Ragnar Ólafsson – Kalosz, Mysłowice; Jnue 4th, 2017
On the sixth day of my Poland tour with Ragnar I found myself in a small basement pub in Mysłowice, once again amazed of the variety of venues on this tour. The room was small, hence only one microphone and one amplifiers were used, the 15 or so seats filled up with people who had just happened to come by. It was an enjoyable concert though, perfectly fitting for a Sunday night in a place like this. 🙂
I arrived via taxi from Katowice where my hotel was, since one possible train was too early and the other too late for my liking. Sat outside for a while, chatted with Ragnar and some local guys who joined our table, drank some tea, waited, the usual. During soundcheck I was blown away by local singer Natalia’s beautiful voice. Wow! It had cooled down outside, so I stood at the bar where just before the concert Ragnar decided to playa few tunes, Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and then Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’. It worked, people gathered in the room where the stage was and sat down.
He said he was gonna start with a song he had not played live yet so I knew it was not going to be ‘More will come along’ this time, but I didn’t know which it would be. It was ‘The Dancer’, a song I had hoped for since seeing it on his setlist for the first show. One verse short, but very nicely done. I had a flashback of hearing him play that song to me at a train station somewhere in Austria more than a year ago. 🙂
The setlist is still changing a little bit every night, so i cannot rely on what I think might be coming next. The combination of ‘Wine’ and ‘War’ works well for me though. ‘Dozen’ might have been the best version yet. Natalia absolutely nailed it. Beautiful voice, perfect phrasing. It was a joy listening to her. I think after this tour I want a duets album. 🙂
This time around there was not as much banter as the previous night and not so many stories, but we got some introductions to the songs of course. For some reason, ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’ made people laugh.I had never heard him talk about ‘Bravery’ much so it was interesting to hear a backstory to that one. It was written on a motor-bike trip in the US, high up in the mountains. Again, nobody in the room knew Árstíðir, but that didn’t matter. ‘The Cannon’ was still appreciated’
To my left were two rather chatty girls and I wasn’t the only one looking over there, wondering if I’d have to tell them to shut up or get out. I could sense that Ragnar was getting annoyed with them as well. He handled it perfectly though, walked over to them, sat down on their table, said he was going to do the next song for them because where he came from, it was impolite to talk during someone’s performance and maybe this would make them shut up. I think they were somewhat embarrassed, then tried to pay attention, but started cheering halfway through ‘Vegetate’. Hence, he asked them nicely if they wanted to hear the rest of the song. Before ‘Petals’ then, he asked everyone to really be quiet during this one or go out for a smoke maybe and it worked. It was really amazing too. So well sung. Now I was even more impressed with Natalia than before. <3
Overall I had the feeling the audience didn’t really know what to think. Some seemed to enjoy it, especially one girl at the front, who had her eyes closed and was smiling the whole time. Yet these people were not all that enthusiastic about it. They listened though and that’s all you can ask from a Sunday night pub crowd I guess.
‘Urges’ and ‘Scar’ closed the set and people did want an encore, so it was a success. Once again, someone asked for a song in Icelandic. It surprises me how many people want that. It has never occurred to me to ask, but then again, I get to hear the Icelandic songs at Árstíðir’s concerts all the time. Anyway, Ragnar said he’d think about it, but played ‘Sleep now’ for us first. After that, the mood did not really call for another encore and people did not clap that much, so this was it. Solid show, fitting with the place.
The two chatty girls apologized and I got talking to them for a bit. We even sat down with Ragnar and had a beer. Soon after, it was time to say goodbye, go home and get a good night’s sleep for a chance. Onwards tomorrow!
Urges tour Poland: 6 gigs down, 8 to go. Next stop: Cieszyn
Every Brick in Manhattan