It’s going to be a real spring storm of concerts in Poland, but because of too low temperature, which tells that winter is not going anywhere, I came to definitely warmer… Iceland. Believe me or not, but sometimes there’s a beautiful sun behind a windowpane, it doesn’t rain endlessly, wind doesn’t blow too aggresively and it happens that a wonderful sunshine wakes me up through my window in Reykjavík.
On Friday, February 22nd, I turned on a local radio and could feel like in seventh heaven. For a whole day in Rás2 we could listen to songs of Radiohead – because of 20th anniversary of releasing of their debut album – and Hjaltalín, due to a gig scheduled for the evening in the heart of the city of Reykjavík. What an amazing place! Iðnó is a theater with a restaurant. That´s why in the theatre hall you can find an impressive stage, which reminds me a little bit of my favourite cartoon from the childhood – Moomins. Do you remember the floating theater? Nothing has sailed away yet from here. But it could happen sinceIðnó is located by the City Pond.
For a good beginning of the evening – Snorri Helgason. A long time ago (a year or even more) I had a dream that Borówka brought Snorri to Poland. But not like usually. Mr. Silla and Guðmundur Óskar Guðmundsson were also in his team. Such a plentiful companionship hasn’t found a place in Snorri’s guitarcase until today and he took to Poland only his acoustic guitar. Do you know you can regret? Alright, acoustic versions of Snorri’s songs are cute but full arrangements from the album are even cuter. Additionally, when you hear these arrangements live, they show a craft of musicians. That evening Snorri grabbed an electric guitar more than just once. He’s not just a singer-songwriter for me now. He showed his face from Sprengjuhöllin finally. Add to it heavenly voice of Mr. Silla, who is really called Sigurlaug Gísladóttir and she’s known also of Múm, mentioned earlier Guðmundur Óskar – the magician of bass – and… man with a basketball cap. The drummer, who probably doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat and also doesn’t drink but plays drums endlessly, because at the last edition of Iceland Airwaves he performed with six bands (!) and actually he’s a part of about 10 music projects. I heard there aren’t many drummers in Iceland. Maybe there are not many of them but looking at Magnús Trygvason Eliassen I’m impressed by a quality they present!
Snorri started his performance at Iðnó with a beautiful song called River. I have a thing about this one since the time of releasing Winter Sun album. Especially, this one fully arranged version. There were also Mockingbird, Julie, two news songs, which don’t forecast a total change of sound, like it happened recently with new Hjaltalín’s material, and Winter Sun #2.
Those who attended Snorri Helgason’s gig in Poland probably noticed that the Icelander adores Aretha Franklin. No encore could happen without a cover of her song Do right woman, do right man. Mr. Silla supported Snorri with her voice – it put honey on my heart. This woman doesn’t sing. She spreads pearls of sounds with every breath towards a microphone.
Guðmundur Óskar had been off stage only for a half an hour and returned with his more experienced, bigger and more known team than Snorri Helgason’s band. Lights turned off. On stage were six people. A crossbar was hung very high. My personal album of the year, which I can only listen to in the darkness and the best for this purpose is transport (like a car in a fog, this is it!). Enter 4 was chosen for the album of 2012 by our whole website crew. What more, I can’t be indifferent thinking of Hjaltalín and it’s been my first gig ever in Iceland. Something like it couldn’t be ruinned!
First sounds of opener Lucifer/He felt like a woman started a play of light and shadow. The light was that blonde Viking – Högni Egilsson – who wore white and seemed to experience much stronger lyrics from the new album than those from previous releases. A second singer stood right beside him, covered in a shadow. My queen. Sigríður Thorlacius. One and a half year ago, when I saw Hjaltalín in Warsaw, she wasn’t so self-confident, hasn’t also some kind of proud and awareness of her own great skills. Mr. Silla supported Sigga during one of the songs. A truly amazing duo.
After the opening of Enter 4 – Forever someone else appeared too – came time for a little bit older songs. There weren’t many of them during the show, only two – Suitcase man and Goobye July/Margt að ugga. The whole new release was played live. If album’s versions are charming for you, if I were you, I would spare money for a ticket to Hjaltalín´s gig during hopefully soon to come tour. I had tears in my eyes listening to wonderful Ethereal, when Högni stayed alone on the stage and sat down next to a piano and only one streak of light shone down at his back. Viktor Orri Árnason slided gently onto the stage and with his violin made a magical smooth passage to I feel you. And I just thought that there is the deepest of possible silence after Ethereal… I can´t choose the only one favourite song from Enter 4, even live, because how could I choose if for example Sigga gets us on our knees in such a beautiful One the Peninsula? Or listening to the last live version of We, when I keep in memory this song played in Warsaw in July 2011 in a different shape. Could you think something else than it would be an awesome final? It turned out that it was awesome because the band left the stage after this song.
They came back for an encore. How couldn’t they do that, if we demanded more music? They dosed a new song straight to our veins. The song in which Högni sings and it´s quite similar in emotional way to the material from Enter 4. Hopefully it will be released. In the great final Hjaltalín played a cover song of Beyonce and once again left the stage of Iðnó theater with smiles upon their faces, leaving some people in the audience shaking inside like birches leaves on the wind.