Monday, April 15, 2013

Sigur Rós soars in Phoenix

Bassist Georg Hólm and singer-guitarist Jónsi. Photo: Kim Kinsler
Who: Sigur Rós
Where: Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, AZ
When: Friday, April 12, 2013

I don't think that in this age of fragmented music - where styles range from Americana to Zydeco and everything in between - it's truly possible to single out any artist as the best in the world in 2013. But I can certainly proclaim that no single act is better than Sigur Rós.

On the eve of the Icelandic band's performance at the first weekend of the highly anticipated Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Sigur Rós performed a stunning concert at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. And what a concert it was.

Jónsi  led Sigur Rós during a magical night on April 12.
The trio of original members has been joined on the 2013 tour by a group of eight other musicians who are able to fully bring the Reykjavik-spawned troupe's lush and symphonic sound to its full glory in the live setting. Such was the case for close to two hours in Phoenix, where Jónsi used his glorious and far-reaching falsetto tenor vocals and distinctive style of playing his bowed guitar against a sonic backdrop of swirling sea of strings and horns, thundering drums, keyboards, driving bass and other instruments to create a sound that masterfully blended neo classical and experimental rock together in something otherworldly and spiritual in its power and pure beauty.

While there were some dimwits in the audience (you know the rude types, where they scream for no reason during quiet or particularly potent moments in a show), the concert itself was mesmerizing. I'll have more to say about the show in Phoenix as well as the forthcoming appearance by the band after they perform in Indio on Saturday night, April 20 at the second weekend of Coachella 2013. I'm still amazed that at a show where only a handful of words were ever spoken and little (or no) lyrics were sung in English, the audience was consistently moved by the emotive sounds of the 11-member ensemble for its entire length.

Sigur Rós (whose lineup also includes long-time core members Orri Páll Dýrason on drums and Georg Hólm on bass guitar) performed a mix of classic and new material. Several songs set to be included on the group's forthcoming album Kveikur (due on June 18, 2013) were also performed. You can see a photograph of the set list taken at the concert on the left.

Despite the fact that original member Kjartan Sveinsson has left the band, there is no doubt that Sigur Rós' future remains strong.

I can't wait to see the band perform again at Coachella in Indio late next Saturday night (April 20th). I won't be at all surprised to see if magic strikes again.

Sigur Rós celebrates at the end of a memorable concert.


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