Words by Bartek Wilk
Photograph by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen
Sólstafir’s autumn tour encompassed 31 shows in almost all corners of Europe. In Cracow, the only gig in Poland, the band gathered a room full of people, who knew not only the titles of all their songs but also all the lyrics. The interactions between the band and the audience were phenomenal! It created an amazing atmosphere! It turns out that not only Sigur Rós or Kaleo can sell out a concert a few weeks in advance. Sólstafir is the undisputed star of Icelandic music abroad. Happily, I went for my first meeting with the band – and it will certainly not be the last!
Before discussing the headliner, I must pay homage to those who opened the show in Cracow. Unfortunately, despite driving on the highway as fast as I could, I missed part of Árstíðir’s performance. I did, however, enter the venue in time for the hottest moment of their time on stage – during the last song. And although this evening was devoted to metal music, I was positively surprised by the tightly packed room. Árstíðir is a group with a slightly unique story, but the atmosphere they create with Northern music and Icelandic folk tunes is fantastic even in this situation. The audience, mostly rock and metal focused, turned out to be extremely open and listened attentively to ‘Shades’ to the last sound. It was a special moment, since Árstíðir was joined by Hallgrímur ‘Grimsi’ Hallgrímsson from Sólstafir. The acoustic yet unbelievably strong finale caused raucous, well-deserved applause. Although the band left the stage to great acclaim, for one of its members the evening had barely started…
A very short break and an agile technical change took just a while. The first, much stronger sounds resonated in the room. It was Myrkur, Amalie Bruun’s project. This year, she released a new album, Mareridt. Myrkur’s music is a combination of metal, elements of Norse folk with strings and choral arrangements. The central point of the band and its performance was, of course, Myrkur (or, to be exact, Amalie). Surrounded by a wall of dark, heavy guitars, she coped well and filled the room with a voice that gracefully moved between pure, melodic singing and mad screaming.
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