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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rökkurró @ Mál og Menning (Off-Venue)

Rökkurró @ Mál og Menning (Off-Venue) - Iceland Airwaves 2008 by BinauralAirwaves
The manikin taking in the scene from across the bookstore before the performance started:

Off-venue: Mál og Menning (Language and Culture) Bookstore
Reykjavik, Iceland
2008, October 15, 17:00

Binaural Recording Info:
Microphone Setup: Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Manikin Head
Master Recording Format: 5.6MHz/1bit Direct Stream Digital

This was Rökkurró's first performance of Airwaves and the first official show I heard of the Iceland Airwaves festival. It was an "off-venue" show that was free to anyone, as opposed to the "on-venue" shows which required the Iceland Airwaves Pass.

Off-Venue Shows=Short and Sweet:
The off-venue shows were all around Reykjavik in nice little spaces like record shops, cafes, and bookstores. There were so many concerts happening at the same time in different places that there was naturally a ton of running around to catch all the shows that you wanted to hear. It was impossible to not miss good music since there was so much. It kind of felt like a real world incarnation of hitting "Scan" on your radio and getting all of these little glimpses of different bands in a short amount of time.

I'm used to 1 hour sets minimum in the US with a pretty big chunk of setup time in between bands. However, the off-venue shows were typically only about 25-30 minutes which is really short in my mind. It worked amazingly well though. Many bands had an at least one off-venue show and then an on-venue show. So, sometimes you might have only been able to catch an act off-venue because their on-venue performance overlapped with another group you wanted to see only but had that one on-venue performance. It seemed a daunting task at first but it worked out quite well.

A close up of the band obscured by a cool looking light fixture and tons of other stuff:

The Scene:
Rökkurró had a great turn out and played quite well. This concert was in Mál og Menning, a bookstore who's name translates to "Language and Culture". It's located on the main drag of Reykjavik: Laugervegur. It should be interesting to compare the acoustics/ambiance of this performance to Rökkurró's 12 Tónar off-venue performance (and soon to their Iðno on-venue performance after I post it).

As you can see from the photos, I'm way across the room at the top of the stairs. I wanted to capture the acoustics of the large room by being away from the group and give the sensation of standing in the crowd, like you would have been doing if you had been there.

Some things to listen for:
  • The women speaking in Icelandic directly to the left (literally right next to the manikin)
  • Espresso machine ~8m to the left.
  • People chating and drinking coffee in the cafe seating area in back and to the left.
  • Something I thought was kind of funny happened near the end of Ferðalangurinn where this older woman walked up the stairs and we had this exchange:
She seemed to ask this same question in Icelandic to me and I gave a confused look back and she switched to English...
Woman: How long is this going, do you know that? How long is this going, do you know that?
Aaron: I think about another 20 minutes.
Woman: Ok [snicker], then I'm leaving.

What a hater haha. Though, I guess if you're into browsing books you wouldn't be so keen on tons of people blocking all of the books while they check out a cool concert.

Anyhow, it was indeed a great concert.