Iceland Airwaves Day 4 (11/7): Soley, Kiriyama Family, and Endless Dark

After a day in frigid temperatures and soaked in rain, the adventuring through the great landscapes of Iceland’s countryside had to come to an end. Still a bit soaked from the day’s activities,  it was time to hit the street of Reykjavík for another night of Iceland Airwaves.


As sóley took the stage, silence fell over most of the audience at Harpa Norðurljós. The soloing voice of Sóley Stefánsdóttir was filled with tales of nightmares and fairytales as she took the mic on her adventures. The show began with live recorded audio loops to create the backup tracks for her performance. Through her ghostly timed loops, sóley skillfully laid harmonies with her echoing soprano tone. With live drums and guitar in tact, nothing could lure away attention from the rhythmic encounter of sóley’s presence on stage. Midway through her set, sóley slowed down what already seemed like paced pieces with “One Eyed Lady.” Though the piece was slow, the energy rang triumphantly through the ringing of her voice and the brooding fairytale lyrics.  Even between dark songs, she still found solace in connecting with her audience through a series of jokes and questions. Her seamless humor and connection to her fans added to the show and it personalized every lyric she sang. Sóley’s best piece of the night was her live rendition of her song, “I’ll Drown.” Starting off the performance with her own creation of voices mimicking the acoustic clicks of the track, Sóley built a breathtaking masterpiece of her own layered vocals. Her live show is an experience in itself, putting even more passion to her already emotionally intense music.


Kiriyama Family then took the stage at Gamla Bíó and created a rather confusing show. Starting out on their first song, it seemed as though each instrumentalist was playing a different genre of music. Whether it was the jazz inspired keys to the funk style bass, the opening song sounded like a chaotic disaster. Among the issues with the instruments, Hulda Kristín Kolbrúnardóttir, the female vocalist of the band, couldn’t be heard through any of the pieces she sang in. The amount of instrumental volumes and the inability to mesh into one tone layered a sound barrier, stopping anyone from hearing the sweet, angelic voice of Kolbrúnardóttir. Beyond the instrumentals adding confusion to the show, the band also switched instruments continually throughout the show. The change during every break of song proved to not only be distracting, but putting individuals of mediocre performance on instruments that aren’t their forté. The only redeeming quality from the show was the enthusiastic and powerful drumming of Bassi Ólafsson. Personally, listening to Kiriyama Family is better off done at home then in concert.


The last band of the night that also closed out Gaukurrin was the seven men of Endless Dark. With a powerful on stage chemistry, the group is no stranger to the post-hardcore scene. The seven piece band from Reykjavík not only had great stage presence, but the ability to play together timely, even though they repeated guitar and vocals among members. Whether it was the flawless running vocals versus the singing screams, Endless Dark was able to omit their passion onto anyone eager to get it. Intense guitar riffs battled each other, bringing the intense feeling of the songs to life. Following closely to the other instruments, the drums produced an awesome part in the metal harmonies. A fun aspect of the show tonight that brought a new wave of energy was that the band has been recording it to eventually published. This inspired many who had found themselves comfortable on stools or leaning against walls to get up and dance to a classic song of theirs, “Cold, Hard December.” The energy that the band and the recording brought the show to the next level. For a closing show on the long night of the Saturday of Iceland Airwaves, seemingly no one wanted their show to end.

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