Árstíðir – Porgy & Bess, Vienna; April 29th, 2022
Árstíðir’s concert in Vienna was a wonderful evening at a great venue with one of the loudest audiences I have ever been a part of. It was incredible and gave the band great energy. We got to hear grta music, mixed in with lots of stories and laughter. What a night!
After some much needed sleep in Budapest I set out to Vienna, git there without any complications and found my hotel. Soon after I met my friend S. for a late lunch/early dinner. We had a lot of catching up to do and she walked me to the venue, keeping me company until the doors opened. I was first in line and thus, got to pick my spot at the front. It was a pretty cool jazz club, much bigger than I had expected. Sadly, the show did not draw as many people as they usually do in Vienna and we stood far apart. Th good thing was that I felt safe without my mask.
I’d said hello to some of the guys before the gig and eventually M. and her friend L. arrived and joined me. We passed the time chatting until Platon Karataev walked on stage. They played a great set and I appreciated them much more than the previous night, because I was just less tired. IT was fun listening to them and made me remember a conversation with Ragnar after the Budapest show, when he said he now understood all the Árstíðir fand loving the Icelandic songs. There is something special about a band singing in their native language. It never bothered me that I did not understand the Hungarian songs and when the guitarist announced that they sing in English too I had not even thought about it up to that point. Their harmony singing was great and I started finding favorites, even though I had no idea what the songs were called. What a great support band. 😀
Valaki Jár A Fák Hegyén
Tágul / Ex Nihilo
We spent some more tim talking afterwards and cheered loudly when Árstíðir stepped on stag. “Guten Abend Vienna!” he greeted us and said how happy they were to be touring again and that it felt like a different world compared to three years ago. “It’s a very special feeling to be back in a real concert with real people”. Everyone cheered loudly in agreement and they started with ‘While this way’. The sound was amazing and the song immediately drew me in. ❤️ I enjoyed singing along unhindered by a mask and continued doing so all evening.
‘Things you said’ was brilliant, especially the string solo in the end that called for introducing Jean-Samuel and Guillaume. We cheered them on loudly and it made me happy how loud the audience was. Gunnar mentioned “the great pause” and told us how good it felt to be back among real people. To warm und us, as he said, they gave us ‘Ljoð í sand’, which is always lovely. 🙂
Daníel introduced ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ as being written in March 2020 and how it not only literally wondering when the sun would come back, but also asking for brighter times. “Little did we know…” – indeed. It was really beautiful. They continued straight into ‘Lover’ and once again it became clear how great the sound was. Platon Karataev had brought their own sound guy and he did an amazing job. The song was really powerful that night.
Gunnar said they were going to play a new song and told us it was about being distracted at times (as musicians are), then mixed that in with the story about playing it in Reykjavik and him starting the wrong sample so the song didn’t work at first and it was his own fault all along. “and the song is called ‘Týndur’, which means lost.” This one is a highlight for me in the current set. Perfect song was perfect. ❤️
They set up the double microphone and when Ragnar asked us if we wanted to hear the next song in Iceland or English the overwhelming answer was “ICELANDIC!” Gunnar explained that it was the word for “almost having a rainbow in a cloud”. I don’t know the English word for it either, but have seen the phenomenon. It was gorgeous. ‘Kill us’ was amazing too, that song never gets old. And just because they felt like it and wanted to go back into the routine, they gave us some parallel fifth with ‘Ísland farsældafrón’. 😀
Gunnar talked about ‘Someone who cares’ being written in the Czech Republic and Daníel added that it was in Karlovy Vary and thy decided not to go to sleep until it was written. “It’s still not finished by the way,” Ragnar quipped and Gunnar replied “I am very tired”, but the reply was drowned in laughter. 😀 I still remember the first time I heard the song and still love it just as much as I did then. Daníel spoke about ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ being written in the Westfjords where it takes a long time to get anywhere because you go along the fjords and said we should picture a car ride. So much power!
Ragnar spoke about the band being their bubble during covid times and coming up with 30 song ideas in a few months. they gave us a sneek peak of Blik with ‘Bringing back the Feel’. I got out the shaker and grooved with the music. Especially the strings and piano give it a coffee house or jazz club feeling – which could not have been more perfect for the venue. The song gets better and better. 😀
“Enough fun and games,” Gunnar announced and how they had to remind us that they are Icelandic. Ragnar added how the heavier songs were written in Icelandic and how songs in their native language are often about death like the next one. ‘Endatafl’ was stunning. It had been the one song the previous day that felt a little unbalanced so it made me especially happy that it sounded better. ❤️ Afterwards Ragnar said that th next song was about “death and life” “or life and death” Daníel added and explained how we can look at life as a pendulum swinging from bright time to the end. “Now everyone’s serious,” he noted. Somehow this lead to them telling us about the silver plate portrait taken of them in Amsterdam and the whole concept of time. Ragnar talked about how time felt warped during covid times, slow and fast simultaneously. Then ‘Lifsins Pendúll’ took me to a different place for a while, where i drifted with th music. The song is so gripping, I can feel that pendulum swinging from dark to light and back again. *deep sigh* ❤️
They announced the last song and after we properly reacted with “awwwww”, he hinted that we might have something to say about it afterwards. ‘Shades’ was a killer and w would not stop cheering until they came back out. It was crazy loud, rhythmic foot stomping included. “What does it mean?” Daníel asked jokingly and Gunnar told us a little about how hard it was to be expected to come back as if nothing had happened ans thanked us for giving us the energy to do so. Meanwhile Ragnar improvised a little sad piano melody.
We got ‘Heiðin’, but it still was not enough, so hey stepped off the stage into the crowd and gave us ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ with everyone clapping along. They laeft, but the audience still demanded more though and cheered, clapped and stomped so loudly they came back out. I thought for sure that deserved another encore, but they only thanked us again, took a final bow and left. All good things must end eventually.
I did not ant to leave after this and with M., L. and D. we hung out forever. The guys were packing, but going out was the plan. It had been forever since we’d done that so I stayed, but while we waited I realized I did not feel safe going out to a potentially crowded place. Thus, when they had finally packed the car I said goodbye and went home. Have fun, maybe I’ll join you next time. 🙂
While this way
Things you said
Ljoð í sand
Hvenær kemur sól
Someone who cares
Þar sem enginn fer
Bringing back the Feel
Góða veislu gjöra skal
Moments in Time tour: Two gigs down, five to go – next stop: Bratislava