Owls of the Swamp Icelandic Tour Diary Part 3

Owls of the Swamp
Image Courtesy of Owls of the Swamp

Owls of the Swamp and Phia are currently touring Iceland and Timber and Steel is lucky enough to be presenting their exclusive tour diaries. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here of Owls of the Swamp’s tour diary.

Saturday 20th August

Lonely House It’s the morning after the accident. We’re all a little sore, exhausted, and are confronted with the riddle of how where going to make it to Akureyri (an 8 hour drive) with only one car and six troubadours. Of course it’s our local friend (and incredible tour coordinator) Svavar Knutur who comes to the rescue. After telling our dramatic story on national radio he manages to find a pilot who agrees to fly four of us in a small charter plane. It seems hospitality is always only a short call away over here. Saved! However, I end up driving with Torben. It’s a long drive, but we are treated to stops at isolated houses, spectacular skies and views of low lying clouds covering the mountains like a long white blanket. But I’m pretty sick of cars by this stage.

Cabin Tonight’s concert is in a renovated barn in Akureyri where both groups are meant to meet up and perform together. The show started at 6pm and everyone is there but we don’t arrive until 10:30pm. The second I enter the barn it’s my turn to play. It’s great to see everyone again but it’s frustrating having to immediately enter into ‘performance space’ after spending all day in transit. This tour is constantly pushing me to my limit, teaching me how to access my musical side in all possible scenarios.

Sunday 21st August – Tuesday 23rd August

After a fun catch-up and story swapping café session with the other group, we split up again and head off to Svavar’s cabin in the North of Iceland via a few scenic towns. Given the intensity and drama of the previous few days we’re all in need of a little down time, and this is the perfect place for it. We sleep, cook, pick local blueberries, have a few home made hot tubs, listen to the river and climb a mountain. It’s just what we needed to come back to earth.

Wednesday 24th August

Grindavik After returning to Reykjavik we head off to Grindavik in the south of Iceland for a show at a fisherman’s bar called ‘Bryggjan’. Grindavik is famous for its fishing industry, so it’s no surprise our audience tonight consists of around twelve gruff looking older men with ancient beards. And to our surprise they become one of our most attentive audiences yet, hanging onto every performer and song. Despite the small crowd, everyone delivers their most captivating performances yet. Something seems to have shifted in each of us since the accident, with each of us harnessing a deeper energy and transmitting it through our songs. Could it have been a blessing in disguise? During the show we’re also treated to a local delicacy of dried fish with butter. It’s the Icelandic version of Vegemite and toast, and it’s freaking delicious. After a midnight tour of the fish-net repair factory we drive back to Reykjavik and are treated to a very brief and faint visit from the famous northern lights; a barely visible glimmer of green shimmering across the darkening sky. Not a bad way to finish the night. Grindavik

Thursday 25th August

After a lazy day hanging around Reykjavik we head off to Eyrarbakki to play the same house concert venue Phia performed the week before. It’s a beautiful sunset concert in an inspiring living room space (complete with actual stage and PA!) to a local audience of about 20 people, and in true troubadour fashion we indulge in a post-concert spontaneous jam with our amazing hosts Unnar and Jon. We return to Reykjavik around midnight where we join Svavar at his house for a sample of local boutique beers. We toast to having performed the last show of the tour, and head off to our respective beds to get some rest before the epic three day Melodica Festival weekend ahead in Reykjavik. It’s been one hell of a music journey, and it’s not over yet!

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