Getting lost (multiple times) on the way to interviews in the chilly Icelandic rain was not part of my Thursday plans. After finally getting a little bit of sleep last night, I woke up at an early 7:30 AM, ate some breakfast, and headed out to start my day of interviewing. I got lost on my way to my first meeting with Member of Parliament Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir but, as it turned out, I was circling her office building the entire time. I got lost again, this time in the pouring rain, on my way to the University of Iceland before a really nice girl offered to walk me to the right building. My third and fourth interviews went by without any trouble which felt great after a morning of hiccups. Today was full of interesting conversations with very generous people who spent their time helping me prepare a few of my cultural stories that will run on this blog within the next few weeks. Conversations about men as caregivers, gender inequality in the workplace, Syrian refugees, and why some Icelander’s still fear the people they see as “outsiders” are just a few of the topics you will see covered here.
EAST OF MY YOUTH @ BAR ANANAS
East of My Youth is an electro-pop band from Iceland. Last night at Bar Ananas, lead singer Thelma Marín Jónsdóttir was joined on stage by Herðis Steffansdóttir and Guðni Einnarson for their third off-venue show of Iceland Airwaves this year. East of My Youth became a band only a year ago. The band played their first ever show at Airwaves last year and returned this year to share their new music at the festival where their musical career began. Jónsdóttir and her bandmates appeared to have enjoyed themselves. They were all smiles onstage as they grinned to the crowd and each other after every song. The Bar Ananas stage appeared to be too small and crowded with instruments for the band to fully perform. It’s difficult to judge the scope of what this band’s show could be after seeing them on such a small stage. However, East of My Youth’s beautifully layered melodies and Florence Welch-esque vocals could shine in any size room.
MITSKI @ GAUKURINN
Mitski is an alternative indie rock artist from New York City. Her show at Gaukurinn last night was her first show in Iceland and the crowd welcomed her with open arms. Mitski’s songs were beautiful, inspiring, and sad. Her lyrics were haunting, many of them being a very real and honest portrayal of life in your mid-20s. Mitski sang about living at home with her parents when she should be taking care of herself, bad breakups and painful love. Her lyrics seemed to resonate with the young people in Gaukurinn last night. She stood at the front of the crowd with a bright pink bass guitar and screamed into the microphone with a touching amount of emotion. Mitski was sweet and funny in-between songs, but once she started to play her raw emotion and incredible ability to convey those emotions through her music shined through. Mitski was named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 New Artists You Need to Know: February 2015.
MEAT WAVE @ GAUKURINN:
Meat Wave are a Chicago-based punk rock trio. They started as a band in 2011 and have since released three albums and toured around the world. Last night at Gaukurinn was the band’s first appearance in Iceland, but you wouldn’t have known it listening to the crowd. Lead singer Chris Sutter had a great relationship with the crowd. He chatted to onlookers and laughed at hecklers throughout the night. Sutter, along with his bandmates Joe Gac and Ryan Wizniak, delivered an outstanding performance. Meat Wave’s energetic drumming and incredible vocals were some of the high points of the night. The only thing lacking was the performance’s light show. It wasn’t until the last two songs that the strobe lights kicked on and a missing piece of the puzzle was found. Strobe lights were the perfect addition to Meat Wave’s punk-rock sound and it would have been nice if they had been utilized more than they were.