I'll admit I've always had a relatively humble introduction to Sigur Rós as a band - I always related their work to the 'hit' 'Svefn-g-englar' from their 1999 album Ágætis byrjun. After realising tonight that this band has been around for 19 years, I pretty much didn't know what to expect of them tonight.
After being jaded from so many loud, muddy-sounding and obtusely violent acts over the years that stood for nothing but the commune of beer and piss poor mixing, I admit I walked into the S.E.C.C. tonight worrying that I would be in for a disappointment – Nothing for the past few years had really "wowed" me and as cheesy as it sounds, I can safely say tonight was a beautiful musical moment in history.
The translucent curtains of the stage obscured the view of the band for the first three songs, acting as a large projector to display the band's visuals as Sigur Rós played through their new work. The lights of the venue dancing beautiful across the stage as if the music itself was creating that very said light.
The audience was standing in complete silence, eyes drawn to the stage with very few hands brought up for a drink or to take a video/photo of the band with their mobiles. Instead, you could feel the atmosphere build from the masterful vocals and guitar work created by Jón Þór "Jónsi" Birgisson.
Guitars swelled as Jón bowed his guitar with a cello bow – Something as a guitarist myself I had seen many a time before, but this time, it was being used by someone who actually knew how to use it, bringing his instrument into a whole different dimension, creating sound that only he could create.
Piano interludes trickled across the large hall ebbing into an echo, like falling notes from a invisible waterfall, bringing a sense of serenity – The band’s silhouettes through the curtains, like shadow puppets to an unknown dance played on.
A thunderous crash from Orri Páll Dýrason’s drum kit created a splash of light cascading across the curtain, the band played in full swing with a heavier sound than what I am acquainted to with this group, bringing a dynamic of beauty and aggressiveness in perfect balance.
As the curtains fell, the band was revealed to a roaring crowd 5000 strong. The stage was surrounded by light bulbs elevated on stands of varying heights, symbolising the large screen projection screen’s starry visuals.
The band played on through their new material, the balance and dynamic of their opening tracks still maintained – The audience absolutely captivated with every second, every note and rhythm that was being played. By the end of the fifth song, the crowd roared again as the band moved onto more familiar material from their latter album Valtari.
There are those few moments in life when you realize that all elements of a show have came together cohesively to create a beautiful night. I realized tonight that without doubt, Sigur Rós are absolutely essential to music in every way. Not are they one of the most amazing live bands I have seen in my life were their music can actually be heard, but its music that you (Yet again I'm sorry if this sounds cheesy) can actually feel – It goes through your very essence of being and creates something that just causes the eyes to be fixed on the lights as they play harmoniously with the sounds created by such a wonderful band.
The vocals of Jón Þór "Jónsi" Birgisson were a highlight for me; they were nothing short of beautiful and technically masterful. It is musicians like him and bands like Sigur Rós that give you a renewed sense of hope in music. They create something on the night that reminds you that music isn't a sequence of phrases and repetitions, a cheap thrill or dance hit, but something that on that night can't be recreated a second time or third – A memory imprint through sound and light, through the very nature of talented individuals with a fantastic story to tell through their music.