Last night, I saw Sigur Rós at the Schnitz. They were tight and put in a pretty darn good show. The very first thing that I noticed is the audience. Kim and I felt like the old-timers, surrounded by a vast sea of twenty-somethings. I probably should have figured the overlap between hipsters and Sigur Rós fans, but it caught me by surprise. The second thing I noticed was the opening band, Aniima. They played some GREAT music, some complex stuff played incredibly well. Also, they were overly saccharine sweet in a little-foreign-girl sort of way — four little Bjorks on stage, running around, playing “instruments” and saying “tank — oh, scuseme — tank you for coming, we are Aniima.” Never before have I seen so few people play so many instruments over the duration of individual songs. They would start on some slow and mellow instruments, then as the song built up, they would switch to different ones, and so on. Eventually, the song would reach a crescendo and then they would wind it back down, switching back instruments in reverse order. That was the first time that I have seen someone, live, playing a saw. That was also the first time I have seen anyone play a little mechanical foot-pump organ whatsit. Most of their bass percussion was computerized, and the PowerBook providing it was sitting there, center-stage. You could even see the green glow of the AC adapter telling you that it was fully charged. Between songs, they would poke at it for a minute, I guess opening files and queueing things, and then it would start clicking a metronome of drums. It occurred to me that they were providing sound for this entire gigantic theater from… a headphone jack… on consumer hardware running a consumer operating system.
Eventually Sigur Rós came on and put on a great show, with otherworldly music and crazy video projections. For many of the songs, the main guy played his electric guitar with a bow (the string of which broke and hung down in shredded pieces toward the end of the night.) During one song, the bass guitar player provided a really good background by successfully playing the guitar with a drumstick. They brought out Aniima for the strings–cellos and violins and such — and for a song or two, they used the same little foot-pump organ-thing.
I do have to admit that while they played well and put on a good show, it was mostly stuff from the latest album and when it comes to their music (and the music of several other bands of differing styles but which is primarily instrumental songs with abstract names, such as the work of Front Line Assembly), I have a few favorites and the rest sort of blends together, in my mind at least. Most of my Sigur Rós favorites are from previous albums, which ended up not being played, so a lot of the concert's music was pretty much a blur. A good blur, but a blur nonetheless.
In unrelated news: so, how 'bout that Lost episode? How 'bout the updated website and phone number?