Heilung – the experimental folk band consisting of members from Denmark, Norway, and Germany – recently invaded North America for a very brief, but super successful headlining tour (their first), boasting completely sold-out stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Washington, Montreal and New York City.
We caught the tour’s final stop at Webster Hall on January 29, 2020, a show that kicked off roughly around 8PM and continued until about 10PM. Burning sage filled the room thanks to a hooded figure, and the band, led by core members Christopher Juul (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Kai Uwe Faust (vocals), and Maria Franz (vocals), opened their ritual with a special ceremony held front-and-center. Rounded out by additional multi-instrumentalists and backup vocalists, the horde would go on to start their set with tracks “In Maidjan,” “Alfadhirhaiti,” “Krigsgaldr,” and “Hakkerskaldyr” off their 2015 first LP, Ofnir. Webster Hall’s stage rumbled as body-painted warriors carrying spears and shields stomped and chanted along to Faust‘s grisly throat-singing.
The second half of Heilung‘s set consisted of anthems from the band’s most recent release on Season of Mist, Futha, with numbers like “Norupo,” “Othan,” “Traust,” and “Galgaldr” sending their already rabid fanbase into an unstoppable sea of excitement. Visually stunning, Franz‘s vocals were celestial as she eased NYC ears with sounds influenced from early medieval northern Europe and the viking age. The night’s final two hymns “Elddansurin” and “Hamrer Hippyer” saw an all-out party breaking out with mesmerizing fire dancing on-stage and war-painted warriors making their way into the audience for some crowd surfing action.
Next up for Heilung, they’ll tour in Europe over the spring, making appearances at ‘Mystic Festival’ in Poland, ‘Nova Rock’ in Austria, ‘Motocultor Festival’ in France and more. Stay informed.
Check out our gallery from the show below.
All photos by Johnny Perilla