Sigur Ros at Verizon Theatre, 4/8/13: Review and Photos
It's nothing short of astonishing that an ambient Icelandic band who don't sing in English or write songs in a verse-chorus structure are filling arenas across the US. Some of the next acts to play this same arena are Shinedown, The Lumineers, Styx and the Killers. Sigur Ros are a band that exist only in shadows, walls of feedback and high-pitched, stretched-out vowel sounds. There has never been another Sigur Ros, and there will never be another Sigur Ros.
It's like they're not even playing the same instruments. They are playing the same instruments -- there's a classic structure of guitar, keys, bass, and piano -- but the noise they're making, the sheer forceful goddamn sound that pours out of that stage into every tiny nook of the venue is something entirely different. It's ethereal, it's barely even of this world, and it beguiles you to just stop whatever you're thinking and listen and blot out every single other part of your brain until all you can see is a bright white light and all you can hear is an avalanche over a pounding drumbeat.
It starts with a curtain across the front of the stage, Jonsi writ large in shadows, bent over, playing his guitar with a bow, until during the first crescendo, the first warm, beautiful, intense crescendo, the curtain falls, the lights come up and really they're just average-sized humans, just humans holding the instruments you might see anywhere else. But there's this sound, and you can't pick out any of the instruments in the mix, you can't see who's doing what, and you can't understand where it's coming from. The whole concert is quiet, beautiful, fragile noises building into crescendos that could move buildings, crescendos that could shatter glass. You sit there transfixed throughout, unable to move, totally forgetting that you're at a concert, that there are other people, that anything's happening apart from the reverberations you're feeling in your ears.
The music is anything you want it to be. It's so other-worldly, so entirely uncategorizable, that it could be a warm summer's day, it could be someone adrift on an iceberg in a snowstorm, it could be the soundtrack to a night with your friends or a lonely day spent indoors in the rain. It could be heartbreak, it could be love, it could be anything at all. What it absolutely is, what Sigur Ros categorically do at a concert, is stir the senses, and send you entirely to another place.