Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sigur Ros

Last weekend I went to a Sigur Ros gig in Glasgow.  Here are some thoughts on it.

  • Doors opened at 6.30.  The support act wasn't on until 8, and Sigur Ros until 9.  This was an unnecessary wait.  Especially as...
  • The support act, Banck Mass, was the worst support act I've ever seen.  By a mile.  One man, one laptop, two decks.  One thirty minute track, which was just sound.  No groove, or rhythm, or tune.  Just atmospheric synth noises.  Awful.
  • The first three songs of the Sigur Ros set were played with a transparent but certainly visible curtain around the stage.  This allowed for some very cool lighting effects on the curtain, but made us feel slightly distanced from the band, especially as the first three songs were 2 brand new tracks and Ny Batteri, which takes five minutes to kick in.  However, it was worth it for the next moment...
  • Up until the end of Ny Batteri, the lighting had all been blue, green and white.  At the end of Ny Batteri, as the next song started, all the lights went red, and the curtain dropped to the floor.  And, the next song was Vaka - a classic, one of my favourites and on my soundtrack of 2012.  One of the best moments of the night.
  • The band lineup consisted of Jonsi, the frontman and vocalist, who played electric guitar using a bow.  Lad.  He also played piano.  Then a bassist (who also played xylophone) and a drummer (who also played piano and xylophone).  Also an electric guitarist (who also played piano and xylophone) and a fifth guy who switched between drums, percussion and piano.  There were six pianos on the stage.  There were also three violinists, a trumpeter, a trombonist/flautist and a french horn player.  Everyone also sang.  A great spectacle of musicians.
  • The sound from Jonsi's guitar was very difficult to identify in the overall sound.  I could hear the drums, bass, violins etc, but not his guitar.  I assume there were huge delay effects going on and that he contributed to the overall atmospheric/synth sound of the music.  Shame though.
  • During Hoppipolla, Jonsi played bass.  So there were two basses, drums, piano and xylophone.  No electric guitar.  Interesting.
  • Hoppipolla was followed by Med Blodnasir, as it is on the album.  This combination really got the crowd going.  Sigur Ros aren't really a band people sing along to, but they did for these two songs.  Arms were up, lights were stunning, the crowd were almost worshipping.  Spine tingling.  Another of the best moments of the night.
  • They played Glosoli.  I was not expecting this, but I was delighted to hear it.
  • The band played a 3-song encore.  The penultimate song was Fljotavik, which was beautiful and calm.  The calm before the storm...
  • They finished with Popplagio.  Of course they did.  And it was enormous.  Everything you would hope it might be.
  • The lighting was continually spectacular, but my favourite feature was the 44 (we counted) lightbulbs perched on sticks around the stage.  They just looked gorgeous.
  • One disappointment was the lack of interaction from the band with the crowd.  Jonsi only spoke to the crowd twice, and once was simply to say 'thankyou'.  I know they're not English, but they are fluent and it would have been nice to have had a bit more acknowledgement of our presence.  Having said this, they came back out after the encore to wave and bow.  I liked that.

In all, a very worthwhile evening.  If you ever get a chance to hear Blanck Mass, eat your own heart out with a blunt spoon instead.  If you ever get a chance to hear Sigur Ros, do it.  If Blanck Mass is supporting Sigur Ros, just arrive at 8.45 and you won't miss a thing.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Saw this concert in Lisbon 2 weeks ago and absolutely loved it!! Being immersed in the music somehow brought a whole me a whole new appreciation for it. Fair play for noticing and remembering so many details, I was so lost in the whole experience that I barely noticed the time slip by!