Where no one goes

Árstíðir – Music City, Antwerp; January 30th, 2019

The Árstíðir concert in Antwerp was one I had not originally planned. Not only was it announced much later than the others, it was mid week and a five hour trainride away. Yet somehow, after the lovely three concert long weekend I could not let go of the thought that I needed to be there. My feeling was right, it was a good gig and it brought me the peace of mind to relax. 😉 It was a small venue and a small crowd, so I hoped that one more person there might have made a difference and tried to give them a good send off into their short tour break before the weekend.

My day started early, because I wanted to get seven hours of work in before leaving around two in the afternoon. All worked out well and even with having to change trains three times I made it to Antwerp by 19:15. quick check in to my hotel, a bite to eat and I was alkig the streets of Antwerp towards the venue. Luckily Árstíðir had a support act and would not be on stage before 9. The streets seemed residential and I walked past many small stores and restorants, wondering if this was really where the venue would be. There was no sign where Google maps directed me and I had a small moment of panic before I looked ino the doorway and not only spotted “Music City” written above the next door, but Jean-Samuel and Gunnar smoking in front of it. I said hello, we joked about the venue not looking like a venue and Gunnar told me it was tiny and there was no stage. he also mentioned that the Support act was quite heavy and I had just enough time to say “It’s OK, I have earplugs” before I heard them already.

I walked in and immediately realized he had not exaggerated inthe slightest. The band stood pretty much in the middle of the room and there wasn’t much space for an audience. I didn’t count, but guestimated 15 people. This time I was on the guestlist too. <3 Stood by the side and listened to Astodan, who were heavy indeed, but played rather melodious music that I enjoyed. It was all instrumental and the set was just he right length. A few more guests showed up while they played, most of them seemded to be people the guys already knew. Once Astodan were done and packed their stuff I moved further into the room and over to the left side, my usual spot. I liked the venue,  it had a lot of character with grafitti on he wall and random disco balls. The staff was nice, the drinks were cheap and the toilets were surprisingly clean. The bad part? Smoking was allowed inside. Yuck!

C. had said she’d come to the gig, but she was nowhere to be seen and I soon realized she had not made it. The club was too small to hide. 😉 Since I didn’t know any of the other guest either this was the first concert this year that I saw on my own so to speak. Once in a while that is really nice and this time I didn’t even talk to any of the other guests, just listened and sang along. I’d already thought the sound was really good as I listened to the support and when the real concert started I found out I was right. With smaller venues I always fear it might be horrible, but it all depends on the system and especially the sound engineer they have and here they clearly had someone who knew what he was doing. It was pretty awesome. The lights weren’t bad either.

The concert as such was really beautiful and it made me a bit sad that so few people had come. Those who had shown up were listening though and they liked it too. It turned out later that not everyone had known the band beforehand, but gave them a chance anyway. 🙂 The guys kept the setlist order from Wuppertal and played ‘Vetur að vori’ before ‘Ljóð í sand’. They didn’t talk all that much between songs, but introduced them nonetheless. Before ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ Daníel mentioned again that it was written while traveling in west Iceland. It was fun first set that ended with a great version of ‘Shades’.

During the break, I shared a few words and a hug with Ragnar who came to the bar to get drinks. It’s always nice to say hello, but of course there never is much time until the concert is over. A woman who’d been swaying with the music through the entire first part, asked to get a picture with the guys and I took one for her. Soon they were back on stage or rather in the room for the second part. Since the venue was so small the did not use the double mic, but just stood in the room with their guitars and sang without amplification. It was really beautiful and soft, so I had to tune down my singing-along. I loved standing right next to them while they sang. ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Kill us’ were both amazing. <3

For ‘Entangled’ Ragnar started telling the story, but then handed it over to Gunnar, who said it was about applying microphysics to humans, asking if we can be entangled. Not sure I would have fully grasped that had I not already known what he was talking about. 😀 ‘Like Snow’ made me feel a little sad that night, so had ‘In the Wake of you’. I don’t know why it happened then an there, but I felt them more than I usually do and the melancholia of ‘Like Snow’ really got to me. The music speaking to me so much is always a good thing. There were moments that made me smile too, like when I saw Jean-Samual and Ragnar just looking at each other for a while, even though I cannot remember which song that was or when Guillaume seemed to pose with his cello, while he probably just didn’t know what to do with his hands.

‘Himinhvel’ was another highlight. I’ve always loved it, but that night’s version seemed extra beautiful. Somehow it resonated with me very much and reminded me of the first incarnation of the song I’d heard so long ago. It has changed a lot since that summer and the memory of that early version intertwined with the current one, making it even better. Moments like these make me remember why I travel far and wide to see this band. <3 After ‘Things you said’ and the usual “We are down to our last song”, with my “Awww” as a response, Ragnar started saying how dear ‘Passion’ is to them and then went off on a tangent musing about how songs are you children and you aren’t really allowed to love one more than the others. He realized there was no coming back and went “Fuck this metaphor!”. 😀 Nobody mentioned possible encores though and people stopped clapping too soon. I tried a little longer, but the mood was gone and the show ended there.

I was happy I’d come there to support them and was rewarded with a lovely concert. 🙂 Got a chance to talk for a bit with Gunnar after and got a few updates. 🙂 Said goodbye to Guillaume and Jean-Samuel, who had a train to catch, then stuck around for more hugs and small talk before it was bedtime for me. Did not get much sleep that night, but it was totally worth it. It always is. 🙂

pictures of this concert

Setlist

While this Way
Lover
Please Help me
Vetur að vori
Ljóð í sand
In the Wake of You
Mute
Þar sem enginn fer
Shades

acoustic set:
Sunday Morning
Kill Us

Entangled
Like Snow
Friðþægingin
Himinhvel
Things You Said
Passion

Nivalis winter tour: 6 gigs down, 8 to go. Next stop: Madrid

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