English class, black sand and three a cappella songs

Árstíðir & Kyle Woolard – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg; April 19th, 2016

Sitting in at Café Galao in Stuttgart where Árstíðir are going to play an unannounced gig tonight, I am trying to wrap my head around the past week and the amazing times I’ve had. Aschaffenburg is not exactly close to home for me, but it has a good train connection and the Colos-Saal is an amazing venue so of course I had to go. Needless to say it was totally worth it. The best show I have seen on this tour so far in terms of performance and audience. I absolutely loved it, right down to the missed sleep and the tough day at the office following it. 🙂

Arrived after the doors opened due to a late train, but luckily P. and A. were already there, saving a spot for me. Sadly, there weren’t many people at the beginning, seemingly less than last year, but the place did fill a bit more eventually. The advantage of a late arrival is a short waiting time – just after 8, Kyle walked on stage and focused all the attention in the room. He just said “Welcome to English class” and he made us laugh right away and it only got better from there. He was playing well and the audience obviously enjoyed it. Seems like he is getting better every time I hear him and this night had its very own magic with the most responsive audience yet.

He started with ‘Blurry’ again and by now I can already sing along to parts of it. It surely fits touring life. ‘Minnesota’ is always a highlight for me – so many great lines in that song. The audience was totally into it from the beginning, laughing at Kyle’s story about feeling like being in a horror movie surrounded by invisible monsters when thinking of Trump supporters and cheering after each song.

The daily number magic did not work, but he looked truly confident all night and was just having fun. For ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’ he walked to the very front of the stage and for a moment I thought he was going to jump down and play amongst the crowd, but he decided to stay up there. People loved it and happily sang along. For ‘Occupy Anchorage’ Árstíðir supported him again and ‘Vancouver’ worked nicely with the audience call and response. It was the perfect start for the night and Kyle walked off the stage with a big smile on his face.

Setlist:

Blurry
Minnesota
Patagonia
Equador
Fools rush in
Occupy Anchorage
Vancouver 

Before the show I had watched Karl fiddle with his tech gear for a long time, but had not asked what was going on. I learned later that they had a sample malfunction. Thus, the show started with ‘Someone who cares’ instead of ‘Himinhvel’ this time – it was welcome change to the regular setlist and only the first of many surprises that night. 🙂

The audience response was even better than for Kyle and the guys seemed so much more relaxed than in Munich two days before. Being forced to change the setlist seemed to do them good. They treated us to ‘Við dagsins hnig’ which I had not heard in quite some time And even played ‘Þér ég unni ‘. That alone would have made me happy, but it was not only the selection of songs, it was the atmosphere that was special. The guys seemed to be feeling their way through the gig and in doing so they slowly drew everyone in as if we were allies in not knowing what would happen next.

The beautiful music was mixed with some funny moments as well. After ‘Þér ég unni ’ Daníel said the next song was from the collaboration album as well. Therefore I expected ‘Danny Boy’ and was quite surprised when Ragnar started playing ‘Silfurskin’. Gunnar looked at him and he stopped so I thought I had been right. I wasn’t though, Silfurskin was the song they had planned on playing and everyone just got confused. 🙂 The biggest surprise for me was ‘Ljoð í sand’ with Kyle on lead vocals. Before they started they told the story of being stuck in Canada on the US tour and how Karl and Kyle had prepared a two man show for New York City. That’s why Kyle learned the song and he did an excellent job. After the show I told everyone they should let him sing that one all the time. <3

The song of the night was ‘Systir’ though. It was the absolutely best version of this song I have heard so far. I still don’t have much of a clue about the lyrics, but I felt them right then and there. Perfect. Everything else was spot on as well though and the audience loved it. When we got around to the encore, nobody wanted the band to leave and when they walked off after ‘Heiðin’ everyone clapped and cheered so loudly they just had to come back. Walking right into the audience, they sang ‘Góda veslu göra skal’ from there. It was the perfect end o a perfect night. I could not have been happier.

After the show it was time to hug the guys and talk for a while. Everyone had liked the concert and Kyle even claimed it was the best one hehad ever played. Sure not the biggest audience, but the best one so far. P., A. and I hung out and chatted with the guys until the venue was closed and we were the last ones to leave. What a great night!

Setlist:

Someone who cares
Moonlight
Sunday Morning
Orð að eigin vali
Við dagsins hnig
Á meðan jörðin sjefur
You just have to know of me
Shine
Ljoð í sand
Days & Nights
Nú gleymist ég
Þér ég unni
Silfurskin
Systir
You again
Shades

Heyr, himna smiður
Heiðin
Góda veslu göra skal

pictures of this concert

Árstíðir spring tour: 4 concerts down, 15 to go, next stop: Esslingen (Neckar)

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