Often, a venue is taken for granted when it comes to seeing live music. The performance, the energy, the crowd, even the audio mix and the lights are generally appreciated more than the actual room. For the concert lover in a big city, you have your favourite venues and then there are the ones you wouldn’t pay to see your favourite band perform in. Sometimes, a show is booked in a special place. On March 18th, Icelandic singer/songwriter, Ásgeir performed in just such a venue, gracing a warm crowd with a moving performance in Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer.
Not a household name in North America, Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson is well-known, not just in his native Iceland, but throughout Europe. He has released three award-winning albums (though the second was the English language version of his first, translated by John Grant). His latest album was 2017’s Afterglow. Ásgeir’s gentle, yet powerful voice layers atop pads of synth and guitar beautifully. Until a better definition for Asgeir’s unique genre of music arises, ‘folktronica’ may just have to do. Starting the show solo with just an acoustic guitar, Ásgeir filled out the stage (or in this venue, I suppose pulpit is the appropriate word) with a duo of supporting musicians who jumped between keyboards and guitar. Backed by Kristin Jonsson on all things electronic and longtime collaborator and childhood friend, Julius Robertsson on guitars and backing vocals, Ásgeir sang in both English and his native Icelandic.
Perhaps it’s that Ásgeir grew up in a village of 40 people, but the artist while seeming flawless in performance, doesn’t come across as particularly comfortable playing to an audience. While few have seen an extroverted Icelandic artist, it seems that Ásgeir would be just as happy playing these songs in solitude back in his little village. The introverted artist didn’t speak much to the audience, relying on his poignant music to speak the volumes his words cannot. An example of one of these songs, that was greeted by cheers when played is Going Home, linked below the photos.