Iceland Airwaves 2016 Live Review (11/5): Puffin Island, Kreld and Let’s Eat Grandma

Puffin Island at Harpa Kaldalón – 8:00pm


Puffin Island is certainly up-and-coming, with their first single “Harrison,” a song dedicated to Beatles star George Harrison, released in July of 2015 and their debut album entitled Another Day released on May 20, 2016. The group added new elements to the live versions of their songs off of Another Day, like a guitar solo in their Icelandic song “Stúlka,” which means “Girl” when translated to English. The sound quality was well-executed and balanced, resonating nicely throughout the venue. Bringing a little bit of the United States to Iceland, electric guitar player and vocalist Skúli Jónsson asked if anyone was from Chicago and dedicated the next song “Stúlka” to this week’s historical World Series win for the Cubs. The band’s joking attitude and fun-loving performance set a pleasant mood throughout the duration of the show. The seated venue and the band’s conversational relationship with the audience made the set casual and comfortable. They invited the busy audience to clap along to their final song “Harrison” and appeared pleased and grateful to be performing at this year’s Airwaves.

Kreld at Húrra – 9:40pm


Kreld is the solo project of Kristján Eldjárn, a producer, songwriter and mainstay of the electronic quartet SYKUR, a staple of the Icelandic electronic music scene. He began quietly working on solo material out of a desire to make something different from any of his existing projects. He intended the project to be more of a creative outlet for himself rather than work to share with the world, but changed his mind after receiving feedback from his friends and colleagues in the Icelandic music scene. He has only one single released online entitled “Way Low,” which was consequently the only released song that he performed at his Airwaves show. The venue was packed with a large crowd, but most were simply standing still in response to Kreld’s performance. His darker and more melancholy electronic sounds do invoke such a response, so little movement both on stage and in the crowd increased the ambience. His musical performance as a whole was strong and he remained focused on stage throughout the duration of the set. Despite the lack of physical reaction, the crowd seemed pleased and was standing attentively, screaming after the end of each song. He performed one song that he had just written the lyrics for this past Tuesday and made his way throughout its entirety without stumbling. 

Let’s Eat Grandma at Harpa Silfurberg – 11:00pm


An experimental girl punk-pop duo, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are 16-and-17-year-old lifelong friends from the UK who have been making music together for four years. Their music varies from slow, imaginative and mellow tunes that lose listeners in an array of ringing electronics to upbeat dance sounds. During their Airwaves performance, Let’s Eat Grandma didn’t introduce themselves or speak to the audience until the very end with a delighted “thank you.” Instead, their stage presence included spooky and serious gazes into the audience without a single smile portrayed. There were sporadic drops to the ground, spins across the stage and tosses of their hair from side to side. Both Walton and Hollingwoth played every instrument during the set including the drums, keyboard, synthesizer, guitar, vocals and a recorder. Juggling the entrances of each part was handled smoothly. Their confident performance was captivating, breaking the traditional stereotypes of happy, upbeat, engaging and smiling female performers and making their Airwaves performance a unique experience. 

About mackenziecrosson

Columbia College Chicago Cultural Studies and Multimedia Photojournalism student. Editorial Intern at Chicago-based travel media company OneGlobe Citizen.
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