Svavar Knútur – Weltempfänger, Cologne; April 29th, 2023
It had been years since I’d last seen Svavar Knútur at Weltempfänger in Cologne, so I was really happy to make it back there for a concert. I had great memories of the last time and I was not disappointed. It was a completely different show from the one I remembered, yet absolutely wonderful.
Every time Svavar plays a concert near me and I’m not out of town, I do my best to make it there. Cologne on a weekend is an easy thing to do and I arrived in good time, had some delicious cake, grabbed a seat at the front and was ready for a show.
The sign outside had said 20:30, but Svavar stepped on stage around 10 past 8 – turned out there was a curfew, because of the hostel guests who might want to sleep upstairs. He greeted us, said he loved being back and was happy to recognized so many people in the audience. It lead to a lot of laughter when he said he loves Deutsche Bahn, but so far there had been no delays on this tour.
He started the show with ‘Your Love was death to me’, a not break-up song, he wrote for a friend. It was the perfect introduction to his often melancholic music. Next, he introduced a new song by speaking about living “on the ass of the world” and went off on a tangent speaking about a new waterfall near Akureyri, before playing ‘Refur’, the song about his youngest son. It was a funny story and a lovely song.
There was more laughter when he spoke about drinking on the job, giving examples of where that wouldn’t work. 😀 ‘Ölduslóð’ followed, including some explanations on the Icelandic language and after this song about friendship, he spoke about his love for breakup songs and how he writes kind ones, because you can learn from breakups. The beautiful ‘Hard Things’ followed.
Svavar mentioned how mornings were his favorite time of day to sleep and this played us ‘Morgunn’, one of his happy songs. <3 He mentioned how he would love to do a “Monster Tour” where he just told stories about Icelandic monsters, then introduced two of his favorite monsters to us in detail, including great sound effects. 😀 This all served as introduction to a new song about the Merman, who does only one thing: laugh. Why? Well, you’ll have to ask Svavar about that. The song is called ‘Isn’t it funny?’ and I really enjoyed it.
It was already the end of the first set and before the last song, he spoke about playing for the hat and how it does not work in some countries. 😀 ‘November’ ended the set, beautiful as always. He also asked us for requests and got a lot of them.
The first song in the second half continued the “favorite months of the year” theme with ‘Janúar’. 🙂 Svavar then joked, he would play all the requests at double speed to get through them all. First one of them was ‘Humble Hymn’, a “song about hangovers” – really? OK. I had fun with it either way, especially with the sing-along.
‘Hverjum hefði getað dottið í hug’ was next and I could not even remember having heard the song on any album (it’s on Kvöldvaka), much less live. It was beautiful. Sticking with Icelandic songs we got ‘Undir Birkitré’ and a few stories about Icelandic forests. 😀 It brought another lovely sing-along. While we were at it, ‘Wanderlust’ was the perfect follow up. 🙂
Svavar picked up his ukulele and told us how he had an accident with it, using the story to teach us how it is important to be the first one to laugh when something stupid happens to you. Great advice. We got to hear the great ‘Girl from Vancouver’ before he told us he was only gonna play two more songs.
We learned a bit about the evolution of love songs (or not) since Shakespeare and that he hates love songs because of that. ‘While the World burns’, however, is an exception and it was wonderful too. Then, the grand finale, was ‘Emotional Anorexic’. <3 And I had thought he might not play it this time.
We cheered him back to the stage and he played ‘The Hurting’. I loved it. It is such a powerful song. It got quieter after that with ABBA’s ‘When all is said and done’, his favorite breakup song. Such a lovely song to end the show with.
It didn’t end though. We cheered so much, that he played one last tune, off mic. It was ‘Halfway down he stairs’. Awww. 🙂
I stayed for a hug and a chat afterwards, happy to have the time for it. Thank you for the great evening, hope to see you soon.
Your Love was death to me
Isn’t it funny?
Hverjum hefði getað dottið í hug
Girl from Vancouver
While the World burns
When all is said and done
Halfway down the Stairs