Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sigur Rós @United Palace, Sept. 18th

(I've been way negligent in blogging...many apologies for the delay of this post!)

Nearly a year since the last time I went to United Palace, I met up with Shana for a gig by the much beloved Icelandic band, Sigur Rós. Now, not everyone digs their music; some deem it too artsy-fartsy, and their lyrics literally gibberish (or at least unintelligible by 99.99% of the audience). However, I am not one of those critics -- sometimes the words are not the most important part of a song. When I listen to Sigur Rós, it is for the emotion generated by the music, and whatever emotion is felt is determined by me. Because I am not going to go through the effort of interpreting their lyrics, oftentimes I associate certain Sigur Rós songs with what was happening in my life while I heard them for the first time, be it a heartbreak, a makeout session, what have you. And that feeling is most certainly subjective -- one person's moment of solitude or depression could be another's sense of relaxation.

Anyway, enough of that general analysis -- the gig itself was breathtaking to me. Shana and I were about ten rows from the stage, which allowed us to enjoy the music, acoustically-speaking, without much distortion. Though I've never sat up in the loge/balcony of the venue, I imagine the music must have soared up to that part of the theater quite nicely. This was the second time I caught the band, the last time being in September 2005 at the Beacon Theatre, but unlike that occasion where they were augmented in sound by their tour mates at the time, Amina, this concert featured Sigur Rós in its basic quartet version. Despite this stripped down iteration of the band, they managed to make a sound so grand at times, I felt as though we were staring at a nuclear explosion, especially in conjunction with the moody lighting, which was as much a part of the show as was the music.

Lead singer Jónsi's angelic voice rose above the mostly respectful crowd. Like I said, it really makes no difference if you understand the lyrics or not -- you'd have to be completely numb not to feel anything.

Here is the band performing "Sæglópur" from their last album,Takk...:


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