Elegant musical landscapes and seductive visual murals poured into the Hollywood Bowl, courtesy of Icelandic trio, Sigur Rós. Preceding the band was the International Space Orchestra, comprising space scientists from NASA Ames Research Center, Singularity University, International Space University and SETI Institute. Dressed in full ISO jumpsuits and badges, they performed a selection of Sigur Rós songs in combination with beautiful, cosmic visuals inspired by the film, The Life, the Sea, and the Space Viking. This shaped the tone of the evening and prepped the crowd for a night of musical ethereality.
After a brief intermission and a proper amount of abysmal darkness surrounding the stage, the waves of a glorious musical force began to flow towards the audience from the source we know as Sigur Rós. Frontman Jónsi Birgisson serenaded with his angelic vocal stylings while playing his electric guitar with signature cello bow in hand. Drummer Orri Páll Dýrason provided a powerful percussive foundation and Georg Hólm’s visceral bass lines were the necessary, complementary thread that tied the artistry together thus rocking the audience at their core. The Bowl’s enormous on-stage background screen and two large screen monitors—one on each side of the stage—were used effectively. They displayed hypnotic, trance-inducing visuals of stunning colors, glitching fractals, and mind-blowing body graph imagery. Songs performed in the first set included “Ekki Mukk,” “Samskeyti” and “Smaskifa.” Naturally, everyone in attendance soaked it up.
Intermission came at a surprise point in time because everyone wanted the show to continue with no stoppage necessary. The band took the stage once again minutes later and kicked off their second set with their newest composition, “Overdur.” The energy of the band seemed to increase with a setlist to match as the show progressed. To the fans’ delight, they performed “Staralfur,” which was featured in the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Another stand-out track was “Festival” of which had a memorable moment where the music seemed gentle and calm, yet as Jonsi struck his guitar violently at one point, he simultaneously commanded the wind to blow into the Hollywood Bowl. Truly an unforgettable moment.
The absence of their usual strings and brass sections did not affect the performance as the trio displayed incredible musicianship and stage presence. Combined with amazing visuals, this Icelandic trio delivered an incredible show that was fun and captivating to watch. Some artists take it to another level and transport concertgoers to a higher consciousness. To experience Sigur Rós live, in concert, is to venture into a spiritual odyssey. They will be performing a set of three shows at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra April 2017, which is not to be missed!
Text and photos by Gabriel Marin
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.