Too much smoke, lots of reverb and a surprise ending

Árstíðir – Rebellion, Manchester; January 25th, 2019

Once more I went to see Árstíðir in the UK, this time at a rock club in Manchester. It was a nice place and a good gig with few people in attendance, but all of them enthusiastic about the music. We were much rewarded and got the guys at their best.

My day started at work, where I stayed until 11 and went straight to the airport to go to Manchester. Everything went smoothly and when I got to my hotel I check what time the concert was. To my surprise doors were supposed to open at six so I didn’t have much time to rest before going there. Arrived at 5:30, saw Gunnar and Daníel outside and learned they were just starting soundcheck. I could see a little bit of it trough the window and it looked like a nice place. Eventually they got done and four of the guys went out, telling me the doors would not open until 7. Bummer! Just then, around 6 a few more people arrived and we all waited together. When they let us in, I claimed a spot at front row center, surprised that pretty much everyone else headed for the bar first.

Passed the time by chatting with the woman next to me, wondering who the support act was going to be. First though, we were drowned in artificial smoke. There was so much it became hard to breathe. The support act, a female singer and a guy on bass, appeared and fiddled with their equipment. She introduced them too, but I didn’t quite understand the name. The music wasn’t really my thing, some brand of electro, but they seemed to have trouble with their equipment too. It looked like the microphone wasn’t functioning properly. Thus, I could hardly heard her vocalizing over the bass lines. Also there was so much smoke, I could not see them either. I felt sorry for them, those were really not great conditions. When they were done people applauded politely, but nobody asked for more. I just hoped the sound would be better for Árstíðir. Before they started I asked if something could be done about the smoke and they promised they would.

I had not expected the band to start before 8 and they were on stage earlier than that. Again, there was still music playing. It seems to be a pattern this tour that they sneak up on stage, before anyone can turn down whatever is on during the break or before the show. 😉 Luckily there was no more smoke. With the first notes of ‘While this way’ I knew it was going to be OK, because the sound was much better. Lots of reverb too, which worked nicely on some of the songs. It wasn’t perfect, but it sounded good and standing in front of the speakers I could even feel the music. There were no projections this time, just the band.

As soon as they started the people who had been sitting at the bar before came to the front of the venue and it filled up a bit. Nobody was crowding me in though, there was plenty of room to move fore everyone. It felt nice to have that space and some people. myself included were swaying with the music at times. It also meant I could freely walk around and take pictures from different angles. I could not always see what I was doing, because it was a bit dark, but the lights were much better than at the last show I’d seen.

‘Please help me’ made me realized I have not listened to Nivalis enough yet, because I still cannot sing along to the entire song. It only works for the ones I’ve heard more often. Did my best though and had fun doing it. It just makes me really happy to be touring with them again. ‘Ljóð í sand’ was a hit with the crowd as usual and the more I hear it the more I am appreciating ‘Vetur að vori’ – it is one of those songs that have grown on me over time. 🙂 The rest of the first set went by in the blink of an eye. I love all these songs and smiles all the way through. The guys didn’t talk all that much, just occasionally told us the song titles, so before we knew it, it was break time.

They’d said, ten or 15 minutes and they usually take longer than that so I was in no hurry. Got a drink too and was back just in time for a few words with my neighbor before they returned to the stage. Standing at the center this time I had a great view of Daníel, Gunnar and Ragnar during the acoustic set, while from my usual spot on the left I can’t see them so well. It was lovely hearing hem play ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Kill us’. How did I never realized before this tour that the latter song would be perfect for such a treatment. I always think of it as one of the louder, potential closing songs and it never occurred to me that at the time they were writing it it must have been somewhat similar to the way they play it now.

‘Like Snow’ was a good transition back to the full band and the show was rolling along nicely from there. I had a great time being there, taking everything in, listening to the music I love and watching the guys work. <3 They mentioned that whoever pronounced ‘Friðþægingin’ correctly would get a beer after the show. It always makes me wonder if that counts for me, unless I’m still not doing it right. The guys are on the safe side either way as I don’t drink beer. 😉 After ‘Himinhvel’ and ‘Things you said’ they put down their instruments and I wondered what they’d do now. It was a beautiful rendition of ‘Heyr himna smiður’. Since the band is going back to Wuppertal on Sunday Gunnar told us the story of the train station video and how they did it after “quite a few beers”, describing how one of them was holding two beers and one had no socks on. I remember that night fondly.

Ragnar announced ‘Passion’ and told us they did not get an encore since they started playing in the UK, but would give one if we asked for it. I did not believe him and thought it might just be a good story. When I asked after the show though he said that people really did not clap for an encore at the three previous gigs. How strange. ‘Passion’ was brilliant and when we cheered them back to the stage Gunnar quipped how they’d never know if we did it because we wanted to or just because they’d asked. 😀 He then said the next song was “from the blue album” (Hvel) and I wondered if they’d do something different this time. They didn’t and Ragnor corrected him regarding the album. The show ended there and ‘Órói’ was played as the guys walked out. It was the same in Leiden, but I’d already forgotten about it.

We still clapped and cheered and I didn’t believe the band come out again, but they did, walked straight into the audience ad performed ‘Góda veslu göra skal’. It was perfect! I went for hugs and a chat, starting with Jean-Samuel who stood all on his own for a while and then moving on to everyone else. It was a nice one, see you tomorrow. 🙂

pictures of this concert

Setlist

While this Way
Lover
Please Help me
Ljóð í sand
Vetur að vori
In the Wake of You
Mute
Þar sem enginn fer
Shades

acoustic set:
Sunday Morning
Kill Us

Like Snow
Entangled
Friðþægingin
Himinhvel
Things You Said
Heyr himna smiður
Passion

Nú gleymist ég

Góda veslu göra skal

Nivalis winter tour: 3 gigs down, 10 to go. Next stop: London

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