This incredibly special performance featured a string quartet including members of Hexvessel and The Ocean, plus Martin Curtis-Powell on electric piano.
Ótta (released in 2014) was chosen to be performed in this way as it is the album on which strings feature most heavily. The eight song titles are based on an old Icelandic system of time keeping called “Eykt” (eight).
Although the lyrics are all sung in Icelandic, it didn’t seem to matter that the majority of the audience are unable to understand precisely what is being said, due to the immersive, emotion-laden, story-like quality of the album. In fact I believe there is something wonderful about watching a band perform in their own language (not English) as it forces you to concentrate on the music rather than the lyrics, giving the experience a somewhat magical feel.
After short break, the band returned to play tracks from their back-catalogue, including my personal favourite “Fjara” (taken from their 2011 album Svartir Sandar). They also played “Necrologue” which front-man Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (Addy) explained had been written after the death of a friend as a result of depression. This was a powerful song that clearly meant a lot to the band and everyone felt very privileged to hear it performed live for the first time.
After finishing their epic set with “Goddess of the Ages”, Addy stood on the speaker stack triumphantly holding his Flying V aloft as the packed venue cheered.
Sólstafir have a hand-full of festival appearances scheduled for the summer, after which they plan to start recording a new album.