‘Intimate’ is a term bandied about rather a lot in music circles these days. Intimate gig, intimate performance, intimate setting. So to find a venue that really is the epitome of intimate is rather refreshing.
Where was I on discovering this? Iceland Airwaves of course – the ultimate in Scandinavian cool and indie music, full of off-venues and gigs in churches, theatres and in this case – a small wooden house.
Positioned in the heart of Reykjavik in Ingólfstorg square, Eldhús: Little House of Music is a little safe haven – wooden shed on the outside, living room on the inside, complete with comfy armchairs, net curtains, a picket fence and even a small wooden puffin gracing the side table. Cosy.
With four Icelandic bands and artists playing each day over the course of the festival there’s a lovely feel to the way the bands just turn up and play, unplugged and often with only half their members due to space restrictions. For each gig a small handful of people settle into the armchair cushions and sit cross-legged on the rug for a private performance.
Well, not quite private – the performances are live streamed out onto a huge screen in the square for festival-goers, as well as a live stream on the Inspired by Iceland website. Lay Low yesterday was a particularly lovely performance, with her gentle Icelandic accent drifting out across the square on the speakers. She sweetly offered her hat and gloves to people outside suffering from the rather chilly climes, sending one of the audience out clutching a handful of her knitwear.
Hermigervill’s and Retro Stefson’s electro mish-mash got people dancing and jumping up and down (which also helped to eliminate cold-induced numbness in the extremities).
With Soley and Olafur Arnalds still to come the little house is a lovely new off-venue for Iceland Airwaves and rather a nice example of how intimate can also be global.