Monday, July 6, 2015

Iceland 2015! All Tomorrow's Parties!

Good morning, friends! Is it morning still? I am back from Iceland and only a teeny bit jet lagged.

The only film song I could find filmed in Iceland is "Heartalliro" from the Kannada film Brindavana:

But you can see how striking the scenery is. Come on, producers! Go film a love song in June to take advantage of the fields of purple Lupine…


(The Lupine)

Plus Iceland is just awesome!


(Eating a waffle from a waffle truck in Reykjavik in my cool A.B.C-Z concert t-shirt!)

I really, really enjoyed my time there. I traveled with my sister and we spent three days in the capital of Reykjavik and then 3 days at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival out by Keflavik at the old NATO base.

A few things I noticed:

1. Iceland is COLD. I was completely underprepared and had to buy a sweatshirt my first day. I wore it EVERYDAY. I was expecting cool weather but I didn't really understand how cold it is up by the Arctic circle. Even in summer.

2. Iceland loves coffee. And the coffee is strong and very good. My sister and I really enjoyed the coffee at this one place where you get it in a giant french press. We also has so much delicious yogurt and cheese. And fish. Just delicious foods everywhere!

3. Iceland loves sarcasm. I haven't laughed as hard at anything in a long time as I did at all the Icelandic humor. At times I felt like I was living in Mad Magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions." No matter what I asked, I'd get some sort of snappy answer in response.

4. Iceland is the one place where I can blend in as a local. Seriously, people. In Iceland I was of average height, average weight, average skin and hair color. And my glasses and clothes fit right in. People would start speaking Icelandic to me before they realized I wasn't. I just need one of those nice sweaters everybody was wearing!


Before I post some pictures, a few more thoughts on the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. I attended the very first one in 1999.

^^ Me x Jarvis Cocker, who was extremely kind to me.

16 years later both me and the festival were different. More subdued and grown-up. I was dead in the center of the festival age demographic, which should explain things a bit.

But it was really, really nice just to get away and be surrounded by music and bands for a few days…

I enjoyed some bands I'd forgotten I'd liked-- MUDHONEY! They rocked so hard. I need to dig out my old CDs. And IGGY POP!!!! OMG I saw Iggy Pop and he continues to be the consummate showman on stage.

Belle & Sebastian were wonderfully shambly on stage. It reminded me of their unpolished old days. Stuart asking if we wanted a slow song or a party song and then quipping about us missing out on a live version of "The Chalet Lines". (BUZZ KILL SONG OR WHAT, AMMIRITE?!) Stevie in a combative mood, which was cracking both me and my sister up. But once the music starts, everything else drifts away. I love Belle & Sebastian. I will always love Belle & Sebastian. Their new album is wonderful, by the way. Definitely check it out!

I had my ear holes pounded by Lightning Bolt, who made themselves a new fan.

^^ THESE GUYS WERE AMAZING DESPITE THE MIX PROBLEMS! (There were massive mix problems for their set.)

I also quite enjoyed the pleasant stylings of Younghusband.

But the two most charming sets came from two Icelandic acts:

Rythmatik were so fucking charming. SO CHARMING! They were the Battle of the Bands winner this year and although were much less polished than the other acts, they had something compelling about them. The smell of potential? The charm of the enthusiast? Whatever it was, they were delightful. I enjoyed their set very, very much. The singer introduced the song above by saying their grandmas wouldn't let them get tattoos, so they had to write a "kickass song" instead. (SO FUCKING CUTE! LOOK AT THAT SWEATER!)

Oyama are shoegazy wonderfulness. I am not surprised to find that they have a Japanese fan base, as well. I'll have to add their album to my next amazon.jp order since apparently I can't get it here.

The song I liked best was one without a name from the bass player… but have a clip from a live set from a few months ago!

And that's that. I really enjoyed myself and only had one really unpleasant interaction, with a douchey douche-bro who tried to pull one of those moves on me where he has to one-up anything I say in an effort to make himself seem cool. I was extremely unimpressed. American guy, obviously. Asked me what bands I'd seen/wanted to see and then scoffed when I pulled out the pamphlet to look who I'd seen that day. "You hadn't heard of them before?!" NO, I HADN'T! BIG FUCKING DEAL! And then scoffed again when he asked me how many other "ATP" I'd been to and I said one, the Camber Sands in 1999. "Just that one?" YES, JUST THAT ONE! And then my sister recused me. Dear lord, what is wrong with people?!

He was like the human equivalent of the disgusting Thule that was the only beer available. (IT WAS SO GROSS YOU GUYS!)

Anyways… pictures!


The big cathedral on the top of the hill was built post-World War II. It has a massive pipe organ inside. The statue is of Leif Erickson, a gift from the people of the USA!


A sleepy orange cat… cats were the real celebrities in Reykjavik! Everybody would stop and coo over the cats...


We went puffin watching one day! They were so cute. Like airborne penguins! Our tour guide was this surly New Zealander wearing a t-shirt that said "Mayor of Awesome-town." He made fun of my camera. I didn't mind.


Stones in a national park. Couples stack them for good luck. I accidentally knocked over a couple towers. Oops! SORRY IF I MADE YOU BREAK UP!


IT WAS SO COLD!!!!


Feeding the horses…


A geyser!

Gullfoss! The big waterfall… it was cold. And loud. Very overpowering in person.


The view of Reykjavik from the church tower…


Midnight sun on the last day of "ATP".

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