing. You have to really weigh the consequences of the shoe you choose to wear. Do you A- wear sneakers to be comfortable but run the risk of getting horrible sock tan? B- wear a pair of flat sandals to be comfortable but run the risk of getting your exposed foot trampled on? or C- wear ridiculously high/platform/wedge shoes that look really cute with your outfit, but will leave you crying and hobbling by the end of the night?

In the last month I’ve done both A and C. I admit–during Siren Festival you probably saw me wearing “stupid shoes”–a pair of wedge Dr. Scholl’s. Indeed, every boardwalk journey was an exercise in pain, but I got to be less of a midget. This weekend at Warped I wore Chuck Taylors, not only to blend in, but to protect my feet, even though I wasn’t planning on mosh pitting. I just knew there would be a lot more walking involved in a potentially gross parking lot. I was right. My sock tan wasn’t too bad, so I wasn’t terribly upset with the results of wearing the Chucks.
Footwear can be a very complicated choice sometimes…what has been your best/worst concert shoe decision?

Hooray for Fireworks

We have heat-seeking missiles, the ability to travel in space, to clone animals, yet the most advanced technology we have in fireworks is making boxes and smiley faces. Please explain.

smiley face fireworks

box fireworks


Is It Weird to…

…message someone you recognized on the street from their MySpace/ Flickr/ Friendster/ etc profile? It’s a funny little thing, this Internet, how you can be “friends” with someone online, but never meet them–and then when you DO see them in real life, it becomes totally creepy to go up to them and say, “Hey, I know you from MySpace. You requested to be my friend 2 months ago.”


Mission “Get Back to Sleep” Accomplished

Today I successfully cleaned off my desk to make way for my computer. I’d been living in squalor, harboring my computer in my bedroom for the last couple months or so and it was totally starting to interfere with my sleeping.

Before I had my computer in my bedroom I could sleep through the night no problem, but recently I’ve been waking up for short periods of time a few hours before I had to and it was driving me CRAZY. So today I buckled down and moved it out of the sleeping room and into the living room.

My life feels more orderly already.

Hooray for peaceful slumber.