Three amazing days live in Reykjavik during Airwaves ’11 set the bar impossibly high for KEXP’s first international broadcast. As guests of Iceland, we took over the charming yet hip KEX Hostel in Reykjavik and hosted 15 bands live on air. Most of the acts were local and largely unheard outside of Iceland, but it didn’t take long for everyone listening around the world and watching live to be blown away by the insane talent and diversity of them all.
Day 1 of our broadcast kicked off with one of the most popular bands from Iceland right now, the electronic group GusGus. The crowd packed every bit space around the intimate KEX Hostel library as President Bongo and Biggi Veira created a sonic space for singers Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson and Earth to groove — upon which the young instrumental quartet For a Minor Reflection threw solid glaciers of glorious post-rock noise. Quirky, ramshackle pop band Just Another Snake Cult — actually the “solo” project of Thor Bogason — followed with a rollicking 8-piece wall of sound. The black robed youngsters Samaris (singer Jófríður Ákadóttir is also in Pascal Pinon) couldn’t help but turns heads and drop jaws with their moody, ethereal set evoking Björk, Zola Jesus and Austra. And as if you hadn’t already figured out that the Icelandic music scene is incredibly diverse, Retro Stefson finish the day with their multi-genre blend of conga line-inducing jazz fusion/afropop-loving party rock! Check out a video sampling of Day 1 below and head over to our Live Performances Archive to hear the full performances.