The future a mirror, the past a measurement of time

Ragnar Ólafsson – Kofi & Ti, Radzyń Podlaski; June 11th, 2017

With the tour slowly growing to a close, I felt a roller coaster of emotions from not wanting it to end and being sad that it would be over soon to happiness about what had happened so far and being determined to make the most of what was left. The concert in Radzyń Podlaski was the last small gig before Warsaw where Árstíðir have played before and a bigger crowd is to be expected. It took place at a cosy café in front of an audience that mostly came because they were curious about the music and didn’t know what they were in for. It was an entertaining evening full of good vibes.

The night before I had canceled my original plan to go by train as the train station is located outside the city and it is much easier reached by bus. Only problem was I could not make sense of the bus schedule in Kazimierz Dolny and it could not be found online. At the bus stop I saw three busses listed between 8 and 8:30 so I figured one of hem would surely go. The first one did and after an hour layover in Lublin I arrived in Radzyń Podlaski before noon. Once I could check in the first thing I did was sleep – I needed that. The city was small and pretty and the venue really had made an effort with nice big posters everywhere. There were no tickets, just pay at the door and the concert would be open air. I got a few warmer clothes for the potentially cold night and was back in time for soundcheck. 🙂

Around 7 the place was filled and soon after Ragnar walked on stage, starting with ‘More will come along’. The sound was soft, but perfect. I was sighing happily by the time the first song was over. He asked if anyone spoke Icelandic and someone actually did so he joked he would speak Icelandic then and she could translate. He said “The next song is called Red Wine” in Icelandic, but she did not translate and there was lots of laughter, so he continued in English and played ‘Wine’, not ‘Red Wine’.

Everyone agreed that it was OK to hear lots of love songs, so he told us to close our eyes and open our hearts and if it got to depressing just raise a flag. It is never too much for me, I can almost almost do with melancholic or depressing songs. 😉 We looked at each other a few times while I sang along. By now I know the lyrics so well, I even notice when he screws up. Funnily enough I know when something is wrong, but can’t always tell what the right line would be. My brain is really tuned to sing along mode.

Tonight’s singer was called Weronika and she did well too. She was young and a little nervous, but she clearly enjoyed singing. The duets are highlights of every show for me. This time around Ragnar sang a bit lower than he usually does to match her voice better. It was beautiful. The story to ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’ again included the fact that they do not build with bricks in Iceland because of the earthquake. Until he first mentioned it, I had no idea Iceland had earthquakes. The things you learn… The song started with a smile, because the present birds sang in the wrong key that did not fit with the whistling. 😀

Next was ‘Relations’, on the piano once again. It had been a while since he had a piano to use, so it made me quite happy. It took a while to get the sing-along right, as people started too early, but eventually we managed. 🙂 With ‘The Cannon’ we learned not only that John owns 20 guns, but where he keeps them in his house (“under the bed, even in the toilet”) 😀 and that it’s fun to travel in the US, because there is so much to see and people are the best and the worst in the world. The description of the picture after the scope hitting him in the head is so vivid that I can see it or recall it rather. I saw it once. Anyway, the story never fails to make people laugh. 🙂

Ragnar introduced ‘Urges’ as “a letter I wrote to my ex-girlfriend two years too late”. That’s a good way of putting it and fits with everything the song makes me feel. After that, people did not want to hear another depressing song so ‘Red Wine’ wasn’t played at all that night. Instead, we heard a description about feeling heartbroken and being in such a downward spiral that everything becomes bad, then laughing at oneself because it is such a first world problem. I can totally relate to that! ‘Vegetate’ was cool and relaxed with goofed up lyrics at one point: “At nights I go to a bar and celebrate six round or so” – then again, rounds could be celebrated, right? Somewhere in the middle people started clapping along and Ragnar instructed them to clap on the two and the four instead of the one and two. It worked nicely. 🙂

He told us about shooting the video to ‘Petals’ and that it was so cold he was shaking and how red his ears were in the video. I never noticed, will have to go back and check. 😉 It was a beautiful rendition too, very soft with just one shared microphone. “Music is all about meeting people and creating something together”. 🙂 Before ‘Scar’ he tried the ‘Relations’ sing along again and someone sing “no-no-no” instead of “oh-oh-oh”. As soon as the last note rang out, the audience was asking for more.

Someone said “one more” in Polish, which reminded Ragnar that he had learned to count to eight and he had to prove it right away. Apparently 9 is very hard. ‘bravery’ was as awesome as ever. After he told us that the last one was more scary than depressing. 😉 In the end we got to hear both murder ballads, ‘Where the wild Roses grow’ as well as ‘Sleep now’. I loved it and as every night I hoped for people to not give up and clap for more, but they didn’t, so the next to last concert ended here.

The night was far from over though. A few people stuck around, talking, getting stuff signed, asking about Ragnar’s other bands. The girl who spoke Icelandic was apparently a big fan and overcame all of her shyness to talk to him. When she got a picture and a hug she was over the moon. 😀 After most people left we had drinks and Ragnar had a surprise for me in store, playing me my song. He said he was not happy with this guitar version yet, but I thought it was beautiful and it brought me very close to tears. <3 We talked for a long time and before we left we had a Salmiakki bottle to finish together with Bartek and Kuba the owner of the cafe. Since we all happened to be at the same hotel we could walk back together. Tired, somewhat drunk and very happy I dropped into bed, drifting off into nice dreams…

pictures of this concert

Urges tour Poland: 13 gigs down, 1 to go. Next stop: Warszaw

Setlist

More will come along
Wine
War
Dozen
Every Brick in Manhattan
Relations
The Cannon
Urges
Vegetate
Petals
Scar

Bravery
Where the wild Roses grow
Sleep now

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