Sigur Rós create supremely expressive music — depending on the song the end result may find the audience gasping at the devastation or tearing up with emotions. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing them several times over the past decade and their show at Radio City Music Hall was one of my favorites. They deftly shifted between powerful or emotional (or both in one) songs utilizing incredible visuals along with a unique lighting component.
In their first act, Sigur Rós stage lights highlighted the bandmates themselves — to some extent. It was still frequently dark enough that Jónsi could disappear and you couldn’t be sure if Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason had switched up instruments. But the minimalist projections served to underscore the instruments on “Ekki Múkk” and “E-Bow” amongst others. Against the plodding back beat of “Glósóli”, one of my favorites, Jónsi’s voice soared through the belly of Radio City and you could watch as he wielded a bow across the strings of his guitar.
For the second set, the band began behind a scrim that hinted at a more visual second act (the stage lighting had been reconfigured as well). And indeed it was. On “Starálfur”, perpetually connected to The Life Aquatic… in my mind, the projection turned blue, suggesting an underwater excursion. The powerful “Sæglópur” followed immediately — the visuals conveying a sensation the band was playing atop an exploding star. Needless to say to any fan of the band but the rest of the show, including “Vaka”, “Kveikur” and “Popplagið”, was superb. This is the kind of show you wish would never end — Sigur Rós has such a strong catalog to pull from that so many gems, including “Hoppípolla” didn’t even have a place in the show.
Sigur Rós is currently wrapping up a North American tour before heading to East Asia for a few shows. They will visit L.A. in April for three performances with the Philharmonic Orchestra for the Reykjavik Festival. Former member, Kjartan Sveinsson is releasing his first solo effort, Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen which translates to ‘The Explosive Sonics of Divinity’ later this month.