Heilung (supported by Jo Quail)
Date: 9th November 2018
Venue: Islington Assembly Hall, London
After a quick pitstop in Nottingham the night before, I headed down to London on the coach, navigated my way on the Underground and Overground, found my hotel and in true British pre-gig fashion, found myself in the nearest Wetherspoons for food and some drinks.
The queue to enter the venue was long but it did move quickly. Bag searches and ticket checks were really efficient and got everyone in really quite quickly. The interior of the venue itself was beautiful. It was smaller than I expected, which is definitely no bad thing! The architecture of the place was wonderful, and it had an atmosphere that would complement the performances to come.
Support came from Jo Quail, an artist who I had never heard of until her anouncement as the supporting act for this show. Her performance appeared simple at first. It was her, and her cello. However, the act was so much more complex. With the one instrument, she looped sounds and melodies over each other and created an amazing sound that filled the hall and left everyone amazed. The end of each song was followed by a roar of applause and cheers from the audience and it was most certainly well deserved. A special shoutout goes out to the lovely man who was on her merch stall outside the main hall, as he gave me a bottle of water when I stepped out during Heilung’s set due to the intense heat and humidity.
The main event was Heilung. Now, I had taken the time to listen to Heilung over several months, and I really enjoyed their use of solely traditional and ancient instruments to create their songs, as well as their use of ancient poems and rituals to add lyrical accompaniment. What I did not expect was the full atmosphere of the performance itself. I felt as though I had been transported back in time, when these pagan rituals and poems were new. The performance wasn’t just the artists playing and reciting, it was an immersive performance which sent some into almost trance-like states, with the rhythmic drums and hypnotic group chants.
My only negative about the evening was the heat in the main hall, which as previously mentioned led to me having to leave the hall for a few minutes before I passed out. However, I could still hear the performance and watched the last two songs from the back, and the atmosphere was exactly the same there as it had been throughout the performance when I was stood a lot closer to the stage.
Heilung are also performing at Wacken Winter Nights in February 2019, and so I am even more so looking forward to seeing them perform in a cold and snowy forest surrounded by the nature their music worships.
Buy Jo Quail music and merch: https://joquail.bandcamp.com/merch
Listen to Jo Quail on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6GvPPPN2Ph0WrBndU8dNWh?si=yr_16cHlSb2rQKuTK5Xc-Q
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Buy Heilung music and merch: https://heilung.bandcamp.com/merch
Listen to Heilung on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7sTKZr30LqC928DZ5P9mNQ?si=SD9zdZuCQ-m3luzeezbRhg
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Date: 21st November 2018
Venue: Albert Hall, Manchester
Once again, the Wardruna performance was in a beautiful venue. Surrounded by posh hotels and hipster bars, it is a hidden gem. A similar size and design to the Islington Assembly Hall, I knew that this performance was going to have an amazing atmosphere, and I was not disappointed at all.
Wardruna had no support acts, but this for me enhanced the experience. The opening with Tyr was probably the most atmospheric and awe inspiring openings to a performance I have ever see, and I will certainly remember it for many, many years to come. The lighting was perfect, low lighting sillouetting the two horn players (Einar Selvick being one of them), the atmosphere it presented the audience with was amazing.
The performance went from strength to strength from then onwards. I was captivated during the entire performance. Many of my friends who are very much invested in Wardruna than I were moved to tears during some songs, particularly the penultimate track, Helvegen. Their performance was so tight, it sounded as though you were hearing the albums, but it was raw and live. That is such a rare thing nowadays in musical performance.
This performance by Wardruna is certainly going to be one of the most memorable shows I have attended over the years, and I will be making sure that I see Wardruna again as soon as I am able.
Buy Wardruna music and merch: http://www.wardruna.com/shop/
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Listen to Wardruna on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0NJ6wlOAsAJ1PN4VRdTPKA?si=kAW7Sp1sRQW899NTF_iTQA