Sigur Ros live review in which I confess to tearing up

October 11, 2013

P1010945When I wrote about Sigur Rós coming to Miami I made an off-the-cuff reference to fans who let the tears loose at the sound of frontman Jon “Jónsi” Thor Birgisson’s voice (An interview with Sigur Ros’ drummer ahead of the band’s first Miami show [go through to the Miami New Times interview, too]). It was something I had heard in passing, and I could not remember a specific reference. I could have even just made it up, as I believe the Icelandic group’s music is some of the most stirring I have ever heard. It’s the way they know how to build up music. It’s assembled with such care and patience that albums such as 2002’s ( ) earns the ecstasy of untitled track 3 (AKA “Samskeyti”) because of the two untitled tracks before it (“Vaka” and “Fyrsta”). It takes a full 15 minutes before a pretty, looping, driving piano melody appears, but it’s only as good as it is because of the investment in the rather ambient, amorphous, restrained bits of music before it.

Jonsi fronting the ecstatic finale of Sigur Ros in Miami. Oct. 9, 2013. Photo by Ana Morgenstern.

This and cover photo by Ana Morgenstern.

The other night, at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, I noticed the band work that subtle magic that ultimately affected me. It was during the fourth number of the night when it felt like I stepped across a line in my consciousness.

“Glósóli” from 2005’s Takk… was coming toward its finale. After building up from sporadic, light bass string plucking by Georg Hólm, a light twinkling bell melody and the surreal muddy crunch from either a sampler or one of the band’s many percussive elements, the song soared to heights of layered ecstasy. Jónsi bowed at his electric guitar, creating a wall of sound like a ghostly wind rolling over a distant mountain. The song went double time, with more elements of percussion piling up and pounding along. Guitars joined in the din until it all became a sort of white noise that still had musical scale, growing higher and more ecstatic. As Jónsi repeated a phrase, “Og hér ert þú, Glósóli,” extending the “þú” with each refrain, I realized I could cry. I did not need to know what he’s saying. It was all about the sensation. The decision to allow the tear ducts to open was as easy as opening a door and relaxing into what greeted me on the other side.

Here’s the video for “Glósóli”:

You can read my full review of that night by clicking on the image below shot by Miami New Times’s photographer Monica McGivern:

Sigur Ros at Klipsch Amphitheater, Oct. 9, 2013. Photo by Monica McGivern

Sigur Ros at Klipsch Amphitheater, Oct. 9, 2013. Photo by Monica McGivern.

Sigur Rós’ tour continues with a stop in Mexico City and London in a few days and then a European leg in November:

Oct. 13  – Corona Capital – Mexico City

Oct. 18 – Maida Vale – London

EUROPEAN AUTUMN TOUR

Nov. 16 – O2 Arena – Dublin, Ireland

Nov. 18 – Usher Hall – Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Nov. 19 – Capital FM Arena – Nottingham, United Kingdom

Nov. 20 – Brighton Centre – Brighton, United Kingdom

Nov. 21 – Wembley Arena – London, United Kingdom

Nov. 23 – Rockhal – Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Nov. 24 – Jahrhunderthalle – Frankfurt, Germany

Nov. 25 – Mitsubishi Electric Halle – Dusseldorf, Germany

Nov. 27 – Baltiska Hallen – Malmo, Sweden

Nov. 28 – Spektrum – Oslo, Norway

Nov. 30 – Hartwall Areena – Helsinki, Finland

You can find tickets to any of these shows by visiting the band’s touring page here.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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