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I saw Sigur Ros the other night at Festival Hall here in cold, rainy Melbourne.

I hate Festival Hall. I really do. They just need to tear it down. If you have a seat other than in the balcony (which I had thankfully) then I really feel sorry for you. And if you are short like me, then forget the floor. But it usually has good sound. Anyway, back to Sigur Ros…

The first time they toured was just before Takk came out. That was supremely frustrating. I was soooo hyped for that, that I came away a little disappointed. I love Sigur Ros but it wasn’t the earth-shattering show I was expecting. It was mainly due to the fact they played a lot of Takk songs when I didn’t know the album and they hadn’t toured their earlier masterpieces, especially Agaetis Bryjun. And something else was missing as well. But they had the amazing Amiina girls (another reason I really want to go to Iceland) so it was pretty cool if a touch underwhelming.

So we come to this visit. They must dig us here, because they toured on Takk twice, and visited us for both an acoustic Heima set and the Merce Cunningham dance thing. But this was my next encounter with them since that first show. And you know what… my feelings were pretty much the same.

First of all, I was a little disappointed to see the Amiina girls didn’t make the trip. I know it is a whirlwind trip, but I had my fingers crossed, especially since they are playing with them elsewhere. But I was excited nonetheless, cause the latest album is on high rotation at the moment.

So out wander the lads on quite a minimalist stage… basic instruments and some basic lighting and that was it. But as soon as they started with Svefn-G-Englar I was a happy camper. It sounded absolutely exquisite. Then came Glosoli and I thought this could be the greatest gig ever. But… something just didn’t sound right. There was some huge bass problems at the back… at one point it was always sound like something (a particular bass note I think) just kept disappearing. Plus the “loud” part just didn’t sound that big.

And that problem continued for me throughout the set. The “big” parts just didn’t sound that “big”. Was it the mix? Was it the lack of Amiina? Not sure. Horns did come out for much of the set which was nice, and the new songs translated live really well (and were some of the highlights). But something was missing. Maybe it was the crowd? They seemed very reserved. Maybe too much hushed reverence?

So a lot of the set was good but not awesome. However the closing tracks were. The run home of Gobbledigook, Popplagid, and All Alright was gorgeous. So I left on my feet applauding with everyone else. 50% gold, 50% OK is not a bad ratio. Maybe I just expect pure bliss? Is that unfair?

… muttler

photo by: auðunn níelsson, taken from the sigur ros message board

(hope it is OK to use it)

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2 Comments

  1. grrr, bagging festival hall….

    *Shakes fist*

  2. you know it sucks!


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