Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Organic Techno

Last night, Dan and I got to see Jónsi live at the Pageant. Without the costumes and makeup, you might recognize him as the lead singer of Iceland's most popular band, Sigur Rós. I've been enjoying their music for more than 10 years but have never seen them live. Last night, my dreams came true as I sat in front of who I think is today's most talented musician.

I'm no Raul Kemp, but I do want to attempt to share my experience with anyone who cares. Standing before an eager crowd, Jónsi began the show with an acoustic version of the already slow and steady Stars Still in Water. Despite wearing a colorful jacket with fringe hanging from the sleeves, you'd think he was a choir boy by the way he sang. Mariah Carey's got nothing on this man who can reach any note and the ones beyond. Percussionist Thorvaldur Thor Thorvaldsson known as "doddi" was flawless, synchronizing the beats of every heart with his steady drumming during Hengilás and leading into Kolniður. Suddenly, the show erupted triumphantly into what I can only describe as organic techno. You wouldn't believe it, but every sound came from real people playing real instruments. Lights pulsed as band members pounded on drums and piano and xylophone keys during Tornado. The musicians were perfectly in sync as they performed the more popular Go Do and Boy Lilikoi. The audience was left blissful and yet hungry for more as the band left the stage after playing for an hour.

The cheering didn't stop until the stage was filled with band members again. Jónsi came out, this time with a feathered headdress complimenting his jacket. It was pure musical explosion during Sticks and Stones, and then we were left with Jonsi, alone on the floor of the stage while digitally manipulating his voice at the end of Grow Till Tall.

Each song was accompanied by mostly black and white animation of nature scenes, including marching ants and a wolf chasing a doe with the occasional pop of color via humming birds. Visually and musically, it was the most original thing I've seen since I saw Radio Head back in 2001. Last night's show was absolutely amazing and I am SO glad we decided to go last minute. Best date night ever!


  1. raul kemp couldn't have said it better himself. great review. i felt like i was there. sounded like a great show.

  2. oh man. I'm so so so unbelievable jealous. I heard he was coming but didn't know it was so soon. LOVE him/them.