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Jagwar Ma

LIVE REVIEW: Iceland Airwaves Day 2, 31.10.2013

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Sometime: This Icelandic duo was formed in 2005 and has made two albums. The brain in the band is TheDanni, who writes, records, and produces their music. During the bands set he had a lot on his hands, maybe too much, and had some problems keeping up with the beat. He was playing beats from the computer while doing fills on the electronic drum pad.  Sometimes less is more in music and TheDanni should keep that in mind in the future. Supporting him on stage was Diva de la Rosa providing vocals with a powerful voice and confident stage performance. They had their ups and downs during the show but it was still a good effort. The hall wasn’t very crowded but everyone seemed to be having a good time — the band members as well. 2,5*/5*

Prins Póló

Prins Póló: For those who do not speak Icelandic, the Prins Póló shows are not as much fun to watch as for those who do. The lyrics are so important to their performance and if you don’t understand it you’ll probably be saying “WTF?” a couple of times during the show. Their pop punk style is just hilarious, creating an atmosphere similar to a stand up show. The front man of the band, Svavar, has a funny way of putting words together in his lyrics and people are constantly smiling when they see them perform. For example:  The last song they performed is about an 18-year-old boy which is in love with a 100-year-old woman. You get my point. But it’s not just the lyrics that make Prins Póló interesting, it’s also grooving, simple rhythms that the four group members provide that without the lyrics would be as much fun.  3*/5*

Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma: Making a big entrance, coming on stage with “What Love” and putting the volume up to eleven, the crowd went wild. This was obviously a band that many had been waiting to see perform. They released their debut album this summer which I really liked and I too was looking forward to the show. They defiantly have some good songs and gave all they had in their performance, but there was something off about them. The guitar didn’t fit the electronic house beats well enough and sometimes it felt like they were playing two songs at the same time. All their songs started up with a good beat and interesting melodies but when it comes to the point to break it up a bit, nothing happened and the show got monotonous. They peaked playing the song “Four,” which is a well suited live song. The singer, who looked and acted like Zoolander, needed a little more power added to his voice because of the loudness in the hall. Despite some flaws this was a solid performance from Jagwar Ma. 3*/5*

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo: On paper they are the biggest act playing at Airwaves this year other than Kraftwerk, and because of that they got a full hall. People were streaming in in the beginning of the show, but as it went on the stream started to go the other way. The band played some of their slower songs to begin with, as expected. They were very active in changing instruments and mixing up the show but Ira Kaplan stayed on electric guitar most of the time. He went from playing with much sangfroid to suddenly changing the mood, swinging the guitar in the air and creating a fuss. It sometimes felt like Kaplan forgot that he was playing in front of audience; he just went on with an experimental jam, not even connecting with the other members of the band. Some parts of it sounded cool but most of it was far away from cool. There is no doubt about their musical talent but this show needed more excitement and passion.
Before the concert I was very excited, being a big fan of albums like I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-out. I even dragged my friends with me to the concert telling them that this would probably be the best one this weekend. They will probably not trust me to make a selection for the rest of the festival because I couldn’t have been more wrong. 2*/5*

Photos by Aníta Björk Jóhannsdóttir and Iceland Airwaves. 

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