Mikey B Trippin: Iceland Airwaves pt. 2

Kraftwerk, Savages, Fucked Up and way too many wieners in the exciting conclusion of Mikey’s report from the music festival in Reykjavik.

Mikey & co. (600x470)I must say, Iceland’s just as magical as spacing out to a Björk or Sigur Rós record. Lots of white people, very windy, and I feel really small next to their viking-sized men. Everything was surreal, and I felt far from home until I turned the TV on and saw the news headlines: 1) Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor; and 2) Pumpkins filled with cocaine at the Montreal International Airport. Any press is good press, so Keep Crack Calm, Canada — I have yet to try crack, but I hear it’s super awesome.

I noticed lots of tourists from Canada, USA and Asia hitting the town for the Iceland Airwaves music festival. I came across four Americans working customer service at local stores. After detecting their accents, I asked where they were from, and they all gave me this suspicious look as if I saw them on America’s Most Wanted or somethin’.

Food pt. 2

Coastal Reykjavik
Coastal Reykjavik

Let’s put the limelight on Iceland’s national food: hot dogs. There’s a hot dog stand facing the Reykjavik port called Bæjarins Beztu. It’s cheap, filling and has been crowned the best hot dog stand in Europe according to The Guardian. Rumour has it that every Icelander has eaten there, and even Bill Clinton’s eaten one of these long dong wieners  For the first couple of days, I had hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I often woke up next to smashed dogs and scattered fried onions in my bed. At one point, I ordered a club sandwich which included cucumbers, some yellow sauces and a sunny-side-up egg on top. They expected me to eat this with a fork and knife but I just ate the bacon and bounced.

The Drinks pt. 2

They don’t sell alcohol in stores, so they expect you to go out to restaurants or bars to get wasted, and that’s fine with me. Their signature drinks seem to be Opal, which tastes like black licorice, and Brennivin, nicknamed “black death.” As I was waiting in line for a show on the Reykjavik port at the Icelandic Air hotel, the friendly hotel staff handed us free drinks to keep us warm while waiting to get in. That was unforgettable, courteous and way better than hot cocoa.

Music pt. 2

Fucked Up's Damien Abraham
Fucked Up’s Damien Abraham

I wrote about Icelandic bands in pt. 1. Here are some international bands that caught my attention:

Stealing Sheep: Three cute girls that rule my world. They reminded me of Dirty Projectors, but with a more folk/pop sound. From Liverpool with drool and cool.

No Joy: This Montreal band was loud as usual and their thrashing psychedelic garage sound left my ears ringing for the rest of the festival. So rad these guys are still waving the flag and hair.

Savages: These guys and were nominated for the U.K.’s Mercury Prize the same week they played Iceland. I don’t get the hype, but the kids are into it. Not super original, but they do it well.

Kraftwerk: They played the Harpa theatre, which is situated on the cusp of the ocean. This entire show was in 3D and it was an experience of its own. During their set, I couldn’t stop thinking…so many dudes must bang each other to Kraftwerk.

M for Montreal Showcase: M for Montreal presented Mac DeMarco, We Are Wolves, Moon King, the Balconies and Iceland’s Halleluwah at the University of Iceland student pub, where I kept hearing that Drake song (“started from the bottom now we’re queer”) in the back of my head. I was asked to DJ before Mac DeMarco’s set:

1) “Weight” by Mikal Cronin

2) “Grounded” by Pavement

3) “Hewlett’s Daughter” by Grandaddy

4) “Stuck in Lodi” by CCR

5) “Gender Bombs” by the Stills

6) “Dre Day” by Dr. Dre


I had the pleasure to end my last night at my hotel bar, kicking it with Damian of Fucked Up and Michael Azerrad of Rolling Stone (he’s also the author of the Nirvana biography Come As You Are. Damian and Mike are serious music lovers and very inspiring. Damian dissected the punk scene where I grew up (Stockton, CA) and was all about Pavement and the Authorities — Fucked Up cover a song by the Authorities called “I Hate Cops,” the one where everyone thinks they hear the N word but the actual lyric is piggers. As for Michael Azerrad, we share common friends from Sacramento, and that hella made my night.

The next morning, I had breakfast with Damian and Mac DeMarco. Damian told tales of hanging out with Green Day and Foo Fighters while Mac’s band and I spoke about funny-shaped European toilets that leave leftovers after flushing. I ended up travelling back to Montreal with Mac’s band, and we all had the same Icelandic bowel movements. I’m not gonna go into detail here, but next time I’ll remember not to eat as many hot dogs.

I love you Iceland, and thank you for changing my life, again and again. ■

Who is M for Mikey?

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