Review: Sigur Ros and Oneohtrix Point Never at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, MN. April 3, 2013

Sigur Ros and Oneohtrix Point Never at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, MN. April 3, 2013

Review of Sigur Ros by Joe Stadele.   Published by Jeff Becker on April 4, 2013

Sigur Ros

  • Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN.
  • April 3, 2013

Setlist:

  • Yfirbord
  • Ny Batteri
  • Vaka
  • Hrafntinna
  • Sæglopur
  • Fljotavik
  • E-bow
  • Varud
  • Hoppipolla + Med Blodnasir
  • Olsen Olsen
  • Kveikur
  • Festival
  • Brennisteinn
  • Encore:
  • Glosoli
  • Popplagio

Review:

Close your eyes.

A note is played…then repeated. The note gives way to others and a sound begins build into a melody. You are surrounded by darkness. Confused of its origin, you begin to walk toward the sound.  As you walk the sound builds and grows louder and louder.  You peak around the wall you have built up within and around you. You see the sound. It’s a blinding brightness speaks in tongues and pierces through your eyes and ears. A shiver runs up your spine and your soul begins to push against the walls of your chest. Pushing and pushing. In an uncontrollable outburst, the sound manifests itself and tears fall down your cheeks as an exuberant smile of joy washes across your face. You open your eyes to the sound of five angels singing in the distance.  Though you may be lost in a moment of emotional confusion…you are simply at a Sigur Ros performance.

Experiencing Sigur Ros live is a primal arousal of the senses. On the heels of their eighth studio album, Kveiker, the three Icelandic men (backed with an 8-piece backing band which includes the wonderful female collective, Amiina) left a crowd of nearly 4,000 in awe.  Taking to a stage shrouded in a translucent curtain, three-dimensional layered images were projected across the stage as the shadow of lead vocalist and guitarist, Jónsi Birgisson, grew and dwarfed as spotlights pushed from behind him.  After the third track, “Untitled #1/Vaka,” the shroud dropped to the sides of the stage unveiling the full band backed by a giant panoramic screen and a stage decorated in singular lights which were almost star-like.  Throughout the two hour set, abstract images and references to their back catalog played across the giant screen as seizure inducing lights pierced throughout the auditorium.

At the nucleus of the Sigur Ros, Jónsi’s falsetto vocals and bow guitar attack painted pictures above, within and under the textured layers of music. Singing in Icelandic and their made up “Hopelandic,” one of the amazing things about hearing Jónsi’s lyrics is 99% of people have no idea what is being sung but they know exactly what he means.  The vocals are matched in force by the crashing cymbals and army of drums, the riding bass lines, the horns, the strings, the keys…it builds and builds and gives way to complete silence.  It’s not uncommon for a xylophone note or piano chord to lead or proceed the most crushing movement of heavily layered music that would leave Metallica envious.

Highlights of the show included an Icelandic “Happy Birthday” to a member of the road crew in which Jónsi said to the audience, “I wish you would have sung in Icelandic!”  The happy birthday was followed by a misfire attempt and restart of the fan favorite, “Hoppipolla.” The band closed out the main set with a crushing rendition of their new 8-minute leading track, “Brennisteinn.”

The euphoric atmosphere continued after the bands final bow.  Sentiments such as, “amazing,” “beautiful,” “epic,” and “the greatest performance I have ever seen” were heard throughout the halls of the auditorium.

Sigur Rós‘ new album, Kveiker, is out June 18, 2013. Listen to “Brennisteinn” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc6zXSdYXm8

— Joe Stadele

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