Wardruna North American Tour Kickoff

With reserved seating at capacity for The Fillmore in Silver Springs, MD the anticipation for Wardruna to finally grace the east coast with their signature neo-traditional Nordic folklore hymns was heightened evermore upon entrance into the venue.  The temperature inside was noticeably cold, with ambience already leaking from the house system.  As the six members walked onto the stage in darkness, the crowd couldn’t contain themselves any longer, letting out screams and applause as center stage opened a spotlight with frontman Einar Selvik and bandmate holding vast brass horns high above their heads. Alas, the journey had begun…

 

 

We were rewarded with over an hour and a half set delving into Wardruna’s three full length albums, with each member switching off instruments and vocal duties. At times, frontwoman Lindy Day Hella would seem almost enthralled in a trance-like state, belting out tones reminiscent of an ancient opera.  The soundscapes overtook the room transcending their audience into what felt like prayer and guidance from one track to romanticism and tales of heroism for others.  The pummelling percussion hit you in the chest while woodwind horn and violin cascaded through the very hairs standing on end.

 

 

Prior to what was to be the last song of the set, and a standing ovation from his audience, Selvik spoke of what a great experience it was to be welcomed to the east coast with such a tremendous response, stating that “It was time!”  Laughing to himself, jokingly exclaiming, “There is some paperwork involved!” He spoke definitively on the fact that Wardruna has not set out to “glorify the way things were long ago,” but the group was comprised to take something old and timeless, and make something new and still relevant, proclaiming that Nordic culture is one where there is song for everything. “When you are born, you are sung into this world. When you are baking bread, there is a song.” Further explanation that this last song was that someone is there to sing you to the other side at the time of death, and who was going to be there to sing Selvik at the time? A lone voice from the crowd yelled, “We will!” which lead to some smiles from the stage and laughter in the audience. The stage was set for the finale song, “Helvegen.”

 

 

After a second standing ovation and cries for one more, Wardruna took a bow collectively to their gathered enthusiasts. As cheers and applause continued, Selvik once again took the mic saying, “I’m not from here. We don’t know this type of communication. Does this mean we should another tune?” The crowd erupted while the band conversed the unexpected encore.  As they reached a consensus, saying, “Okay, a small one,” the rest of the band waved goodbye to the crowd, leaving Selvik alone on stage.  In response to his audience stomping the floor in unison, he proclaimed he was going to play “Hit Me Baby One More Time” as we were making that beat.  Again, laughing, Selvik declared some of us may have been aware that he worked on a show called Vikings, asking if we had seen it.  The crowd at the Fillmore was gifted with a solo performance of a poem about a man being thrown into a pit of snakes.

 

 

The dynamic of the group’s musical reach could be seen and felt through its audience – the obvious ties back to the black metal scene and the expected ancestral reach to Norwegian roots and heritage to the obvious fans of the television series Wardruna have contributed to.  This show was a spectacle from beginning to end, and having my ticket given as an early Valentine’s Day gift only drives home the sentiment of the evening. As Selvik stood at the end, taking in the bellowing support of his fans, he hinted, “See you soon..” while pounding his fist to chest.  His last words were, “From heart to heart,” motioning to the crowd, turning one last time as he walked off stage and waving goodbye…

 

 

 

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Terry Steel

Terry Steel

Father. Aspiring Vaishnava. The Vegan Straight Edge. XXX. Vocalist. All Glories to Prabhupada!

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