A lot of my friends were a bit confused when I checked into the Sigur Rós show at the beautiful State Theatre on Tuesday night. Honestly, I surprised myself by going to this one. It’s not that I didn’t have a clue that Sigur Rós was a bit out of my typical wheelhouse but it was up against some tough competition at various other venues across the cities. Why did I choose to spend my night at the State and not at The Turf Club witnessing the fun that is TWRP? Honestly, I don’t know but I know that I made the right decision as to where to spend my Tuesday night.
Sigur Rós has been around since the mid-90s. Hailing from Iceland, this band has a reputation to be creative and mysterious at the same time. One of the first things you may notice about the music of Sigur Rós is that it’s not in a recognizable language. I mean, sometimes the words are in Icelandic but, the rest of the time they are in Vonlenska which is a made-up language from Sigur Rós. I won’t go super into detail about this language but would like to point out two things. One- can we just marvel at the fact that this band literally created a language? Talk about creativity. Two- the beauty that comes with each word in each song has me wondering if I could break the code and just start speaking in Vonlenska. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful sounding languages in the world and I think the world would be a much more beautiful place if we all talked in it.
Much like the language, the music of Sigur Rós is, most plainly put, creative. Although at face value, you could call it post-rock, there’s so much more to this band. From beautiful moments that make you feel like you’re watching a full orchestra to more chaotic moments where all you can compare the music to is noise, this band is all over the place creating a sound that is truly beyond dynamic. It doesn’t matter if they are playing an explosive section of their pieces or one of the more ethereal and ambient tracks, there’s an undeniable sense of adventure and passion that comes with every note from each of the four members.
Although I knew what I was getting into musically, I don’t think I understood the amount of talent and passion I would see on stage. I found myself completely enamored by each of the four men on stage. Although my eyes were mostly blued on frontman Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson just due to him being in the center and his way of playing his guitar with a bow (yeah, they’re that band), there were many moments where I had a hard time deciding which member to really focus in on. That decision was made for me during the few tracks that which all of the members converged on one side of the stage to perform a few tracks. Not only did this make it easier for me to watch everything happening on stage, but it also showed off the true musicianship of all of the members of this band as they seamlessly switched between instruments throughout the set.
Although it was hard to distinguish different tracks from this band as they were bridged together by beautiful ambiance and I’m just straight up unfamiliar with their tracks, the band powered through ten songs before taking a brief intermission and returning to close with another ten. Each song had me and the rest of the audience completely captivated both by what was being played and the amazing yet somehow understated light show. Sure, the lights were epic but it just felt so plain for the music that the band was playing. At the same time, it fit so well. It was as if the lights and the images playing on the screens behind the band were there just to give you something to drift off into as the band created the beautiful soundscapes that they are notorious for.
The surprise over me being at this show was warranted. As I sat there, although I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty and power, I realized that the music of Sigur Rós is just not my bread and butter and probably not something I would listen to on a daily basis but their live show gave me a sense of life and hope. Sure, I may not be rushing to buy their discography and jam it all day but i would absolutely go and experience their show again in a heartbeat.