Icelandic atmospheric post-metal band Sólstafir returned to the UK for a small run of dates in-between European festival appearances. When I saw the teeny-tiny venues that the band were due to play on this mini-tour I snapped up tickets straight away, because it is not every day that you get to watch one of your favorite bands in a venue not much bigger than your living room!
The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch holds just 150 people and was the first of the four Sólstafir UK shows to sell out, which came as no surprise. I arrived early and sat downstairs in the pub enjoying a cold pint of Camden Hells whilst watching fans steadily arrive for the show. With no support-act doors opened at 8pm, with Sólstafir taking to the stage at 9pm… and so began one of my favourite gigs so far this year.
I first discovered Sólstafir when I saw them open for MONO and The Ocean Collective at Electric Ballroom back in November 2015, and was instantly blown-away by their unique sound and engaging stage-presence. That night I went home and downloaded their entire-back-catalogue and have enjoyed their music ever since! The band’s most recent visit to the UK was back in May last year, when they played their 2014 album Ótta in full with string section, which was incredible.
Tonight was a very different show, but was just as moving. The tiny room provided a very gloriously-intimate setting, and the atmosphere was brilliant. The Icelandic four-piece played a ten-song set, featuring some of their classic tracks – including “Ótta” and “Náttmál” – together with “Silfur-Refur” and “Ísafold” from their recently-released sixth studio album Berdreyminn. In true Sólstafir style, their performance was emotive and came straight from the heart. The most moving part of the evening was their performance of “Necrologue” – written ten years ago about a friend of the band who passed away. Addi went on to dedicate “Fjara” to those involved in the day’s terrible fire in West London.
I didn’t want the show to end, and I hope I never forget how I felt as I watched some of my favourite tracks being performed just inches from my face in a room packed with fans equally passionate about the band. I also got the chance to meet the band after the show as they took the time to chat to fans and take photos.
Sólstafir will return to the UK later in the year – expect an announcement imminently!
All photos by Katie Frost Photography
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