Árstíðir – Heimathaus Twist; December 3rd, 2022
Heimathaus Twist, in the middle of nowhere, proved to be the perfect concert location and gave me my best show on the Vetrarsól tour so far. The sound was leagues better than the previous day and everything else just fell into place, so I fully enjoyed every bit of it. The band had gotten into the grove as well and seemed very relaxed and happy from the start.
It was a long trip from Flensburg to Meppen, where our hotel was, but we got a good start with a nice breakfast, which made the delays on the way more bearable. In the end, we got there almost on time, checked in and had a few minutes to get ready before catching the last bus of the day that went to Twist. Once arrived, we searched for food and found a good pizza near the venue.
No longer hungry, we walked over to the venue and got in right away. The room looked cozy, with lots of Christmas lights and there was a large Vetrarsól banner at the back of the stage. I felt right at home. We chose our seats, got drinks and waited for he show to start. The lights looked definitely nicer than the ones in Flensburg so we hoped the sound would be better as well.
They walked on stage shortly after 8 and told us what to expect of the show – we’d spend the first half in Árstíðir land and would the get to hear Christmas songs in part two. Already with ‘Ljóð í sand’ we knew that the sound was leagues better than it had been in Flensburg. Every instrument was clearly distinguishable and the mix was just right. What a difference that made! It sounded so good I forgot about taking pictures at times.
Daníel explained what ‘Hvenær kemur sól’ was about and then I drifted along with the beautiful melody, letting my mind and body relax into the music. I especially loved the strings and the fact that I could hear the guitars so clearly. 🙂 After a lovely version of ‘Ages’ Ragnar told us that they write in two languages because their country is so small and everyone laughed when he said “We all know each other”. All that lead to talking about their first only Icelandic album and playing ‘Endatafl’. It was a gorgeous version. <3
Gunnar told us how they had nothing to do during Covid but write music and how the next album would only be in English. The band gave us a preview with ‘Later on’. It makes me so happy despite being dark – the music just really speaks to me. They delivered it perfectly that night.
We got ‘Passion’ with more great work from Jean-Samuel and Guillaume and then ‘Shine’ where Ragnar really emphasized the quiet passages in contrast with the more powerful ones. It worked well. <3 Before, he claimed that he had dreamed of becoming an astronaut as a kid and wanted to apply for the first mission to mars until he realized he’d miss German beer too much. 😀
‘While this way’, was is and always will be amazing. There are no bounds to how much I love this song and I cannot imagine ever getting tired of it. The underlying beat had my heart beat in tune with it. For ‘Shades’ I got up so I could take some pictures from the central aisle, where all of the guys were visible. I always love watching the guys go all in for the song. It rocked!
When Guillaume and Jean-Samuel stepped on stage for the second set, it took a while for people to settle down, but they waited just long enough before they started so we could hear all of ‘Heyr, hymna smiður’ – it sounded beautiful and they got well deserved cheers for it. The song felt shorter to me than it had the previous times, but I don’t know if I’m right.
Ragnar told us how many Icelanders move abroad to study and growing up in Sweden, before playing ‘Gläns över sjö och strand’ for us. Then we learned about Icelandic Jazz standards, written for Christmas and how this next one will be playing in every home around Christmas. Then he blanked on the name and Gunnar had to add that it’s called ‘Jólin alls staðar’ 🙂 It was lovely.
It was time for the band to gather around the double microphone and Gunnar told us how they did not have instruments in Iceland in the early years and developed a tradition of singing in Icelandic parallel fifth. ‘Hátið fer að höndum ein’ always sounds very serious – I like it a lot. Afterwards, Ragnar explained more about the parallel fifth that developed from Gregorian chants that existed long before music theory was developed in Europe. In Iceland, people stuck with the more traditional singing and the influence can still be heard today. Gunnar and Daníel demonstrated some parallel fifth with ‘Krummavisur’.
They told us that ‘Ísland farsældafrón’ has very poetic and happy lyrics, but doesn’t sound like that. True, it doesn’t sound happy at all, but the song is great. 🙂 Last of the trio was ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ of course, an invitation to party. 😀 Gunnar pointed out how Jean-Samuel and Guillaume had to sing too and did a “Pretty decent job” on it. Ragnar joked that they are bringing culture to the band and had introduced them to Bach and Daníel quipped “Without them we’d be savages”. 😀
‘Allt er hljótt’, their own Christmas song, was beautiful. I don’t understand and of it, but it makes me feel like sitting in a warm, candlelit room on a cold winter’s night, looking out the window at the snow. 🙂 ‘Ró’ was next, with Guillaume and Ragnar on the piano. It really is a great piece of music. Many people seem to agree, because it is their most played song on Spotify.
After ‘Things you said’, which gave the string players another chance to shine, only one song was left. They played ‘Heims um ból’ (Silent Night) for us and this time they did the final verse in German, asking everyone to sing along. We gladly obliged and did it so well that they asked us to do it again without any instruments. It sounded amazing!
Did we want an encore? Hell yes! We loudly demanded one! The band was back soon and they had brought props. Ragnar wore a hat for ‘Bringing back the Feel’ and Guillaume put on some cool sunglasses. 😀 Before they started, they asked if we liked the song and had seen the music video. Since we were at “20 questions” Gunnar threw in “What’s your favorite color?” and some people answered that too. Others were just laughing. 😀 While they played, I was standing in that back, moving along with the music. Meanwhile, Jean-Samuel was walking around on stage blowing soap bubbles at the others. 😉
In the end, they gathered around the double microphone once again and sang ‘And so it goes’ for us. It was the perfect ending to a perfect show. Gunnar always says that they will be trying very hard to do the song justice, since the arrangement by the Kin’s Singers is so amazing. I’d say the y managed. <3
Afterwards, we thanked the sound guy and told everyone in the band how great it had been and how much better than Flensburg. I hugged everyone who wanted a hug and in the process someone bumped into Ragnar so he spilled half his wine down my back – good thing the new shirt is red. 😉 we left with a final goodbye and took a pre-arranged taxi back to Twist. There was no other way to get home and the wonderful sow was well worth the extra money we spent. We had a final drink in Meppen and said goodbye. I. is going home and I will continue touring with the guys. 🙂
Ljóð í sand
Hvenær kemur sól
While this way
Heyr, hymna smiður – strings only
Gläns över sjö och strand
Jólin alls staðar
Hátið fer að höndum ein
Góða veislu gjöra skal
Allt er hljótt
Things you said
Heims um ból
Bringing back the feel
And so it goes
Vetrarsól tour 2022 – three gigs down, 11 to go. Next stop: Délémont