Monday, 24 November 2008


Micheál caught the train to London to bring back a slice of Iceland. Here's what he had to say:
More Suited to the fringes…

As the magnetism of Sigur-Rós’ most recent album had just begun to fade away and the listening endlessly began to grow tiresome and as the album takes its place among all those other greats that have preceded then it was time to revitalise my enjoyment and sheer awe at one of the most elemental bands in contemporary music. No better way to do this than engage in, what was for me, a quasi-religious, aesthetically perfect, well measured, supremely balanced night of entertainment.
Sigur-Rós’ potential to inculcate wonder and awe in their presence is largely undisputed yet, that still does not mean that one is left aghast at their overwhelmingly beautiful command of the live concert. Sigur-Rós entered into the rapturous applause of a crowd clearly hanging on in eager anticipation at what marvels would await them and indeed Sigur-Rós did bestow upon us an abundance of delights right from the off. For their first numbers Sigur-Rós played Sevn-e-glar and Ny Batterí proving that their older (and less mainstream) material holds just as much credence as the music that has propelled Sigur-Rós to fame within the last few years. This was simply a treat to listen and it only grew more enthralling with every alluring sonar ping and every violent stoke of Joní’s bow on his guitar. It was also extremely tactically placed, as from this moment Sigur-Rós were able to command the temperament of the crowd to ensure that it was totally in line with their disposition. With this power in hand Sigur-Rós opened the gig up to their more mainstream music with Við Spilum Endalaust, Hoppípolla Með Blóðnasir and Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur. It was at this point that one could notice, in spite of the vigor and energy that these songs were played with, Sigur-Rós were more comfortable with their more epic soundscape and while it was still a treat to hear these great tunes, it was possible to see the fragility and vulnerability of Sigur-Rós if they are pushed into the mainstream and that is why, in this authors opinion people should stop doing it.
The magnanimity of Sigur-Rós was soon to return in E-Bow and Sæglópur which also included the best visual element of the night, a huge water screen falling from the ceiling with images then blending into this ‘magical rain’. It was one of the design features, like many others, that gave itself so well to the music. Sigur-Rós finished the night with Festival, Hafssól and Gobbledigook and in the end it was the humorous, joyous, parodic and eccentric Sigur-Rós that left us demonstrating that they are truly capable of taking diversity to new levels of extreme. For the Encore we had All Alright and Popplagið. In the end despite its atmosphere, its well polished and brilliantly executed design and even its music, it was the personality of Sigur-Rós that won the day demonstrating that their character complexities, their artistic integrity and their musical ingenuity will remain sovereign lest anyone try to sell it off to the nearest wishing to push them into the ‘mainstream’.

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