“If someone is making a little too much noise for your comfort, just lean over and tell them politely to shut the fuck up”

Ragnar Ólafsson – house gig, Mianowice; August 18th, 2021

Raggi’s house gig in Mianowice was a mixed bag. The hosts were amazing and did everything to make for a great concert, but the audience was somewhat distracted and distracting at times so it made the concert harder to enjoy. All is well that end well though and we all left the house as friends.

On day eight of the tour I was finding it hard to remember what date or day of the week it was and was glad I had my schedule written down and most train tickets booked. The daily routine is to get out the following day’s train ticket after I get home from the show, set my alarm accordingly and pack in the morning. Left Kruszwica on a bus around 10 am, then continued by train. On the same TLK train and in the same car I had seen 5 times previously on this tour. 😀 Arrived in Kępno in the early afternoon, walked to my hostel and rested.

The room turned out to be an apartment so I decided to cook. Bad idea. After all the shopping was done I realized the stove didn’t function. 🙁 Luckily there was a communal kitchen too so I got me warm meal after all. Edited pictures, blogged and left for the venue around 6:30, got there too early and walked around a bit before going in with other guest. The hosts, Mati and Ada were wonderful, introduced me to everyone and immediately offered me food. Polish hospitality at its best. The stage had an impressive backdrop – a painting of a mountain and I immediately noticed the electric guitar so I knew there would be a guest playing it later.

Soon, Mati called everyone to sit down and introduced Raggi to the crowd. He even said something about me following the tour. 😀 The show started with ‘Wine’, this time on the guitarlele again. 🙂 He introduced himself and promised some stories, then continue with ‘Palenque’. It turned out to be the wrong song for this audience so he cut it short. He asked if anyone had seen him before and joked that I looked familiar when I raised my hand. We heard about him holding the world record for most bands and how his songwriting process works.

‘Deva’ was next and right in the first verse a phone rang. It took a while for the guy to pick it up as well. Something similar had happened during the previous gig as well. I was reminded of one of the earlier house gigs where the host asked us to turn off our phones. It should be a given, but apparently people don’t think about it. Raggi joked that it’s OK as long as the phone rings in the same key and pointed out that the phone rang in C-major while he was playing in G-minor. It was a great version of ‘Deva’ too. He continued right into ‘Urges’ and I enjoyed it. I still had the feeling the crowd would have benefited from more upbeat songs, but maybe it was only my corner of the living room that seemed inattentive. As far as I could see the hosts and everyone around them listened closely.

He joked that this wasn’t a concert, but actually a lesson in Icelandic and got some laughs. We started with the basics – “Skál!” Everyone repeated that and stopped right after at “umferðaungþeiti”. They wanted to hear “the name of the famous volcano” so he obliged with “Eyafjallajökull”. He then spoke about duets and experimenting with this format to make both sides of the story heard. He asked Ada to join him on stage and sing ‘Dozen’ with him. She did well and finally all of the audience was listening.

Raggi taught us “takk” and spoke more about traveling and the trip to the Rocky Mountains. There was a lot of chatter behind me, but luckily ‘Bravery’ was powerful enough to make me forget about it. 🙂 He asked us if we’d been to New York and compared it to Łódź with all the brick buildings, joking that the only brick in Iceland was kept at a museum. We heard the full story about ‘Every Brick in Manhattan’ before he played it. I always love that song. <3 At one point he turned over his stomp box and had to stop to put it right again. It made me smile.

He changed the guitar for the piano and played ‘Water’. Unfortunately, some of the guests still seemed to be more interested in talking than listening to the music and I found it really distracting, wondering if it was my place to shush them. Raggi felt it too, because he took down the volume of the music to make people listen. It didn’t help much and I could tell he was struggling – it’s hard playing an emotional song with constant background chatter. He stopped after ‘Water’ and asked who was talking, suggesting they should go out for a smoke maybe if they were not interested in listening. Then he told the story of what the song is about and got so emotional I just wanted to run and hug him. :'( The speech worked though, people were more respectful after that.

‘Hugsanir’ followed and helped me let go of my negative feelings about people talking. It also made me sad, but that’s the nature of the song and felt right. He asked if we liked to sing and one of the guests said he wasn’t a singer, but everyone else wanted to give it a try. To my surprise he played ‘Relations’  I had not heard that song in a while and it worked nicely. The sing-along continued just as well with ‘Örlög’. Despite being apprehensive about singing in Icelandic, we all managed “lalala” really well. 😀

He told us more about the trip down the Mississippi and how it brought about his first and only blues song. When moving the mic stand back from the piano, the top part came off so he gave us a little Freddy Mercury impression. 😀 ‘Muddy Waters’ was brilliant. Ada returned for ‘Petals’ and it was lovely. Then, Mati was invited to the stage for ‘Southern Nights’, which explained the stratocaster. It was fun that way and for the first time in a long time, he told the pirate story too and mentioned our virtual choir. For the sing-along Ada and Bartek (as a giraffe) joined them on stage and helped us with the choir. It was great!

Cheers were loud to get Raggi back on stage and somewhere along the way a full tray of pastries was knocked over. At least the guests who did it looked appropriately guilty. 😉 For ‘Rocketman’ the heart-shaped glasses were missing, but Bartek brought them in time and put them on his nose. The song is always fun and this time he adapted it a bit, starting with “Iceland ain’t the place to raise your kids”. With ‘Dragonfly’ we learned that it was inspired by a dragonfly hitting him in the eye. 😀 Everyone was back on stage, Bartek in the cow costume this time. Everyone has so much fun they forgot all about the confetti. 😀 It was a great end to a somewhat shaky show.

Afterwards we all enjoyed some great food, including cookies that had Raggi’s name on them and some home made vodka appeared. It was good stuff. Matti invited us downstair for a moment, showing his music room. I even got to play his tenor ukulele. Back upstairs, Raggi played Happy Birthday for someone, there were some great conversations with fellow travelers and before he and Bartek made their way to Łódź, his friend John called so we all said hi and toasted to him. 😀 Final hugs and they left.

I stayed a little longer, listening to everyone play songs, giving the songs I had filmed to Mati and finally got home with Ada driving me. All is well that ends well. <3

pictures of this concert


Every Brick in Manhattan
Muddy Waters
Southern Nights


First “we are all vaccinated now” Poland tour – 9 gigs down, 10 to go. Next stop: Łódź

Comments are closed.