Ásgeir at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Already an Icelandic treasure, hype is evidently rising for Ásgeir on British shores. Ásgeir’s latest record is the fastest selling Icelandic album of all time, so the initial signs are promising. He’s also signed to London-based One Little Indian, which has a habit of successfully aiding Icelandic musicians, such as Emiliana Torrini and Björk.
Tonight, a rapidly populous Shepherd’s Bush Empire welcomed two folk support acts before the headline show. Fresh acoustic group Tenterhook are so new they are yet to have an internet presence and their short set sadly consisted of forgettable, overly simple and repetitive songs that sounded like a copycat of Ed Sheeran. A more appropriate support was friendly Icelandic vocalist Lay Low. Born in London, her cynicism about the weather was on the perfect wavelength and her hard-hitting blues folk a fitting preparation for the main act.
Adorned in a luxurious grey suit, ambitious 22-year-old Ásgeir stood out with a well-groomed performance. Welcomed to the stage by both a new contingent of British admirers and a large attendance of Icelanders, he was joined by an eight-piece band, including an occasional brass section that gave a powerful celebratory performance of his English language debut In the Silence. This is one of many charms that makes Ásgeir more than just a melodic folk artist, along with his high frequency range of squeaky synthesisers and theremin effects, most notably heard on his first single King and Cross. The crowd went wild at the climax to Going Home, when a rapid surge of musical electricity intensified with pulsating and headache-inducing blinking lights.
This highlight was sequentially juxtaposed with the magnificent cover of Nirvana`s Heart Shaped Box, moulded into Ásgeir’s own creation. Aside from the music, the presentation was artistically impressive with a gigantic screen rotating imagery of winter forests and reflective lakes, creating a Scandinavian atmosphere. He saved the best on-screen graphic until after the encore, when an elegant animation of swiftly gravitating flowers suitably accompanied the lyric “you were my heart flower” from track On That Day. It was a pleasing night for fans, both visually and audibly, and on that basis perhaps there is room on the British music landscape for more Icelandic folk.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
For further information about Asgeir and future events visit here.
Watch the video for King and Cross here: