Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sigur Ros Played The Greek

The encore alone was worth the price of the admission. Rain was forecast for the night, and by some seeming stroke of insane luck, held right until the band returned to the stage for the encore. Combine that with two final songs that really pushed the boundaries of the bands' musical pedigree, and the result was a group of fans that went away happy, soaking wet, and wanting more.

But let's start at the beginning. We had long heard that Sigur Ros was a live experience to behold. To be frank, we kind of sorted it away in the stoner "experience to behold" file. That is to say: this band that is so musically abstract and inspirational on its records could only be a live experience that drifted through waves of sound, and brought the listener a sort of peace and exhilaration at the grand majesty of it all. We couldn't have been more wrong.

Make no mistake: Sigur Ros can recreate their album sounds perfectly live. It's all there. The droney synth lines, the bass played with a bow, the eerie falsetto vocals. In fact, at times when the show was emulating the record, you might have made the mistake that is was the record. But what really defined the band's live experience (as with all great live bands) were the aspects of the live show that are not on the record.

The first (and most obvious) place to start is with the band's live sound: it departs drastically from the records in many different ways, all for the better. The live drums are more intense and driving than those on the records, the guitars are bigger and more distorted, and most dominantly the bow-played bass provides a crashing wave of distortion and feedback that simply outdoes the records on all fronts. Put differently, this band that can be so fragile and seemingly ambient at times is also unrepentantly rock and roll.

The band's live sound is firmly cemented by a fantastic stage show. The lights are dynamic and appealing throughout the performance, loads of confetti fired into the crowd twice during show, and the video backdrops borrow a stage multi-view page from Radiohead's book. Make no mistake, Sigur Ros are showmen in every sense of the word.

We went into this show not knowing what to expect, but told it would be greatness. And, always leaning towards skepticism, we were not thinking greatness would appear. But, at the end of the night, there it was: a band that makes fantastic records, and then takes them in a completely different direction in the live setting. If there is any question in your mind, let us assure you: it is truly not to be missed.

Many more pics available at the HAD Archive


Hanan said...

nice review. yep, Sigur Ros are much more than a stoner experience band, but I am not discounting that the happy herb helps makes things so much more magical

Anonymous said...

Um... Jonsi is the one that plays with a bow. That's guitar, not bass. Anyone who's ever heard the difference between a guitar and bass knows that.

Anonymous said...

I believe the author was refering to George playing his bass with a drum stick on Untitled 6. Much more powerful sound than the cd.