Iceland Airwaves 2016 Live Review (11/2): CeaseTone, SiGRÚN, VIO

CeaseTone @ HARPA NORÐURLJÓS// 8:50

The 10 piece electronic, indie band CeaseTone took the stage in all black, inexpressive, and evoking solidarity. After about 30 seconds of melodic string instrumentals, the drums kicked in and the stage lit up, which was easily the most emotional moment of the set. The rest of the 30 minutes consisted of the band performing almost as if there wasn’t a room of 500 audience members, close to emotionless and only engaging the crowd once to state the band name. It was completely obvious by the stage layout that CeaseTone is the brain project of soloist Hafsteinn Þráinsson, considering all other performers were basically pushed behind the speakers leaving him appearing almost alone on stage. Their distant stage presence allowed the crowd to focus exclusively on the impressive talent of the musicians, but left something to be desired in a live performance experience.

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SiGRÚN @IÐNÓ // 9:40

Haunting, evocative, and undeniably interesting. SiGRÚN is a three piece band that features vocal and electronic instrumental looping to create extremely complex soundscapes. When the band initially took the stage, the first few moments were solely a capella and sounded almost holy. Then, synchronized, the band began introducing haunting backing tracks and mixed drum, synth, and keyboard beats. From there Sigrún Jónsdóttir, the band’s main vocalist, and the backup vocalist began layering various tonal patterns and other electronic sounds, expanding and transforming what the song once was. The most awe striking aspect of SiGRÚN’s performance was that the audience got to experience the songs being created in front of them, starting with a skeleton then watching the band build by adding more elements until a masterpiece was created.

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VIO @HARPA KALDALÓN // 12:20am

The alternative rock four piece was not trying to appeal to the audience through excessive banter or crowd engagement, but were still able to captivate the room with their impressive technical and musical ability. Each instrument had unique nuances like the drum rudiments and sticking patterns in the band’s song “Think Of Me accompanied by the guitarist, Yngvi Rafn Garðarsson Holm’s dreamy chord progressions. VIO’s high points clearly reflect their knowledge and ability to write music for their respective instruments, which comes with years of experience. So, it’s surprising this band has only been around for two years.

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