Entering Silfurberg, I can feel the excitement in the air. More than 720 friends, fans and followers have gathered to witness Agent Fresco perform their long-awaited new album in full, giving ‘Destrier’ the celebration it deserves.
Unannounced and without any fanfare, the artists quietly assume their positions on Silfurberg’s stage. For their ambitious release concert, the Agent Fresco fivesome have drafted in eleven session artists—string and brass sections, along with an extra drummer, guitarist and synth player. All of them are on stage, patiently waiting for the intro playback to finish. And, when it does, the real show starts.
The band immediately throws itself into the performance. Arnór Dan’s singing sounds crisper than on the album, the lows and highs coming in more organically, without sacrificing any of the emotion. Hrafnkell Örn’s drumming, supplemented by the second skinsman, keeps everyone on the mark. Þórarinn’s guitar work looks effortless as he mixes incredulous timing with simple riffs—so effortless that the second guitarist’s stage presence easily steals his thunder. However, he is in turn outdone by Vignir ragdolling his bass around, pulling off moves that would put a young Mick Jagger to shame.
As they had promised, Agent Fresco and their band of hired guns play through ‘Destrier’ in its entirety and in order, from track one to track fourteen, with a few breaks in between. The attention to detail on display is absolutely astounding, and the crowd seems completely spellbound, applauding at every chance (including over a piano solo).
What set this show apart from Agent Fresco’s usual concerts was their single-minded devotion to the performance. Absent was Arnór’s jovial banter between songs, and the band had eradicated any room for error. It was all work and no play, as if the band’s ambitions were to host a live listening party, rather than a living, breathing concert . Having said that, the material in itself was presented in its most finessed and complete form imaginable.
Once the album has run its course and the band has been cajoled back on stage for an encore, the fans refuse to sit quietly, opting rather to sing loudly along to the band’s frustratingly catchy hits “A Long Time Listening” and “Eyes Of A Cloud Catcher.” Arnór opens himself up thanking everyone present and finally lets his empathic personality shine through. Their stage presence starts resembling what I’ve grown used to, completely distracting me from the session artists’ quiet departure. As the final notes ring out, it’s just the core quartet on stage, and they absolutely fill it.
Agent Fresco has reached new heights, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Days after the show I still have earworms, and I like it.
Agent Fresco performed at Harpa Silfurberg on October 1. They also perform at Iceland Airwaves on the following days:
- Wednesday, November 4 at Harpa Silfurberg @ 00:20
- Thursday, November 5 at Fríkirkjan @ 22:00
- Sunday, November 8 at Vodafone Hall @ 20:00
Poised For Domination, Agent Fresco Celebrate ‘Destrier’
Agent Fresco’s new album ‘Destrier’ starts with a series of disparate sounds that slowly meld into a Tartini tone—that is, when two notes play at a certain frequency, fooling the brain into hearing a third note. Although this extra note doesn’t exist, we believe it’s there, and it affects us as much as any other sound. Agent Fresco singer Arnór Dan’s last three years involved a kind of Tartini tone, when the tune of his ordinary life was upset in 2012 by a violent assault.