Ragnar Ólafsson & Isabelle Saadat – Mobile Blues Club, Hamburg; October 10th, 2019
The fact that Martin and James cancelled their tour and I’d been able to sell my Milow ticket for Cologne, freed me to go to Hamburg instead and see Raggi and Isa one more time before they headed south while I was going north. It was a nice, small gig at a really weird venue – basically the back of a truck standing in a parking lot, long and narrow. The gig was fun though and that was the main thing. 🙂
Once again I had planned to leave work early, head to Hamburg, leave my things at I.’s place and go to the concert with her. It save me from having to get up insanely early the next morning to go onwards to Copenhagen. Well, things did not quite the way I planned, because my train was more than 80 minutes delayed. Thus, I.picked me up at the train station, we went to Sternschanze for a bite to eat and to the Mobile Blues Club right after. We were the first to arrive and I knew we were going to be early, but I did not feel comfortable staying elsewhere. After asking someone we found the venue in a parking lot. It was tiny, pretty much the back of a truck with a small stage and an even smaller bar, an oven and a few chairs on each side. The room looked bigger than it is, because they had a mirror on the back wall and one on the side. Strange. It was open, so we sat down next to the stage, joking we might be the only guests. We weren’t. Soon J. arrived and to our surprise had no clue who was playing. She just happened to be in Hamburg by coincidence. Then, Isa and Raggi got there and, soon after, a bunch of students, all friends of a friend of Isa.
They set up and did a brief line check while the rest of us talked. I was freezing and put on my peysa, even though J. and I. assured me that it was warm. Both, Raggi and Isa seemed a bit tired. They were looking for a good chair to sit on at the piano and it took some time to find one. Their LED concert sign had suffered during transport and Isa had to straighten all the letters, but eventually everything was done and they were ready to roll. Raggi asked me to give him some sort of sign in case the piano sounded weird and I joked I’d stab his foot with my tiny pocket knife.
Raggi made a brief introduction and after some tuning they started with ‘Dozen’ – oh, changed setlist, nice! It was lovely as always. When he announced ‘Dragonfly’, Isa joked that it wasnot called ‘Firefly’ “or ‘Butterfly'”, he added, then announced the song as ‘Firefly’, making everyone laugh. The song had evolved a little more since tha last time I’d heard it. Isa especially thanked her friend’s friends fro coming and told us the story about writing ‘Karma’. Sha had escaped from work to Portugal wher one evening some guy kept smiling at her and it was annoying until she realized that the cover of his book had the same picture than her sweater, which lead to dom interesting conversations and a good song. 🙂
Next, Ragnar told the story of how they met and mentioned Árstíðir, so we all joked that we’d never heard of them. When they were in Stuttgart a few years ago sitting around outside Café galao, playing guitar, Isa joined them and played them ‘The South’, impressing them with the song and having “a drunker version” of him sing along. I’m not sure how that might have sounded, but I am sure what we heard in Hamburg was much better. 🙂 Some jokes about red wine and wine-related songs were of course the introduction to ‘Wine’, unplugged as always. ‘Running Down’ followed andwas introduced as being a “short intermezzo” on the upcoming EP with Isa’s band. The awesome ‘out of Spac’ followed, having evolved a little bit too, with more harmony singing and it even had a few people snapping their fingers along with it.
Raggi tried some German slang and failed horribly. It was really funny. We got ‘Relations’ next, people laughing when they were asked to sing along. People were somewhat reluctant, but it did not sound bad. Of course we needed the other “wine-song” as well, hearing about there being much meaning in silence. Then Isa talked about her friend from Hamburg who had talked to her about wanting to write a song about mantis’ and then she did it. The song has grown on me since I’ve first heard it and I#m always looking forward to it.
‘Bravery’, the Jägermeister song, was next. This time he stated that Jägermeister cinnamon vanilla was “liquid angst”. Apparently it was a life changing experience and much suffering for art. 😉 I’d still say it was worth it! He asked us to sing along to ‘Örlög’ and we did, since not only Icelanders use “lalala” a lot. The mental image Raggi gave us was “Imagine you’re an elf, running across the moss and holding hands with Björk”. At that moment I. whispered to me “Ich dachte die heisst anders” (I thought she had a different name), of course alluding to a story Svavar hald told last year and made me giggle. 😀
The “love letter sent two years too late”, aka ‘Urges’ was next and worked nicely with Isa’s voice in the mix. The last duet of the night, ‘Petals’ lead to Raggi trying to say the title in German and mixing things up, then explaining he can understand more German than he speaks. True that. I wish that was true for my (none existent) Finnish skills. 😉 Anyway, it was so beautiful. <3 When Isa said they were coming to their last song, I was actually sad, because this was my last show of the tour. She talked about writing ‘Little Lights’ and how the raindrops on her window looked like lights, because they reflected the streetlight below, but were really just a delusion. It was a good song to end the show on and like in Stuttgart there was no encore.
We stuck around a little bit after to chat, but then had to go to catch our last bus. We managed, then missed our stop and thus the subway, having to take a taxi in the end. I felt exhausted and noticed that my throat was aching, but it had all been worth it and I was happy that I’d managed to see four shows on the tour in the end. Hopefully this will start a long tradition of Germany tours. 🙂
Karma (Isabelle Saadat song)
The South (Isabelle Saadat song)
Running Down (Isabelle Saadat song)
Out of Space (Isabelle Saadat song)
Flying Mantis (Isabelle Saadat song)
Little Lights (Isabelle Saadat song)