Judging by how many people responded when I offered up my extra ticket, I would say Sigur Ros is pretty popular. Because of the fact they can sell out Deer Lake Park, I would say they are pretty popular. Couple that with the fact that they are from Iceland, they are not only popular, but wickedly talented. Going to a Sigur Ros show is unlike anything you will ever experience. It is a musical orgasm that weaves the auditory, the visual and the spiritual.
Front man and guitarist Jonsi (Jon Por Birgisson) is the most interesting and unassuming leader you will ever set your eyes. I had the fortune of seeing his solo show three years ago and he was amazing even then. What is more neat is that he is an Icelandic, half-blind gay vegan who plays guitar with a cello bow and has a falsetto to die for. During one song he actually sang into his instrument and what was emitted was one of the most interesting and unique sounds ever to come from a rock band. Dos Equis should use Jonsi in their next commercial. Sigur Ros was formally a four-piece and are now a three-piece; yet there were 11 musicians onstage. Not many post-rock bands share the stage with a two violins, a viola, trumpet, trombone, and a tuba. Other instruments that showed up were a flute, xylophone, various percussive cymbals and synthesizers. Jonsi also held a falsetto note for about 30 seconds and left the crowd gaping in silent awe and worship. Jonsi barely said five words to the concert-goers all night, and to show just how shy and unassuming he is, during the final set the band simply walked off and let the rhythm section finish the show. And what a show it was.
Song bled into one another as they became epics. Lyrics filled our hearts and minds as they became dreams. And, during one particular moment about halfway through, as the music stopped and the microphones lit up, Jonsi became a saint. The rain, which had been threatening all night, chose to come down in a drizzle at the exact right, turning the devoted crowd into a devout following. The atmosphere reminded me of people getting saved. Only their God was from Iceland and actually existed. I even found myself in a trance at one point. The music of Sigur Ros definitely has a spiritual, ethereal and other-worldly quality about it. What really makes things interesting and unique is that the fans know all the songs, yet none of the lyrics. Many reasons exist for this. First, instrumental breaks can go beyond five minutes. Second, the band is known for singing in Hoplandic (also known as Vonlenska), a language they invented for their debut album Von. They also sing many tracks in Iceland. English can be heard, but Jonsi vocal quality is so weirdly unique that the English-speaking fan may not recognize their own native tongue.
It started to pour as the band’s set crossed the two-hour mark. And not a soul left the park. It became dark and the lights on the stage made a silhouette of Jonsi, adding to his already Christ-like figure. Always known for fabulous lights and a spectacular backdrop, Deer Lake Park was no exception. As if their songs weren’t epic tales in their own right, the videos shown behind enhanced every little bit of the saga that was taking place before our eyes. This was a show for the ages. If ever and when I meet my death, this is the music I want to play me off into my endless sleep. This is the future of music.
Their seventh album, Kveikur, will be released in June, 2013.
RIYL: Jonsi, Jonsi & Alex, post-rock