SOLSTAFIR – Oslo – Betong
When this gig was announced, I spoke with a fella named Rob. Like me a man displaced from his homeland (in his case The United States of England) – his relevance? He works at Betong from time to time as sound engineer. He is also Solstafir’s resident sound engineer. So what better man to relay my fears about this gig to.
Solstafir are genius. Simple, for me. Their last «Kold» album was the best of its year and the band live are simply fucking stunning. Now, the world is catching up in realizing this fact too (I believe) but not enough. In other words I suspected that there would be a max of 200 people out to see them tonight. I also suspected that those booking this show would have it in the bigger of the two possible venues in Betong. Upon relaying my fears to Rob, he told me that I was probably right as regards to the venue being most probably the bigger. It turned out that I was right.
So rare is this (my being right) that it is rarely pleasant.
Why put a show that will have 150 – 200 people in a venue that holds 600 plus when there is a 250/300 capacity venue right next door? So we don’t have the ideal desk, stage, lights or whatever but what good are they when the very soul of the event is sucked out by a venue that is two thirds empty? Annoying.
As fate would have it, a night that seemed to doomed to failure turned into a beautiful triumph over adversity and the genius of this Icelandic mob shone through. What was an incredible show might even have been better had the venue choice not been so stupid.
Feel as if I have blown my wad with that outburst. So there is little to say really. Solstafir are not a cut above anything really they are in a total class of their own.
Not only do you have four members each with their own distinct personalities but each that is just so unique in themselves. A frontman with charisma enough for two bands yet three other members each with their own distinct brand of charisma.
The rented backline poses numerous issues in the opening minutes of the set and not once does the band fluster, instead they calmly walk back and forth between adjustments until they have optimum sound and things begin to fly off the radar.
We are treated to a set that features all the hits we would hope for from «Kold» as well as the loooong «Ritual Of Fire» epic that really separates the women from the boys. With the addition of new material all the signs are indeed veeeeery good that next Solstafir platter will be at the very least piercing the clouds in reaching that same heaven their appreciators were treated to with the last outing on disc.
Considering how dead this venue was upon arrival and was even minutes before Solstafir took to the stage, considering how electrified the same venue was by the end of their set and considering how I was transfixed, how every sense was, for their duration I can say nothing other than May might have seen an early winner for the best show of 2011.
If this band is never embraced on a wider scale it will be proof that some things are just too pure for the public at large but you at least need to see them and make the decision for yourself.