Packed Crowds at Blast Showcase in Iceland
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October 17, 2011 - Reykjavik

Here we are once again at Iceland Airwaves. This is our third year officially presenting bands here and our second Canadian Blast showcase at Hresso in the city centre. Three years ago when we presented Cancer Bats and The Culture Reject we had three Canadian acts performing at Airwaves. Now we have ten including Austra and Owen Pallett, with a huge 5 bill showcase capping it all. Throughout the festival, bands performed shows in venues that were much too small for them, including Elephant Stone performing in the foyer of the Reykjavik Youth Hostel, Owen Pallett performing to 100 people in a stuffed coffee bar and Young Galaxy at another youth hostel. That is the beauty of airwaves... It places acts where one would usually not see them perform, and the results are fantastic.

The memories outside of our showcase are too many to count. Austra performing to 3000 screaming fans at the Reykjavik Art Museum, Rich Aucoin closing out the festival at Nasa and actually surfing the crowd (while standing on a surfboard), Karkwa performing to a packed crowd of people who sang along in French all being many. Plus, a huge amount of industry folk were present, including Montreux Jazz Festival, booking agents from across Europe and a contingent over a dozen Canadians, many from Montreal and Toronto.

In terms of our Canadian Blast, it was a huge success. All the bands performed in front of a packed crowd, starting with Karkwa and ending at 7PM with a sweaty strobe-filled dance party with Rich Aucoin. Karkwa were loud, ferocious and utterly mind blowing, beginning the showcase at 2PM in style. This was followed by Random Recipe and their female-fronted hip-hop from Montreal, complete with drums and guitar accompaniment. Esmerine followed with a stripped down set of classically influenced folk, complete with harp, a guest appearance by Patrick Watson and cello. Because of the weight of a marimba, Esmerine performed what they said was their first and only ever show without it, their main instrument outside of a harp. Elephant Stone followed with a set of Brian Jonestown influence grunge rock complete with Sitar, while Rich Aucoin ended the show in fine form with parachutes, confetti, visual displays and strobe lights.

While Airwaves is not a typical music conference, it is becoming one of the more sought after events to attend. Our showcase proved why. See you at Airwaves 2012.


Photos by Lauren Keogh

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