Ásgeir at The Sugar Club – Review

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asgeir-sugar-clubÁsgeir at The Sugar Club – April 11th

Icelandic native and singer/songwriter Ásgeir played the medium-sized yet intimate venue of The Sugar Club on Friday the 11th of April. Support on the night came from Snorri Helgason, a fellow Icelandic musician, who successfully managed in warming up the crowd for the sold-out gig with his acoustic guitar and melodic, folk-tinged songs. The highlight of the opening act came in the form of a Scottish air ‘The Wagoner’s Lad’ that Helgason sung to bring his set to a close. His guitar was silent and the audience were instructed to hum a single note in unison that would act as a drone for the tune. Some people decided to not join in, but there were enough people in the spirit of it to hum the note for the duration and the end result was spellbinding. Helgason thanked the crowd and exited the stage to a roar of enthusiastic applause.

Twenty minutes passed by without a sign from Ásgeir and his band and when the crowd began to become a bit restless something happened. The lights went out and with only the tea lights from the tables lighting the venue chanting, in what we can assume to be Icelandic, started to fill the room and the crowd hushed into absolute silence. The chanting becomes louder as we saw five figures make their way onto the stage, the lights came up the crowd erupted into applause and cheers as Ásgeir and band stood before us.

Without hesitation they jumped straight into the first song, Head in the Snow, a song with an electro-pop feel and smooth, dipping vocals. Right after came Lupin Intrigue which was a slower song to the one before with more of a calmer effect with piano opening that transcended into a more electro feel by its end with the use of hip hop beats and sound effects. Only after the song’s close did we get our first piece of acknowledgement from the 21-year-old musician. As he greets the crowd and thanks them for coming, we see the timid nature of the young musician that shows us that his slice of fame hasn’t gone to his head.

After a few short words Ásgeir and his band went on to play Going Home, Was There Nothing?, and Higher. Was There Nothing? is a great example of the diversity of Ásgeir as he switches to acoustic guitar and plays this song that has a more Folk and Indie feel than the others with its picked acoustic guitar and sweet interweaving melodies. Being sung in Icelandic the vast majority of the audience had no idea what the lyrics meant but even through the language barrier the feeling of questioning and thought behind the words could be felt from Ásgeir’s sweet and spellbindingly effortless vocals.

Throughout the night Ásgeir and band said few words. Looking at them on stage and in the moment it just looked like they were playing for themselves, they weren’t trying to put on a show or front, it was simply all about the music. A quick heads-up was given to the crowd that they would be playing Ásgeir’s new single Dreaming that had an airy and, well, dreamlike feel to it with its sustained synth chords and soft brass interlude nearing the end of the song.

The highlight of the night, undoubtedly, came in the form of Torrent which was the closing song of the night. With its sweet and relaxed piano opening that quickly is bashed out of the way to make room for military-style snare drum which had the crowd bobbing their heads along to the beat that rumbled through the floor of the venue. As the song came to a close, Ásgeir and band exited the stage to a roar of applause and cheers, the house lights went up and the audience were left perplexed, where was the encore? After ten minutes of waiting in vain the crowd eventually gave up their bouts of chanting “one more tune” and accepted that Torrent had been the last song of Ásgeir’s short but sweet set.

Review by Miriam McGovern

 

Lucy Ivan

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