Iceland Airwaves 2015 Day Three: Perfume Genius, Bo Ningen, and Grísalappalísa | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, July 3rd, 2022  

Grísalappalísa. Or, yet another thing I'll never be able to explain to my mother.


Iceland Airwaves 2015 Day Three: Perfume Genius, Bo Ningen, and Grísalappalísa,

Nov 14, 2015 Photography by Laura Studarus Björk
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I can’t count the number of people who, upon hearing I was going to Iceland Airwaves, cracked some joke about saying hello to Björk and Sigur Ros. Well, they were both a part of my third day at the festival. (They say hi, BTW.)

The journalists’ day started off with a press conference held by Björk and her writer/business partner Andri Snaer Magnason, to discuss Gaetum Garðsins (translation: Protect the Park), an organization focused on creating a national park in the Iceland highlands, Europe’s largest stretch of untouched nature. Wearing a lacy black mask, the singer joked about being one of those “artists pretending they’re really good at statistics.” But it was clear that not only did she feel an intense passion for what she was talking about, she knew it inside and out.

“In a small country like Iceland, if you get foreigners supporting our views, it mirrors back here to the people in power, and they listen to the crazy artists of their own island,” she noted. “The biggest weapon is information. The reason I stand up and speak is not because I love the attention. I would much rather be at home writing songs. But 80 percent want this area to be untouched. I get a platform and I can say what 80 percent of Icelanders would say if they had the chance. I feel like I’m a spokesperson.”

After that came word that in honor of their new film The Show of Shows, Sigur Ros would be hosting a special cocktail party and screening. There’s a belief in the music industry that journalists are a jaded bunch. I’m here to attest I saw multiple, seasoned writers have…a moment at the news that we’d be meeting we’d be meeting two of the country’s most noted cultural ambassadors on the same day. For the record: the film was incredibly moving—and made feel feelings. (Read: cry.) Show of Shows is due out in Spring of 2016. Plans for festival runs are currently in the works.

Kex was still in full swing, and given that my quote of feelings had been felt for the day, I headed back to catch Bo Ningen’s KEXP set. Despite knowing that the band had previously collaborated Savages, and the word punk has been attached to what they do, I knew very little about them. What I discovered? An absolute firestorm of fluttering black clothing, walls of noise, and four musicians whipping their waist-length hair back and forth. (Is good hair an entry-level requirement to join band? Or did that just kinda happen?) My camera wasn’t fast enough, my ear-plugs weren’t heavy-duty enough. And I loved every moment.

I am generally as punk as a My Little Pony. But apparently change is possible.

Equally as challenging and certainly as fun were Grísalappalísa. The Icelandic seven-piece were equal parts punk and party—think Bowie with an axe to grind. It should go without saying: if you ever have a chance to see seven glitter-covered Icelandic men scream at the top of their lungs…and then perform a set that includes horns, dance moves, and stage dives, you must do it. (Skydiving and swimming with dolphins are stupid bucket list items anyway.)

Rounding out the Day of Many Emotions (TM pending), was Perfume Genius. Mike Hadreas has always been emotive, but with the release of Too Bright he’s become an absolute captivating live act, both behind and in front of the keyboards. (There was dancing, lots of it.) Not a bad way to end the evening.

As I walked back to my hotel along the dark shores of Reykjavik harbor, I starred hard at the sky, convinced I would see the northern lights. Didn’t happen—which is fine. Björk AND Sigur Ros, to say nothing of everything in between (cough::Brennivin::cough), I wouldn’t want my day to be too cliché. Right?

Tomorrow: Imma rock and roll all night and go swimming with the whales all day.

Check out photos from day three here.






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