Árstíðir – Fuga, Bratislava; April 30th, 2022
The concert in Bratislava was a fun one, despite some of the guys being a bit under the weather and we all had a great time. I loved sharing it with friends and finally really felt like being on tour.
It was an easy trip to Bratislava and I arrived well-rested. It was a really hot day so ice cream was in order and I played ukulele on my hotel’s balcony until construction work on the road blow chased me away. Got to the venue too early, sat down, had a drink and talked to Jean-Samuel, who told me they got home at 5 in the morning. Thus, I expected some hungover musicians. Ragnar certainly was. 😉 M. and L. arrived, both really tired, but happy. Soon after, K. and a friend joined us and we passed the tim talking.
The venue was tiny and the space in front of the stage got crowded when Platon Karataev started playing. They rocked and I started recognizing songs, especially liking ‘Aphelion’, which has a lot of harmony singing. It was a great set, yet the guitarist had tech trouble and thus they could not play one cover song they had planned for. The singer joked they were “one man down” and while a tech guy tried fixing things, he played a solo acoustic song for us. It as really great. They finished their sets with two ‘Oceans’ and ‘Wolf Throats’ blending into each other. Brilliant set overall.
The crowd around me had raised my anxiety levels and I needed to put my mask back on to feel safe. I guess it is going to be some time before I’ll be fully OK with crowds again. Árstíðir stepped on stage and both Ragnar and Jean-Samuel looked really tired from their night out. Gunnar, however, looked really bright and rested – I wanted to know his secret. 😉
Ragnar greeted us and asked how we were doing. “Better now,” L. replied. He joked that they were trapped in Iceland for two years and it had been raining for two and a half years. When we laughed however, he swore it was the truth and not funny. 😉 Good thing it was sunny then, “melting their Icelandic hearts”.
The tried and tested double ‘While this way’ and ‘Things you said’ started the show and got us into the mood. The sound was beautiful and I loved being there. I looked at my friends and seeing their bright smiles made it even better.
Afterwards Ragnar introduced the string players and mistakenly said they were Swiss, then corrected himself to everyone’s amusement. He claimed thy were the reason the band had any culture at all and did not give into their “Viking savage heritage” as Daníel put it. 😀 ‘Ljoð í sand’ followed and the singing sounded a bit rough here and there, but not noticeable to the untrained ear (i.e. the people, who don’t see them all the time). ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ was lovely and Daníel explained a bit about the song before they continues with ‘Týndur’ an “ode to the absent-minded artist”. I loved it.
when they got out the double microphone, Ragnar asked us, who had seen them before. They gathered around the mics and sang ‘Glitsky’ for us, as people had voted for the Icelandic version. Before they started, Gunnar asked for the stage fan to be turned off and it happened immediately. 🙂 I always enjoy them going back to basics and just sing and play without any samples or effects. ‘Kill us’ was great as well. They wanted to give us some taste of an a cappella song as well and sang ‘Ísland farsældafrón’. Th audience was much impressed and even remained silent for a moment when the song ended.
Before ‘Someone who cares’ Gunnar spoke about ‘Hvel’ being recorded at Toppstöðin and how that abandoned power plant had shaped their music. ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ came without introductions and was awesome as always. ❤️ Ragnar joked that their tour manager Zoltan learned to play Playstation during lockdown while they wrote songs. ‘Bringing back the Feel’ was next and it put a huge smile on my face and the band looked like they had fun with it too. The song is perfection. My favorite that night was ‘Endatafl’ though. It was absolutely brilliant. Ragnar put all of his energy into the song and made it extra special. ❤️
‘Lifsins Pendúll’, usually the most dramatic song in the set, could not keep up this time. It was nothing short of amazing though. 🙂 I really have a soft spot for their epic pieces of music. Before ending the set, Gunnar talked a little about the “great pause” again. Ragnar improvised some sad music, joined by Guillaume and Jean-Samuel. I could not help but grin, as it was such a fitting comment on Gunnars heartfelt speech. 😀 ‘Shades’, of course, ended the show on a high note. I doubt they’ll ever create a song that fits better into this spot on the setlist.
Of course they came back for us and told us how much they had missed those cheers for an encore. Gunnar talked about how they had written ‘Heiðin’ as a song about hope for a contest and had felt it sounded optimistic, while Ragnar and Guillaume improvised again. 😀 Like the previous night, they went into the crowd and sang ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ before they left. It had ben a good night.
Afterwards, M., L., K. and I met Ragnar at the bar for shots and chatting, later joined by Guillaume and Jean-Samuel. There were lots and lots of hugs and I somehow ended up trading terrible travel stories with Jean-Sam (he won!) None of us lasted long, but it was a lovely ending to a lovely show. See you tomorrow.
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: Three gigs down, four to go – next stop: Markleeberg (Leipzig)