Ásgeir – Union Chapel, London, 8th April 2014

Ásgeir – Union Chapel, London, 8th April 2014


Recently in amidst a glut of Scandinavian talent in November at the well-respected youthful festival, Iceland Airwaves, I was reminded of that air once again (without the staunch of egg) at Islington’s much-loved haunt and feature venue, the Union Chapel. Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, known to the widespread as simply Ásgeir, was a novocaine for the soul, uplifting the audience at the sickeningly young age of twenty-one.

Signed to the well-known indie label One Little Indian Records, particularly within the Icelandic music scene (as names like Bjork, Samaris and Sigur Ros spring to mind), Ásgeir is more than emerging on the hip music scene, with a sold out Union Chapel gig in N1 and the recent announcement of a notable show at the Shepherds Bush Empire in late November this year, and from his performance in the chapel I urge you all to get tickets. His timely cover of Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box(B-side to new single Here it Comes) was worth being sat in a pew in this elaborately beautiful surrounding, perfectly suited for this Icelandic lyricist.

Born and raised in the hamlet of Laugarbakki, where the population is sparse, Ásgeir is one from a grand family of musical talent. Two years ago his release of Dyrd í dauðathogn made him an Icelandic marvel, achieving the status of Iceland’s fastest and biggest selling debut album by a home grown artist, and when we consider the captivating successes to come out of this country, this by no means short of an exclamation. It comes of no surprise then that one in ten of the Icelandic population now own the album.

Sat in the crux of his loyal fans in London, I got a sense of the hype that surrounds this young talent. The excitement prior to his arrival on stage I could touch, and a gentleman two down from me was insistent upon substituting his knees for drums, ecstatically hitting them further into the set. Starting precisely at 8:45pm, early, Ásgeir treated his audience to a lengthy set, including encore and judicious cover of Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box (well-received if for nothing more than the recent 20th year anniversary of Cobain’s death). Establishing his home-roots in his entrance with Scandinavian orchestral chants breathing across the stage as he and his rugged, bearded band emerged in the allure of the dimly-lit room, there is a clear sense of a fidelity to those roots.
The next hour and a half was a fusion of atmospheric lighting, artificial smoke and musical intensity on a high level and this high was not only in the pitch that he achieved vocally.

Aesthetically, his presence on stage was not alarming; some would go as far as say self-effacing. Short in height, vaguely bearded with slick-backed hair, attired in the classic tee and jeans get up, but this fragility shone in his performance, catered to stun the mass crowd supporting him. Heavy on percussion, melodic, this music also has just a sliver of a hint of rootsy Americana to it, suggested in head garb also with several of the band adorning hats that lend themselves to that genre.

Going Home, the recent issue, was received well, evoking the pathos and nostalgia effectively that one would expect of a song with this title. The audience remained almost uncomfortably silent, as his credibility must demand, commanding a sincere respect.

Following his recent announcement of two single releases with days of each other, Going Home (7th April), Here it Comes (19th April), there has been news of this significant gig and his presence at Brighton’s Great Escape, renowned for its support for upcoming talent that are on the rise in the UK.

Already acclaimed in his domestic country, and selling out a fair sized venue such as Islington’s frivolous yet fragile chapel, we are clearly only going to hear substantially more about this Nordic sensation.

Tickets to see Ásgeir at Shepherds Bush Empire in November can be acquired via www.gigsandtours.com/

Going Home – taken from the album and backed with a new song Dreaming – was released by One Little Indian as a single on 7th April, while Here It Comes will be made available on an exclusive 7” picture disc for Record Store Day on April 19th

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.