Music review: Sigur Ros, Brixton Academy, London

5.00

 

As their set begins at Brixton’s theatrical O2 Academy, it is little wonder that the post-rock of Sigur Ros has found its way on to numerous movie soundtracks and the small screen.

Silhouetted by an iridescent white silk-screen of their own, shrouding the stage, the band’s aesthetic is as mesmerizing as their soundscapes, which fall like light rain on the still and silent crowd.

New track Yfirbord is an acoustic shimmer which sees Jonsí Birgisson’s ethereal vocals and ambient guitar-bowing complemented by images of nature and flesh projected in white light onto the gauze. The effect, as always with Sigur Ros, is epic.

As the curtains fall for Vaka (Untitled #1), nigh on a dozen musicians are revealed, with a brass and string section adding extra majesty to the efforts of the Icelandic trio (now minus keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson, who left the band in January after 15 years).

The oceanic themes of Sæglópur and Fljótavík are explored with persistent hissing cymbals and deep-blue imagery respectively, bringing an icy chill to the sense of awe in the engrossed the crowd - surely one of the quietest to have filled the Academy in recent memory.

This being their first UK tour in five years, the set is a retrospective of the band’s career, with the atmospherics of Varúð (‘Caution’) being one of the few tracks offered from last year’s underwhelming album Valtari. But underwhelming Varúð is not.

A cheer greets the band’s most commercially successful song, Hoppipolla, though, in a telling sign of the devotion of those in the crowd, it is not the loudest of the evening.

The set is a masterclass and each track is performed with a flawlessness as haunting as the music itself. Sigur Ros have always been at pains to present their vision of musical perfection, and this evening is no different – though they save a twist in the tale for last, with new track Kveikur.

A far rockier offering that evokes the ghost of Muse’s past (when they were actually worth listening to), it marks a distinct and exciting change of direction for a band that has for so many years stuck – however impressive it may be – to a formula.

“2013 promises to be an interesting year in the Sigur Rós universe” the band promised in a post on their website ahead of the European tour, encouraging fans to come to their live shows. They are certainly are delivering on that vow.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea