Norwegian folk music project Wardruna made their San Francisco debut this past Saturday, September 15th, with a sold-out performance at The Regency Ballroom. Despite a venue filled with metalheads (and a handful of apparent Viking cosplayers), this was not a typical metal performance. While vocalist Einar Selvik has ties to black metal act Gorgoroth, among others, the vibe and pace of Wardruna’s performance was hypnotic and immersive, rather than moshpit-inciting.
Traditional Nordic instrumentation, including massive lur horns, primitive drums, and tagelharpes (a traditional string instrument) accompanied the Norwegian and Old Norse lyrics of Wardruna’s songs and deep, throat-singing intonations, spanning their trilogy of albums.
Dramatic lighting cast hard shadows against a white textured backdrop that served to highlight all of the bandmembers — seven in all — who contributed to the enveloping sounds. Deep red or green lighting accompanied more subdued tracks. The performance ended with a brief encore and a promise to return to the bay area.
One-woman folk artist Eivør opened the night.”