What words can appropriately describe Sigur Rós’ set at The Fox Theatre on May 23rd in Atlanta but simply: MAGNETIC.
This was the first time I’ve personally ever gotten to see Sigur Rós live. I’ve always heard how it was an experience that you must simply just be there to see yourself. The Fox Theatre in Midtown Atlanta offered up an exquisite and slightly more intimate feel than a lot Sigur Rós shows these days, a perfect place for the band to break me into their live act.
Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band from Reykjavík who first got their start back in 1994. Over that time, the band has released 7 studio albums including the most recent, 2013’s Kveikur, becoming an international sensation over those years. The band has gone through a few lineup changes, and upon release of Kveikur, Sigur Rós became it’s current three-piece lineup of Jónsi on vocals and bowed guitar, Georg “Goggi” Hólm on bass, and Orri Páll Dýrason on drums.
Having never seen other, bigger versions of Sigur Rós, I can’t offer up a comparison to when the band has played with 4 or more members, a brass band, or orchestral arrangements. The three piece lineup that night at the Fox was all the band needed to completely fill every inch of the room with sounds bouncing from wall to wall. The first thing you noticed in their early set was Jónsi’s breathtaking falsetto. It’s inspiring and magic all in and of itself. Add to that his amazing reverb filled bowed guitar that he played passionately with each stroke, and the sound became striking.
And that’s the thing with Sigur Rós, whether singing in Icelandic, or Vonlenska (Hopelandic), a non literal language of unintelligible lyrics, or even English, it didn’t matter if anyone in the audience could actually understand these lyrics. What you could understand is the complete scope and emotion of the songs being played on stage. The booming bass, the hard hitting drums, howling guitar, and Jónsi’s out of this world vocals lent an undeniable feeling to each song that you could almost touch as the band played along. The music itself was so loud and daunting, dark and expansive, yet so gorgeous at the same time. I’ve never seen the Fox so quite as the crowd was that night. If it weren’t for the loud music ripping through the rafters, then you could probably hear a pin drop within the crowd. And that’s just a testament to how mesmerizing the band is. This doesn’t even factor in the inter galactic light displays and visuals surrounding the band throughout their two acts that only added to flare and fervor of the night.
Sigur Rós was stunning at the Fox. The band seduced the audience into a hypnotic spell that captivated Atlanta from start to finish, with only a small break in between the two acts to allow the audience to catch it’s breathe. The emotions ran deep that night, driving a journey throughout the evening that included anger, sadness, and darkness, but most importantly Sigur Rós left a lasting feeling of inspiration and euphoria.
Check out Mike Gerry‘s photo gallery from Sigur Rós at Fox Theater below: