Sigur Růs
Frank Reber
contributor
April 24, 2006
Sigur Růs on Amazon:
Takk... Takk...
September 13, 2005
Geffen Records
√Āg√¶tis Byrjun √Āg√¶tis Byrjun
May 22, 2001
Play It Again Sam Us
( ) ( )
October 29, 2002
Mca
Von Von
October 26, 2004
Smekkleysa
Saeglopur Saeglopur
July 11, 2006
EMI Int'l
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(Photo: RMR/Jack Shepler)

I never thought that I would have the opportunity to see such a big act as Sigur Růs in small and intimate atmosphere. The Murat Theater is similar to a small opera hall adorned with domed ceilings and stadium style seating. I showed up an hour early in an attempt to find a good parking place and to assure that I would not miss anything. Although I'd never seen Sigur Růs live (either on video or in the flesh) I did own all of their albums with the exception of Takk..., which they were currently touring for. I went in with no expectations and no ideas as to what I was about to witness. I was a huge fan of their music and had read a great deal about them on the internet. Their music is surreal and beautiful. It's a rare beauty that makes you want to cry but not because you are sad. It's almost minimalistic and sensual but with a dynamic of empowerment that envelopes your entire being (mind, body, and soul) into a single entity.

I was fortunate to have middle balcony seats that provided me a more spectacular view. As I sat down I listened to soothing noises that sounded as if a toy jack-in-the-box was being filtered with a series of delay and reverb effects. I could see everything and everyone, which was a good and bad thing. There was a small collective of high-school-esque girls that had taken up a position behind me. I had to sit through their dull conversations of what boys they thought were cute and whether or not certain clothing styles were hot for about fifteen minutes. Thankfully, the lights began to dim and everyone stirred in their seats and shut their mouths. My thoughts of annoyance and rage subsided as Anima took the stage. Anima consists of four very talented women that comprise Sigur Růs's strings section. Their abilities to play multiple instruments were amazing. These four women created a symphony of sounds using loop stations and laptops to record and playback various instruments ranging from wine glasses, a musical saw, xylophones, guitars, toy pianos, and violins. They created colorful songs that sounded like well orchestrated nusery rhymes performed by classical musicians in a concert hall. I had never before seen anyone play wine-glasses in live time. I was impressed by their versatility and innovation. Such big sounds did not seem like they would come from these young women. They were very adept.

As Anima finished their set a milky-white semi-transparent curtain dropped in front of the stage and the stage technicians began their work. Tables and instruments were wheeled both off-stage and on. I was unsure as to why they curtain was brought down. What were they hiding? After minutes and minutes of waiting I realized what was going on. They were creating a 3-d visual dynamic. The dual curtains (one behind them and one in front of them) in combination with various lights on moving tracks created a light show that I had not been exposed to before. By moving the lights they could make the band members appear really far away or 20 feet tall. They could also showcase whatever member they chose without them having to move. It was brilliant.

The music was phenomenal. A collection of tracks from ( ) and Takk... and a few other albums. Their set did include track 8 from ( ) which happens to be one of my favorite Sigur Růs pieces, so I was sold. The music was accented by random backdrop videos consisting of static mixed with images of people running through a field. There were also pictures of satellites and other images that looked odd when projected on such an enormous screen (did I mention that the screen was HUGE?). I've never seen so many showgoers mesmorized by what they were seeing. The band barely spoke a word (mainly because most of them don't speak english) and the majority of their songs are in either Icelandish or some other made up language that Yanci created ('Hopelandish'). There was a communication taking place that went beyond mere words. Their music communicated enough. This show managed to take the number one spot on my 'best shows I've ever seen' list. If you're looking for a barage of words to paint pictures in a way that makes you feel like you were there just by reading this then I fear that you'll be greatly dissappointed. You see, this is not just a show that can be described... this was a religious experience in terms of music. There are things that words cannot describe. There are feeling and instances beyond what can be explained. This was one of them.

[RMR]