When a guy at Roskilde once told me he had his biggest life epiphany whilst watching Sigur Ros off his face on shrooms, I was in no way sceptical. It sounds like the perfect recipe for sudden realisations. Unfortunately, due to Bon Iver’s long time hibernation (and my lack of penchant for psychedelic drugs), I’ve had little to fill my greater height of consciousness quota. But last night’s gig suggests another majestic Icelander may be able to help me out.
Because Ásgeir Trausti is, quite simply, glorious. His music is uplifting even in its quietest moments, and as the Icelander’s bewitching vocals rise around the dark venue, it hits that perfect musical sweet spot. Suddenly plunging Store Vega into darkness, his brother and long time band mate performs an a cappella folk song in his native tongue to start the set. As the lights increase, the frontman and the other instrumentalists reveal themselves, moving into a quietly building melody. Before long, we’re stuck in a rich, multi-layered soundscape, that maintains itself unto the end of the set, only pausing to accept the loud applause the Danish audience are ready to offer between tracks.
At 5’1”, I am no match for the statuesque Scandinavians surrounding me. As a result, my view of the stage is limited to the occasional tip toe look at Ásgeir bent over his keyboard in a pool of spotlight. But this is not a bad thing. In soaring vocals over instrumentation that is at times hauntingly dark and at others anthemic, listening to Ásgeir live is a transportation, whether it be covering Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’, or lifting himself into a falsetto for ‘King and Cross’. There’s a rumbling reverb under your feet as he closes the set with ‘Torrent’, that is impossible to resist.
Ásgeir Trausti is soft and powerful. He’s got strength and back up enough to not be fragile, but the music is heartfelt, warm and simple. Store Vega’s high ceilings may be architecturally glamorous enough for the attention and respect this singer demands, but it’s no match for the live show’s content.