20.10.2009, Words by Charlie Jones

Ten observations on the annual festival.

It’s a bit like London’s Camden Crawl and Stag & Dagger or Manchester’s In The City. One wristband gains you entry to loads of gigs and club nights over four nights, mainly around the town square by the art museum.

Airwaves supports new talent. Four years ago a little known Metronomy played and were back to headline this year. 2008 saw Florence and the Machine perform. The Moshi Moshi label crew are a big part of seeking out new talent and they return every year, this time with hotly tipped The Drums in tow.

There are so many bands playing that are super new that it’s a bit of a lottery unless you have been tipped off about who to see or you have trawled MySpace in advance. Swords of Chaos, Hello Elephant, Rabbi Bananas, XXX Rottweiler are proof that not all band names have been used up yet.

The biggest band of the festival – Kings of Convenience – played in one of the smallest venues. A church. Hence we couldn’t get in. The ever ebullient Erland Oye freestyled over one of Gus Gus’ DJ sets later that night though.

Icelanders seem to share a similar Island mentality to the UK. In fact most of it looks like the highlands of Scotland. Or the surface of the moon. As a result they like a drink. Or ten.

The hangover party in the Blue Lagoon on the Saturday lived up to all expectations. Floating around in sulphurous, naturally heated water certainly sorted our Jagermeister battered heads out. Especially when the DJ played Mr Fingers’ Can You Feel It? Bliss. Others just carried on drinking, pints aloft in the pool…

No sign of Bjork but we did hear Big Time Sensuality playing in the Blue Lagoon shop.

Dummy faves were The Golden Filter who have become a more dramatic proposition than they were a year ago, more drum heavy and with a fine, brooding disco tech version of Hardest Button to Button in their set. Singer Penelope also does great Big cardy and finger cymbal action. We also loved thecockandbullkid who has been off the radar for a while writing songs with Gonzales. Her six song set was strong reminding us of the interface of black/white pop Prince used to hit regularly in the mid 80s.

During London DJ’s JoJo De Freq and Firas’ sets on the Friday night we did notice a strange dance emerge. It involved men dancing in close huddles slapping each other on the head. We hope it catches on over here.

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