Solstafir // Kyttaro, Athens, Greece // 17.02.2015
If you’ve read our review on SOLSTAFIR’s latest and universally praised album “Otta”, you probably know that this band carries a special and unique quality; and that quality landed on Kyttaro just a few days ago, with no support bands (which, if you ask me, is quite fitting for this particular concert because I can’t think of any band that would match the sound or the atmosphere SOLSTAFIR produce).
At 22:00 precisely, the Icelanders (plus the new, non-Icelander drummer Karl Smith) are on stage under the notes of “Nattfari”, looking epic as fuck in their own, recognizable semi-cowboy, semi-Viking style.
Instead of just starting the show, they decide to explode, and what better way to do that other than “Kold” from the same titled album? To my amazement, their sound doesn’t resemble their latest studio works and on the contrary it’s a full on angry-distorted-Motorhead be my guide- rock ’n ’roll sound!
After the second song (which I think was “Lágnætti”), the frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (to whom we will be referring to as “Trygs” from now on for obvious reasons) becomes more friendly towards the Athenian crowd who had been watching their performance with a considerable amount of awe.
Honestly, the world “friendly” seems a bit poor to describe his communication with the attendants, the guy is one of the most hilarious and sharp thinking frontmen I’ve ever seen live. The word “awe” however is not poor when it comes to describing the songs from “Otta” when they’re played live (although I would prefer some of the most ambient elements like the keyboards or the violin had not been pre-recorder)? The same titled song is a pure spine-chill creator, not to mention the perfect vocal performance by Trygs on this one; or any song for that matter, his voice was as ethereal and agitated at the same time as in the studio albums.
He asks for absolute silence during the first verse of “Rismal” and we wholeheartedly grant it to him so he can create the sonic aura SOLSTAFIR wish, but he doesn’t ask for silence during “Dagmal”. Why would he though? Who could be silent during that post punk apotheosis? From the ambient spectrum of SOLSTAFIR, we’ve been led cleverly to their more uplifting side. And what better time could there be to play “Svartir Sandar”? None, I guess and they know it as well so they’re giving everything on stage with their distorted, passionate play captivating our eyes and ears.
Then we have a very honest statement that it’s two more songs and the party is over. But wait, because they are really lengthy tracks and one of them happens to be my personal favorite, “Fjara”. When they hit these glorious notes, that legendary video clip starts to roll like a movie in my mind and for some good minutes I’m completely isolated by the outer world and completely lost inside their majestic music.
They end their show (a bit more than 90 minutes long) with the 13 minute bang that is called “Goddess Of The Ages” and then the almost 3 minute long standing ovation buries any other sound in the venue and it is exactly what they deserved for this excellent performance. Let’s hope that they’ll take into consideration our pleas for a return next year (not 15, not 10, not 5 as the game with the crowd went along)!
Check S&D Photography for more photos.