February 7, 2006
By Amy Farnsworth
Oh, the Places you'll go! : Sigur Ros Takes Boston on a Journey
Imagine Radiohead lead singer, Thom Yorke, and Coldplay front man, Chris Martin, singing in Icelandic and playing their electric guitars with cello bows. Then, combine these musical elements with an organ, three xylophones, one bassist, a keyboard player and a drummer. It may be difficult to explain Sigur Rós' music, but that didn't stop fans from flocking to the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on Tuesday Feb. 7 to see the Icelandic band perform live.
Sigur Rós' unique and powerful music has attracted audiences around the globe, but the U.S. has been exceptionally kind to the musicians. During their first tour in the states, Sigur Rós played sold out shows in various cities around the country. After seeing their live performance on Tuesday, it's no surprise that Sigur Rós continues to receive praise from fans and critics.
Sigur Rós captivated a sold-out audience with new songs from their most recent album, "Takk", and older favorites from "( )" and "Von." The crowd eagerly took their seats, as the four band members stepped on stage behind a large silk screen and played the first song of the night, "Takk Intro." Giant silhouettes draped in red lighting stood before the audience, as lead singer and guitarist, Jonsi Birgisson, began to sing the popular song, "Glosoli." Birgisson's high-pitched, clear voice accompanied by steady drumbeats, echoed throughout the theatre, bouncing off balcony walls, as the song gained momentum. The silk screen lifted, and lights pulsated to each drum beat, and like a cellist, Birgisson placed a bow across his guitar, emitting distorted, yet entrancing sounds. As the four musicians continued to play, black and white video clips shown on a large screen, accompanied the haunting, beautiful music, and set the mood for the rest of the show.
Soon, the intensity of Sigur Rós' music became undeniable, when the opening act, Amina, a music group consisting of four women from Iceland, assembled to form a string quartet. The band then started to play, Sæglópur, another song off of their album, "Takk." Piano chords overlapped the sound of three xylophones, plinking harmonies, as Birgisson picked up his guitar and led the way with keyboard player, Kjartan Sveinsson, for a powerful finish.
Although Sigur Rós only consists of four musicians, their music encompasses powerful emotions that instantly transport you to places you've only imagined, but have never experienced. Within minutes of listening to their music, Sigur Rós takes you on a journey, through unexplored lands, where your mind is free to wander.
An hour into the show, my mind began to wander, as the band lulled me to sleep with slower songs. Despite the lack of intensity during the middle of the show, I still appreciated the unique and captivating beauty of Sigur Rós' music.
One of the most memorable and intimate moments of the night was when the band played, Heysátan. Gold floor lights flickered on and off, like candles, as the band played sitting in a circle, facing each other. Bassist, Georg Holm, swayed back and forth in his chair to keep the beat, and lead singer, Birgisson, sustained powerful notes as the silk curtain dropped from above. The audience stood up and gave a standing ovation as band members took their places behind the silk curtain and played the last song of the night, "Popplagið." Birgisson wailed over a powerful, driving rhythm, and psychedelic lighting and video footage flashed before the audience's eyes as the journey finally ended.
Sigur Ros will continue to stop at major cities during their 2006 tour, including New York and Los Angeles. They will also headline the annual California music festival, Coachella Valley Music Fest, April 29-30, with other independent acts including, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, and Matisyahu.