Sigur Ros Live, Calvin Fine Arts Center

Sigur Ros is probably one of the best bands out there at the moment. I’ve mentioned them half a dozen times already. They really have an innocent sort of beauty to their music. I remember feeling this way about early U2.

**(Begin U2 rant) That feeling sort of faded this year because of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”, which by the way is one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard. There are possibly one or two slightly redeemable tunes on it. Vertigo is not one of them. I tended towards the fanatic and forgiving side when it came to listening to their music even after Joshua Tree. Achtung Baby all the way up to All That You Can’t Leave Behind were really excellent. And then came this abomination. **(End U2 Rant).

My friend Aeron introduced me to Sigur Ros with an EP mysteriously mailed to me when I lived in Ferndale. This EP made up about 3-4 songs from ágætis byrjun in 1999.

I saw Sigur Ros when they came to Detroit in 2002. That show was possible one of the best shows I’ve ever seen well in the top ten, along with:

# Ride/Slowdive in 1991
# U2 in 2001, 1991, 1987
# Wilco 2002
# Fugazi 1990
# Will Oldham/Palace Brothers/Bonnie Prince Billy 1993, 1999, and 2003.
# Johnny Cash 1996
# Skinny Puppy 1991
# PigFace 1992
# Sea and Cake 2001

Just to name a few memorable ones.

Sigur Ros both times has been really excellent, but I feel like I sort of got hosed when they surreptitously announced a second show at the Calvin Fine Arts Center for 11:30.

I was, without my consent, given the 6:30 show seating. Having done even a modicum of performing, if you have two shows in one night, you hold something back in the first to make sure you have something left for the second. Not only that, any technical problems will surely come out in the first.

The former proved true, and the latter untrue. I think Sigur Ros held back on the first show, but they had a bass amp blow out in the second.

Set List Show 1

ny batteri
untitled 1
untitled 2
untitled 3
olsen olsen
svo hjott/heysatan
untitled 8

Highlights for me were obviously: takk/glossoli, ny batteri, gong, vakka(untitled 1). hoppipolla, and olsen olsen.

Takk/glossoli began with a gossamer screen in front of the stage, (see rattle and hum). It was great to see this live. Great presentation, maybe slightly theatrical, but not overly so.

Ny batteri was great, I always like hearing the drums on this, the hi-hat symbal makes this really rattly noise when he hits it. I like the way they set up the drum kit sideways and at the front of the stage, rather than ushing tyhe drum kit towards the back where you can’t see anything. It seems like an arena rock thing, which may have some sort of audio engineer rationale. But our seats were very close to the drum kit so I had a really good view of how hard Orri was whacking the skins.

Vakka was another highlight, and I am always impressed by Jonssi’s (singer’s) ability to imbelish a very simple melody with no words, and strike some sort of emotional bulls eye. Maybe this is why I like Sigur Ros so much, it is simply music, no hang-ups on lyrics, or meaning other than what you create for yourself. Rolande Barthe would love to hear me say that the meaning is entirely in the ears of the listener, without any implied meaning from the author. These postmodern implications, and essays are my own of course, who knows maybe if I spoke some Icelandic the nonsensical hopelandic would have more context. If it does I would prefer to operate under my own ignorance for now.

One Comment

  1. you know, I hated the new U2 CD for about 3 weeks, then it suddenly grew on me. I don’t think it’s their best but I’ve warmed up to it.