Ragnar Ólafsson – The Brunswick, Brighton; October 4th, 2017
The Brighton concert was the first one to be announced on the little UK tour and the one I only decided to add last minute. London fit my schedule much better because it was on a public holiday and since there were no morning flights back to Germany, I decided one had to be enough. Until I returned from Reykjavik that is. I went back and forth between thinking that I really should be at the office and really wanted to go to Brighton. Finally, the Friday before the gig I decided to go, change my flights booked a hotel and felt much happier after. 😀 Needless to say it was totally worth it, proving once again that a chance of spending the evening with good music and good people should never be missed.
Booking late meant expensive trains so I took a bus to Brighton, arrived in the early afternoon and walk along the beach to my bed & breakfast. It was beautiful weather and so warm that I was tempted to go for a swim in the sea. I didn’t, but the water sure looked appealing. What I saw of the city was lovely and contrary to my expectations totally different from Whitby where I had been at about the same time last year. The ocean looked liked it does in California with shade of turquoise and blue. After a long walk I had a good Thai dinner and made my way to The Brunswick for the concert.
They actually had a separate window for the concert and there were posters too. I had to wait a bit before they let us in and I could say hello to the guys. Ragnar told me that Tom could not make it this time, but Amy Webber, today’s duet partner would be his support act. I was curious to hear her and settled down at a table at the front. On the stereo they were playing a cover version of Springsteen’s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ which made me smile, because Bruce seemed to follow me on this trip. 🙂
The start time was more Icelandic than British, but eventually Amy was on stage with a friend of hers supporting her on guitar. They started with two cover songs and I noticed that her voice was amazing. She sounded beautiful. 🙂 Next she played some of her own songs and towards the end of her set she called her friend Shannon to the stage to play and sing with her, once again playing cover songs and one of Shannon’s own. It was mostly pop tunes with a bit of country thrown in. I quite liked it. Both women had lovely voices. Pretty much everyone in the audience seemed to know them and clearly, most had come to see Amy, because as soon as she was done several people got up and left. Their loss.
It didn’t take all that long until Ragnar and Kjartan were on stage. They started with ‘SSDD’ and I loved it. Kjartan’s slide guitar is just awesome. It made me smile because this was the song that had never really worked for me before and now, since the London gig, it finally won me over. Only a matter of time. 🙂 Ragnar introduced them briefly and told us how the album came about, before he played ‘Wine’, once again without the mic. His description of recording the song at Toppstöðin with the wind blowing and a creaking chair really set the atmosphere for the song.
He introduced ‘A Prayer’ saying it is like a mantra of thoughts that go round and round im your head without resolution. It certainly is one of those songs I can listen to over and over again. It speaks to me on many levels. <3 About ‘Relations’ he noted that he still has no clue what the song is about and suggested we tell him. I have ideas, but I am sure they say a lot more about me than about what the song really means. 😉 Anyway, it has grown on me and I liked the piano version a lot.
After a great version of ‘Urges’ he called Amy on stage to sing with him, telling us they had prepared three songs. The first one was ‘Dozen’ and worked beautifully. Then she stayed for ‘War’ and added some great harmonies for it. Ragnar asked us if we liked stories and when we agreed he told us that fit well because he likes talking : D, then proceeded to tell us a little more about the song.
‘Vegetate’ eased the mood a bit after all the sad songs and again, Kjartan’s slide guitar work was amazing. ‘Bravery’ was great as well. So much power. Then it was back to the piano and softer, more depressing notes with ‘Red Wine’. It waa a nice contrast to the previous songs.
Amy was back for an amazing version of ‘Petals’ and the set ended with ‘Scar’. Ragnar told us it was the last song before the encore and even though we were not many people he played ‘A Needele and a Thread’ anyway introducing it as the start of a new chapter in his story. I was happy to hear it again and loved it just as much as the first time around.
Aftet the show we went out for drinks until last call and getting kicked out of the bar ( which in the UK isn’t very late). It was a fun night and I said goodbye with many hugs as I was not going to join them for the next day’s concert. See you in Warsaw!
Needle and Thread