Six weeks of shows, seven down and seven more to go

Árstíðir – Wurlitzer Ballroom, Madrid; February 3rd, 2019

When Spain showed up on the list of Árstíðir’s tour dates, I knew I wanted to go, because I had never seen them in that country yet. Would have loved to return to Barcelona, but with the Madrid show being on a Sunday that was much easier to do. Little did I know it would happen in the middle of the night. It was an amazing show though with good vibes all around and my favorite on this tour next to London. Thus totally worth the lack of sleep and not knowing how to get through six hours of work the next day. 😉

I’d never been to Madrid before and arrived there on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Made the most of the daylight that was left and walked the city for a while. Had churros with chocolate as an afternoon snack, enjoyed the sunshine and rested for a while after it had gotten dark. Arrived at the venue a bit before 9. Had to ask if I was in the right place as there was no sign that indicated what it was. Learned that that 22:00 listed on the ticket did not mean start time of the gig, but was when the doors would open. GAAAH! I hate midnight shows, especially when I have an early flight to catch the morning after. Nothing I could do about it, so more walking until I got back there around 9:30. Saw M. and quickly said hello as she walked out with Guillaume. By now I was looking forward to the show.

Quite a few people arrived before they let us in. I liked it already. The club was small, but looked nice and people gathered around the stage for support act Nostos. The started about 20 past ten, three guys with guitar bass and keyboards/effects. They only played instrumental music, but I really liked it. The melodies were really enjoyable and had good variety. I liked how they had decorated the stage with candles too. It was enjoyable music, a good warm up and the guys seemed nice too. When it was over, they all hugged. 🙂

Soon, Árstíðir were on stage to set up their stuff. Gunnar waved at me as I was right in front of him at the center. I waved back and smiled at the others as I saw them. They all looked quite relaxed. Guillaume looked at my Árstíðir T-Shirts and shrugged apologetically when we realized that once again it dindn’t match his. I’d started joking about that a few gigs ago and somehow we never pick the same one to wear. Ragnar came over for a hug just before they started the show. People who had been further to the back of the club stepped forward and crowded around the stage. Many looked like they were metal fans. It always makes me happy to see them attract fans from that genre. Oh and it wasn’t a midnight show after all, more like an 11:15 pm show. 😉

This night the music played before the gig stopped as soon as the band walked on stage and they told us how happy they were to play their first ever headline show in Spain. They all looked really happy too, most of them smiling the whole concert through. The sound was brilliant from the start – the sound engineers at the small clubs they have played lately really know what they are doing. 🙂 From the moment I heard Gunnar sing the first line to ‘While this way’ I was singing along and forgot all about the fact that I’d been tired five minutes ago. Their music just makes me so happy, I can’t help but smile when I hear it and this was one of the concert where everything was perfect and the energy in the room was positive from the start.

‘Lover’ was great. It sounded different somehow, but I can’t really put my finger on why. For a few of the songs the drums seemed more prominent than usual, but not overpowering, just right. Maybe that was it. This was the first concert where I felt that the audience loved the new songs more than the old ones or at least equally. Usually the cheers are the loudest as soon as ‘Ljóð í sand’ comes along, but here they were equally loud for the songs from ‘Nivalis’. 😀 Ragnar joked about being like The Beatles or Metallica in a sense of naming their albums by colors, but of course no other comparison. 😉 It made everyone laugh. I really loved ‘In the Wake of You’ too. That song really strikes a chord with me right now. Strangely, it doesn’t make me sad though, rather feels like a description of facts.

Daníel talked about the songs determining which language they want to be in and that there is only one Icelandic song on ‘Nivalis’. Then he realized that he was too early and added “but the next song is in English, it’s called ‘Mute'”. 😀 And what a powerful version of ‘Mute’ it was. I kept thinking that the two day break had done them good and they were really amazing that night because they got some rest, but the truth was that they had traveled through from Paris after the gig there and still were at the top of their game. I was much impressed and once again felt proud of the guys. After ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ Gunnar suggested we’d take a ten minute break after the next song and everyone agreed. They rocked the house with ‘Shades’ and got sent off to their well deserved break with huge cheers.

People had been chatting for a while, but the moment Árstíðir stepped back on the stage, everyone grew quiet and looked at them expectantly. I never have enough words to describe how much I love ‘Sunday Morning’, especially the acoustic trio version. <3 The audience laughed when Daníel told us the title of the next song was ‘Kill us’. 😉 After inviting the string players back to the stage Ragnar joked about calling Icelanders “homo sapiens nivalis” because they like the cold. I wondered what you could call people like me, who strive when it’s warm. “Homo sapiens solis” maybe as “sol” is latin for sun. 😉 Gunnar asked if we’d heard of quantum entanglement, but there was no answer except for laughter. The guys explained it as a metaphor for love, but didn’t go into details this time. It was OK, the song is beautiful either way and this audience didn’t really react to the keyword physics. They loved the song though and how could you not?

It was such a beautiful concert overall with the audience listening attentively and the band being really into it. They were smiling at each other all the time as I they were sharing a big, funny secret. Everyone in the room looked as if they enjoyed being there, cheering for their favorite songs, having a good night out. I felt like dancing and was swaying with the music. There was a time when I thought I’d lost it and the music didn’t carry me so well any more, but now I’ve found it again and I was floating on sound waves all night, dreaming unspecific, yet wonderful dreams and letting the music speak to my heart and soul. This is why I go to concerts, this is why I cannot let go. it may not always be perfect, but it always is fun and once in a while everything aligns and nothing else matters an more. <3

‘Friðþægingin’, ‘Himinhvel’ and ‘Things you said’ flowed right into each other without any words in-between, gearing up for the grand finale. Then, before ‘Passion’ Gunnar told us how much they enjoyed being there and that it is always hardest to get into the coolest places to play and thanked us for being there. He went on saying that being a touring musician is not as glamorous as it may look like from the outside. Still, he urged us to do whatever it is that sparked our passion, because that is what makes you happy. Word! He announced ‘Passion’ as the last song and while people went “awww” over that, someone happily yelled “YES!”, because apparently that was the song he had been waiting for all night! 😀 It was a great version too, but since they had so pointedly said it was last, music was immediately turned on when it was over and people stopped clapping. so again, no encores. It was an amazing show nonetheless!

I did not stay long this time, only long enough to tell everyone how much I’d loved the show and get hugs from those who wanted to hug. The were in such a good mood, I’d have loved to stay for drinks, but I needed a little bit of sleep at least. See you next weekend guys!

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: 7 gigs down, 7 to go. Next stop: Budapest

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