There’s definitely something extra special about The Astor Theatre nestled in Perth’s metro district of Mount Lawley. Built back in 1914/5, it has hosted and supported WA’s cultural soul with a history of entertainment events: dance, orchestra, silent (movie) pictures, bingo, karate and of course, as witnessed last Tuesday evening, the popular application of this multi-purpose heritage building of live music performances from around the globe. And he certainly did travel across the world to get to us – all the way from Iceland, in fact!
Perth’s place on the music map was again pinned to the wall with the Electro-Folk / Alt-Indie Nordic artist, ÁSGEIR Trausti Einarsson, taking the heritage-listed stage this winter. The Icelandic artist stopped in Perth for a single show as part of his international tour with special guest, GORDI.
A bit about her (and worth the mention, I might add). Sydney dweller Sophie Payten, or as we know her, GORDI, joined ÁSGEIR from across the country to worthily fill the support slot in the lead up to her upcoming album release. She gave us some familiar radio favourites like 'Wanting' and 'Can we work it out', as well as a bunch of juicy tasters with tracks off the soon-to- be- released record.
Although just 24 years of age, GORDI has developed a mature stage presence (or perhaps she’s always had it!? – this was my first time seeing the Sydney-based artist) as well as a mature and powerful voice. Her song-writing and musical composition back this up, laying down the full performance package alongside her flawless and innovative voice-loops with a Helicon voice pedal. One of the highlights for me was notably when she created the instrumentation of a track with the loop using counted whispers – “one two three one two three” – whilst tapping her chest for a type of ‘broken’ effect. Very cool to watch – and hear. According to the Australian female artist, GORDI will be back to the west coast very soon with her new release!
Onto the main course...
Whatever you’d expect to hear and see from an ÁSGEIR concert went down on the Astor Theatre stage on Tuesday night ...new stuff, the favourites, a cover of 'Stolen Dance' in the style true to his Indie / Electro-Folk flavour, and a simple but
definitely not subtle light-show to add to the appeal and mystique of the Icelandic artist. With an accompaniment of four instrumentalists, including an unreal drummer fusing a traditional kit with electronic pads and all sorts of [genre] beats, ÁSGEIR definitely entered the sphere of epic without a single backing track. The set flowed like feelings, with a pretty big start with new tracks both in English and Icelandic, true to his ethereal electronic sounds. Then, taking it right down, way
down, for a solo performance with just the man and his weathered, clearly loved electronic guitar for a beautiful slow number.
Just when we thought we were safe here in this comforting dreamlike state, he awoke the crowd with the back to back bangers we are most familiar with and as loved by Aussie radio. If left wanting for anything, for me it would be a yearning
to know about his home town (how many internationally acclaimed artists do you know from Iceland!?) ...perhaps a bit of banter concerning why he wrote his songs, and a brief decoding for songs sung in Icelandic. Not everyone is talkative
though, so put it down to his modest and humble vibe.
In case you were wondering, encores are a thing in Iceland... After already making the theatre room float, ÁSGEIR made peaking hearts higher when re-entering the stage and finishing (for real this time) with his international hit, ‘Torrent’.
Review - Olivia Szulgowski
Photography - Peter Heathcote, Rhythmic Photography