Not the first, not the second – who is counting any more?

Árstíðir – Bürgerbahnhof, Wuppertal; January 27th, 2019

After more than five years Árstíðir returned to Bürgerbahnhof in Wuppertal, where they had spontaneously sung ‘Heyr himna smiður’ out in the hall in September 2013, the video of which has since been viewed 6.9 million times on youTube. It was a good night with many friendly and familiar faces in the crowd and of course they did an after show encore out in the hall. we shall see that on youTube eventually.

My original flight from London had been in the afternoon, but I’d changed it to make sure I’d be in Wuppertal on time. Thus, I was on my way to the airport around 5 am. The guys, who were driving all the way, left about two hours after I did (as they told me later). Slept through the entire flight, including take-off and landing and got in one more hour of sleep when I returned to Dortmund at noon. Expected the doors to open at 6 so I arrived in Wuppertal shortly after 5. Of course the doors were not opened until 6:30 and I spent quite some time walking around and freezing in the hall. To my surprise C. showed up, having decided three concerts in the Netherlands were not enough. 😉 Later S., M., C. and H. from Solingen arrived too. I would have been very surprised if they had not. 🙂 When they let us in, they had to get Ragnar from backstage, because he had forgotten to put me on he guest list. Too much tour stress, clearly. Of course he confirmed and in I was. The place was just as tiny as I’d remembered. I’d considered filming, but decided against it and rather stood at the front. It was supposed to start at 7 so I’d make it home at a decent hour or at least that was the plan.

Well, the band took their time and it was after 7:30 when finally someone from the venue stepped on stage to announce them. He reminded everyone of how they’d sung out in the hall last time they’d been there and even claimed that it was the first place they’d gone when they arrived. I rolled my eyes. We’d been talking about this the past days and how everyone would expect them to repeat something that in my opinion cannot be repeated. L. said the same, but they still felt pressured to do something. “If you’re gonna do it, you should at lats make sure it is one of your own songs this time. It really bugs me that you are best known for a song that isn’t even yours!” were my final words on the issue the previous night.

First it was time for the concert though and after a short hello the guys launched into ‘While this Way’. Last time around it had been rather dark at this venue and this time there was light, but nothing special, it just felt like they’d forgotten to switch off the main lights. At least it made it easy to take pictures. 😉 C. and I both sang along and so did someone behind me. 😀 I love it when that happens. The first two songs were no problem lyrics wise either. When Ragnar wanted to announce the next song, he had a momentary blackout and Gunnar asked “Do you need help?” “Please help me.” was the reply. It made me giggle. 😀 From the beginning there was feedback on Daníel’s guitar and now he asked the sound guy to do something about it, saying that it might sound kinda cool but the guitar should not take control over the one who is playing it. People laughed, but he was clearly annoyed.

Afterwards they had a small discussion and played ‘Vetur að vori’ before ‘Ljóð í sand’ – I did my best to sing along to those as well and Ragnar winked at me when he saw it. He told story about the coolest rehearsal space one could have and joked about referring to their albums by colors. Gunnar explained about the poems in the black sand that are morbid rather than romantic. So now we had “dramatic” and “morbid” – let’s see what else they come up with. 😉 ‘In the Wake of you’ and ‘Mute’ followed back to back. I loved all the songs as well as the enthusiastic audience, but the whole gig felt less relaxed than the previous one. Daníel spoke about how the songs decide if they want to be written in Icelandic or English and then told us that ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ was written while traveling in Iceland, but if we wanted to get the message we’d have to learn Icelandic. 😉 ‘Shades’ of course wa sthe last song in the first part and made people happy.

When the band walked back on stage after the break they were fours so I knew they were not going to pick up their guitars right away. I was right, they started the second half with ‘Heyr himna smiður’ and told us after they felt they needed to do it because of the youTube hit that had originated in this place. Unfortunately the feedback was still there and now only one of the double mics was working. They made do with one. When Gunnar snapped his fingers to test it, people laughed. I noticed all night that this audience seemed to find everything funny. It was a bit strange to me, but whatever floats your boat. I was in a silly mood myself and remember getting into a giggle fit about something they said somewhere along the way, even though I cannot remember what it was all about. As always I loved the acoustic set, even with less than ideal sound.

Ragnar asked us if when knew what “nivalis” meant and I nodded so he was like “Yeah, you know”. C. whispered to me that we knew thanks to them. True. 🙂 He added that it was a description for animals that strive in the cold, a bit like Icelanders. They played ‘Entangled’ first though and then gave us ‘Like snow’. I love the strings on that song and also how it just ends abruptly. They really rocked ‘Friðþægingin’ and that too ends with a bang. I could not stop smiling, enjoying the show all the way. When ‘Things you said’ was over, Gunnar and Ragnar both breathed out as if they were glad it was over and had been holding that breath. It made C. and me laugh.

Again it worked that people said “awww” when they told us they were down to the last song and Ragnar mentioned how they had not gotten an encore three nights in a row while in the UK, adding “soon they won’t be part of Europe any more so who cares?”. Gunnar responded that they had to hold back with the Brexit jokes while there so they had to come out now. It was highly amusing! Of course musicians need a bit (or a lot) of ‘Passion’ to do their jobs and brought the show to a nice close with that song.

Yes we wanted more and the first encore was ‘Nú glyemist ég’ to which they said that despite the title they did not want us to forget about them. Don’t worry, we won’t! It was a great rendition and we still didn’t have enough so they asked if there was room for us down in the crowd and sang ‘Góda veslu göra skal’ in the middle of the audience. I#d been hoping for that. It is always nice when they get close. 🙂

Many people came to chat after the gig and one even bought their entire music catalogue and had it all signed. 🙂 A. was there and some more familiar faces as well. Someone said she saw me sing along to all the songs and thought I spoke Icelandic, but I had to admit that I am just pretending. I sat with Gunnar for some time, because I’d asked him to handwrite the lyrics to my song for me and finally there was time to do it. <3 It will soon be up on my wall. After that they did go out into the – still freezing – hall with their guitars and played ‘Kill us’ for those who were still around. It was fun and filmed by so many that there will be several versions on youTube. It was a nice gesture to those who were waiting for it and it worked well too. Let’s see how many people view it.

This was the only concert in my area and I was happy to go home and sleep in my own bed after the show for once. That also met I had a train to catch, but since it was an early show there was not much of a problem. I enjoyed hanging out until it was time for them to pack, hugged them goodbye and joked with them about still telling myself that I would not come to Arnhem. See you in Arnhem, them tour manager said and he was right. I knew I wanted to go before I even arrived at home. Two days to catch up on sleep and I’d be back on the road. 🙂

pictures of this concert


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

acoustic set:
Heyr himna smiður
Sunday Morning
Kill Us

Like Snow
Things You Said

Nú gleymist ég
Góda veslu göra skal

Nivalis winter tour: 5 gigs down, 9 to go. Next stop: Antwerp

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