by Josh Bis
on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 8:51 AM
Sigur Ros brought their own personal holodeck to Seattle last night to play to a sold-out-in-minutes crowd. Jonsi claimed that it was nice to be playing inside for the first time in four years, and the crowd seemed to agree. The flanking screens mostly played abstract images of vaguely aquatic themes, with the stray creepy doll mask, tiny silhouettes floating away to heaven, or drowning woman, or sparkling Blue Valentine style fireworks interspersed between spy cam footage of various bandmembers. While my notes include scratches along the lines of "that one that sounds like a submarine following a beacon to an undersea alien colony," "a sailboat being untied from the docks and finally catching a spring breeze," "sparkly elves having a picnic on the Hindenberg," or "the ones from () where they finally let the drummer put away the metallic brushes and go wild," the brilliant transcription skills of of some kind soul at setlist.fm confirms my vague sense that the show included a broad survey of their albums, with most of the bounceable tracks from Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust omitted, perhaps because they're not quite as good of a fit with the more contemplative vibe of nautical slow-burner Valtari.
I've seen the band perform many times and they still excel at making angelic post-rock mewls, warbles, and howls, and one great [post]-rock and roll pauses seem deeply compelling and audience members were hilariously quick to be the first to applaud at recognition of favorite tracks. Despite the meditative vibe, both the main set and encore built to pretty solid, loud, rock crescendos with aggressive drumming, Jonsi employing the old "attack the guitar strings with a bow (and/or sing directly into them", and the expanded lineup building the finales into pizzicato violins chasing trombones and bass lines (figuratively) into a manic fugue. Overall, I had only two minor complaints: (1) they didn't employ all of their A/V equipment to project the Jaguar Shark scene from the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou along with a live rendition of "Staralfur" and (2) that they didn't set up seats. As much as I liked swaying along in a giant penguin huddle, I'm not sure that regular jostling is really the best look for a contemplative vision quest.
Did you make it? Did they play your favorite hit? A few more photos after the jump.
Jonsi, Sigur Ros
One of many in the back row string, chorus, brass section