Markthalle, Hamburg - 2009

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Anxiety. Slow, gripping anxiety attacks.
This was what awaited those who had entered the MarX, the smaller of the two concert-halls in Markthalle.
The ones to bring such hardships down upon us was the Icelandic metal/shoegazer (in their own opinion) band Sólstafir.
There had been a band before them, Code, but we sadly missed them as the room was so filled it was nearly impossible to get in anywhere.

“Have you heard about our album Köld?” vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason called out over the assembled mass, and a couple of yeah’s could be heard breaking the silence. “Ok, two people, that’s good. This one’s for you and you man!”
The show opened (as far as I know, I’m not too known with their material yet) with the title track of said album, and even though the music surely did nothing to support the theory, it did seem like these guys did posses some amount of humour; a small glimpse of sunshine in the bleak and dreary atmosphere their suggestive music was painting. Even though this was pretty far from anything I normally would lend my ears to, it was hard not to get sucked in to Sólstafir’s universe.

Surprisingly, considering the small response on Tryggvason’s earlier question, it felt as though Sólstafir had the largest and liveliest audience of the night; it was damn near impossible finding a place where you didn’t have someone else’s long hair whipping into your eyes constantly (maybe this was because I ended up behind one of the two who knew their songs).
The band seemed appreciative of the attention they were getting though; at least Tryggvason seemed pretty fired up for the show. Also Guðmundur Óli Pálmason was somewhat of a Wildman behind his drums, whereas Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson (guitar) and Svavar Austmann (bass) stood for the “shoegazer” part of the performance.

Austmann really fired up for his finger-speed in the last song, Ritual Of Fire, however, as it started out with a long bass intro, and the speed of the bass was kept high throughout the song.
This song also saw some clapping start from the audiences’ side, and encouraged by this Tryggvason tried to start some singing along up, but this only met with some minor success.

All in all, I thought Sólstafir did a good job, and it was sort of catchy in its own depressing sort of way. I was also impressed with them pulling it off as well as they did, considering the vast amounts of Jim Beam they poured down their throats...


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