exactly 406 days later, i re-entered massey hall to delight in sigur ros again. if you’re reading this you already know what i think of them. if you want to know about the whole experience, read my review of last year’s concert. you’ll get the whole religious myth fed to you. the crowd was the same…lots of funk, lots of indie, lots of couples in power suits. seriously.

so, what was different, what was new to shock and amaze us? more than enough. there were actually only 2 or 3 songs last night that they didn’t play last year, and only one which i hadn’t heard before (certainly one of the best songs i’ve ever heard from them; the song sits on top of a bass riff that georg plays using a drumstick on his strings. unbeatably cool.), but they had a string section with them this time around which they used at the palais royale show last summer.

what made this show different was the mood of the band. looser, certainly; they had an opener (who was awful…he tried, but the execution just wasn’t there), jonsi twice broke a string, and there was some strange interruption before the last song where it sounded like they were asked to stop playing. massey hall management? still not sure. regardless, they then played their last song as they’d played all the others: roughly. well…as roughly as sigur ros’ music can be played. where last year’s show was almost orchestral, and the audience as well as the band seemed cautious and reverential, last night both knew what to expect, and that led to a sense of adventure in the band, especially jonsi. he was less connected to the audience last night, almost seeming to stand off with them. “svefn-g-englar” wasn’t the hymn that it was last year, but “daudalagid” flexed even harder (especially orri’s drumming).

the concert moved in the same way that () does, starting slowly and tentatively, setting up for the same 1-2 punch at the end, “dauðalagið” (death song) and then “popplagið” (pop song). it worked as a concept, a grand plan last night, whereas a year ago it worked by surprise and sheer bullying force, a mistake corrected by the principle of ‘might makes right’.

go see them in montreal, or new york, or boston. find them, see them somewhere. they wring emotion out of you ’til you could fit into the bass drum and find your heartbeat matching it. just make sure you go with the right person. i was lucky enough to last night. maybe that’s why it was so much better this time.

the set list:

  1. vaka
  2. fyrsta
  3. samskeyti
  4. ny batter
  5. njosnavelin
  6. svefn g englar
  7. salka
  8. hafsol
  9. intro
  10. daudalagid
  11. pop song

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