“I know I really shouldn’t, but ich will!”

Ragnar Ólafsson & Isabelle Saadat – Cafeé galao, Stuttgart; October 8th, 2019

Café galao in Stuttgart is one of those venues that I’d only been to once, but remembered so fondly that I was looking for a chance to return. Raggi’s and Isa’s concert was the perfect opportunity and even though I knew it was going to be exhausting, not going there was never really an option. It was absolutely worth it for the sheer joy I felt being there and the lovely music I got to hear.

As I told someone before the Milow concert in Nuremberg: “I rarely do the sensible thing” and I wasn’t. The sensible thing would have been to go to work, return home and get a good night’s sleep to finally catch up on what I’d lost on the previous weekend. Instead I got o work early (after waking up an hours before my alarm, i.e at 4:30 am), left early and took a train to Copenhagen, where Raggi and Isa were going to play Café galao that night. I’d been wanting to go back there ever since I’d seen Árstíðir play that place about three years ago and this was my first chance. Never mind the fact that I had to be back in Dortmund at 7:30 the next morning and a team training thing all day. “I know I really shouldn’t, but ich will” was my motto of the day, taken from a Gayle Tufts song.

WhenI arrived at galao around 7 in the evening I was already exhausted and felt that I’d woken way too early. First order of business was getting some caffeine into me, then food. Isa arrived so I said hello briefly, set down and spent my time blogging. The food, an African vegan dish with veggies, cous cous and peanut butter sauce was great and after two tall glasses of coke I finally felt more awake. It was surprisingly warm outside after the last weekend’d cold so I spent some time in front of the doors. The show would not start before 9 and I was slightly worried I’d have to leave early to catch my train, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

Raggi didn’t show up until shortly before the gig and we did not get a chance to say anything but “hi” before they were on stage and about to start. Rainer, the Café’s owner briefly announced them, I settled down, smiled at them and waited for what they would play this time. They started with ‘Karma’ again and by now Raggi was singing a lot of harmonies on it. It sounded really nice. They told us the story of meeting at this very cafe three years earlier and how they’d sung the next song, ‘The South’ together, while very drunk. 😀 By now, Isa’s songs felt very familiar to me and I could even sng along a little bit. I loved it.

The audience was really appreciative and quite, especially considering this was a bar audience and the café has such good vibes that I immediately felt at home there. <3 As they switched guitar and piano Isa said her piano was acting strange sometimes. Raggi, now at the mic, wanted to know if anyone spoke Icelandic and someone jokingly raised his hand, but in the end he settled for speaking English and played a beautiful version of ‘Dragonfly’ – it has evolved so much since I’ve first heard it, I like it much better now. 🙂

“Songwriting is just storytelling in disguise” Raggi said. Why in disguise? His point was hough, that music is more interesting if there is actually a story to it and that songs get better when the songwriters had a good reason to write them, a story that inspired the music. ‘Dozen’ is always lovely and I like the way they sing it together a lot. ‘Wine’ was done unplugged and of course it worked. It always impresses me how quiet people can get when Raggi unplugs his guitar and steps away from the mic. THe song is surprisingly powerful too, for being essentially quiet.

They switched places again and continued with the slow and beautiful ‘Running Down’. Isa explained how she usually has a band, but thinks the songs work this way too. She asked Raggi for his opinion and he hadn’t listened so we told him to just say yes. Next was ‘Outer Space’, which is so far my favorite of Isa’s songs. It truly rocks and I really want to hear the full band version of it. 😀 Raggi jused about songwriting and how sometimes you have know idea where something comes from. He was talking about ‘Relations’ of course. I still have an idea about the song, but won’t share it in a blog. We managed a good sing-along too that he commented with “Hammer!” (one slang term to express that something is very good/impressive).

I loved that ‘Red Wine’ is still on the setlist. It is such a sad song and somehow that makes it all the more beautiful. Some nights I can really hear tha pain he must have felt when writing it. Isa picked up the guitar again, spoke about a walk with a friend, resulting in watching documentaries about insects and the song ‘Flying Mantis’. It is a fun song for sure, with a melody that easily gets stuck in your head. It ends with a lovely piano outtro.

There is no concert without ‘Bravery’ and asking people if they know Jägermeister cinnamon vanilla. Nobody did, not even Rainer, but one guest choose that moment to comment that he’d rather have them speak English because he was English. Raggi offered speaking Icelandic or Norwegian instead. 😀 The Jägermeister is of course still terrible and this time there was none of the ginger variation to kill the memory. It is always one of my favorite parts of the show and one of my favorite songs still. 🙂 ‘Örlög’ followed and we managed that sing along too. <3

Many people said they had been heart-broken in response to Raggi’s question and he spoke about how, if you want to experience real passion you have to risk getting burned. True that. ‘Urges’ followed and again I smiled about how the song has changed subtly since they first played it together. Isa said that the next one was her favorite song, ‘Petals’ – I agree. Raggi explained how he wanted to tell both sides of the story with the song, because it does take two people to fuck up love. It was a great version of the song too,

They ended with ‘little Lights’ and Isa explained the story of the raindrops on the window reflecting all the lights. One last sing-along and it was over. As announced it was indeed their last song, no encore. They stuck around of course, toasting with Tequila. I had enjoyed all the goos vibes at the cafe and was happy I still had enough time to make my train. I said goodbye to both of them, getting an extra hug from Raggi “for the road” and left. It was going to be along night, but I had some good memories to carry me through.

Setlist

Karma (Isabelle Saadat song)
The South (Isabelle Saadat song)
Dragonfly
Dozen
Wine
Running Down (Isabelle Saadat song)
Outer Space (Isabelle Saadat song)
Relations
Red Wine
Flying Mantis (Isabelle Saadat song)
Bravery
Örlög
Urges
Petals
Little Lights (Isabelle Saadat song)

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… and the past just blurry lines

Poets of the Fall – Pakkahuone, Tampere (Lost in Music); October 5th, 2019

After I was completely unprepared for the last Poets of the Fall concert I had seen and the strange melancholia I’d felt most of the night spilled right over into my blog post, I was more than ready to just have fun with them again and I did. With a perfect spot front row center, a good band before them and no camera I enjoyed watching, listening and just taking part in the show for one evening. The lights were great, the sound not so much, but I certainly had fun. 🙂

It was an early start for me since I had to go fro Nuremberg to Frankfurt airport, so I left my hostel around 6 am. Everything went smoothly from there, I easily made it to my train and was in Tampere in good time before the gig. Since this was Lost in Music festival, Poets were not on until 22:45, but the doors opened at 20:00. I had a bite to eat and chilled at my hostel for a bit before going to the venue around 19:00. I was alone and not 100% sure I was at the right doors, so I walked around to the bar at Klubi to ask. Ran into Olli and Jani who said hello and chatted with me for a bit. Jani confirmed that it was indeed the Pakkahuone entrance, not the Klubi one. They even introduced me to their manger Mike, who just happened to drop in while I was still there. Now I have met the guys behind the emails. Nice. 🙂

When I got back to the entrance it was almost 19:30 and there were two people waiting. I. joined me soon and we chatted until they opened the doors. I was the first person to walk in and headed straight for front row center. Spent the time blogging and chatting and could not even remember who the first band was until I saw their backdrop. Oh, The Blanko. Yep, I’d seen them before, years ago, supporting Suburban Tribe. While we waited, we heard the band that was playing at Klubi. They were loud, whoever they were.

The Blanko were a lot better than I remembered. Their music was really good and their energy carried over into the audience. I loved their white outfits and how they went just a little crazy on stage. Good fun, good songs, ideal to make time go faster. 🙂 They played for about 45 minutes and even got an encore. Niiice!

Next was more waiting and again we heard the band that was playing at Klubi meanwhile. The crew was getting the stage ready for Poets and Glen, asked to give a setlist to someone at the front, failed completely at throwing it her way. He learned though, crushed the next one into a tight ball and threw it to someone else. :)Eventually everything was ready, the backdrop was up high and the wait ended with the familiar intro. “Whatever you do….”

We had wondered about the setlist in advance. As I’d suspected it was exactly the same as during my last gig on MS Viking Grace. Not ideal for me, but nice to sing along and move to. 🙂 They started with the power of ‘Dreaming wide awake’ and immediately I was going along, singing at the top of my lungs and catching some smiles from the guys for it. 😀 I was so much more present than I had been at my last show and it made me so very happy to be there. I had missed being up front. The audience was much into it and screamed loudly when Marko asked “where are you?” and held out the mic for us to respond.

Straight into ‘Locking up the sun’ with Marko turning in circles across stage and everyone powering through the song. I love that they start into the current show full steam. You can always slow down later. 😉 It made me smile that Olli made the same hand move I did at the beginning of False Kings’. I think I might have originally copied it from him. ‘Temple of Thought’ was beautiful as always – that song never gets old! Somewhere during those first few songs Tiia came by and shook my hand in between taking pictures. 🙂

‘Rogue’ then gave us a chance to watch the guys do their thing, including some close up looks at two guitars and one bass for me. 🙂 I still find it fascinating to watch their fingers work. When Jani sat down at the edge of the stage and Marko asked us if we had our phones I knew what was coming. I was probably the only guest from outside the country, so he exclusively spoke Finnish that night, but with the regular things he says that does not make much of a difference. ‘The Sweet Escape’ was lovely and I suddenly remembered that there is a French version too – how could I have forgotten? Sadly they probably will not ever play that one outside of France. For the umteenth time I wondered how all those lights might look from the stage. I’ve seen plenty of pictures, which look great, but standing there and watching it must be all sorts of wonderful.

Everyone clapped along into the start of ‘My Dark Disquiet’ – that song has grown on me so much since I’ve first heard it. Especially with the new video in mind it is so much fun! 😀 Many of us screamed the “We’re false kings and bastards” line. 🙂 It was so good to have Jari back, who seemed to have a bunch of fun behind the drums. “Woohoho” Marko let us sing, leading into ‘War’ – that song never fails to touch me. During Jaska’s solo he was sitting on the stage floor, watching and of course there was some hugging going on too.

With full power we raced into ‘Daze’, then slowed down a bit for ‘Late Goodbye’. Since that song has been absent from setlists for so long I’ve started to appreciate it again and love watching Olli play the guitar on it. <3 It is a great song to close the set with. They returned with ‘Diamonds 4 Tears’, then went straight into ‘Lift’. I had fun jumping around and seeing Olli fly high with his guitar. Captain had been smiling happily all night, lost in his own thoughts and everyone else looked in a great mood too. We moved along, we sang and afterwards we cheered one last time for ‘Carnival of Rust’. It always makes me a little bit knowing that the show will definitely be over after this song, yet it is such a perfect closing song that it makes sense to put it last.

After one last selfie with the band, a few last smiles and all of them waving goodbye, they were gone. I. grinned just as broadly as I did. I would have loved to stick around for a bit, but I had an early train to catch and could use all the sleep I could get, so we got our jackets and left. Goodnight, see you next time. That was fun!

Setlist

Dreaming Wide Awake
Locking Up the Sun
False Kings
Temple of Thought
Rogue
The Sweet Escape
My Dark Disquiet
War
Daze
Late Goodbye

Encore:
Diamonds for Tears
Lift
Carnival of Rust

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