Wardruna at The Warner Theatre in Washington, DC – October 14, 2022
After a two-year, very delayed wait due to the pandemic, the Norwegian band Wardruna finally embarked on their Kvitravn tour, with Washington, DC being their third stop on the North American run. For those who don’t know who Wardruna is, they are a Norse-inspired music group, using historical and traditional instruments. But simply put, they are just an experience.
Walking over to the venue, I expected there to be a line outside the door, but the concertgoers were already crowded inside the theater. After I found my seat and prepared my gear, I chatted with a fellow patron sitting next to me who happened to have toured with the band as their audio technician. When I asked him what I should be expecting from tonight, this was his answer: “It’s going to change all your expectations because it’s not typical music you would listen to if you’re an American. And that’s what makes it so cool. It’s tribal, it’s powerful, it’s just bizarre… in the best way possible. It’s spiritual too, so it’ll hit you.”
It surely did. The minute they started with the titular track from their recent album, Kvitravn, it was unlike anything I ever expected. I’ve always had a strong fascination with the Viking culture, and it was all powerful just to witness it. By the time I finished shooting, I was enraptured by the show. I teared up a few times, got chills a majority of it. Wardruna’s performance was atmospheric, spiritual, and so otherworldly.
They played a handful of songs that were used in the History Channel’s hit series, Vikings, including “Heimta Thurs” (while I remember it from the first season, I mostly correlate it to the Blood Eagle scene in season two), “Helvegen,” and “Voluspá,” on which the front man, one of the group’s founders, Einar Selvik, played solo. Before the whole set ended, I knew I was going to see them again in the near future. And I definitely plan on it.
Wardruna has 17 more shows on this run, and I highly recommend seeing them if they’re near you.