Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeBack in Wisconsin on the hind leg of their U.S. tour, Sigur Ros' appearance at the Riverside Theatre yielded an almost entirely different performance from the Madison stop earlier in the tour, and with nothing lost in between, the band from Iceland remains a marvel.
Still making exceptional use of subtle but striking lighting effects, the sounds and images took on a life of their own that can only be produced and experienced in concert. As layers of sound began expanding behind a curtain still drawn and backlit, shadows and sounds became a window into the avant-garde with the ornate walls of the theatre framing the view. When the musicians behind the curtain were exposed, other-worldly falsettos and mood-saturated instrumentation emerged from the band as they cycled through multi-instrumental talent. In a setlist dominated by songs from the band's latest release Takk, the new songs, which are comparably more direct and lighter-hearted at times, mixed well with older material in creating a dramatic set.
Standouts included the run of Gong and Andvari with the strings of opener Amina fueling a mass of sound, the stunning silence in "Vidrar vel til loftarasa" where no one in the audience made a peep (cheers Milwaukee), and the incredibly spaced phrasings of "Heysatan" with the band gathered round frontman Jonsi Birgission on harmonium and lit by sound-activated lights flickering like candles. Pulling from ( ), the encore slowly built toward the barrage of the senses found in "Popplagid." As the curtain dropped, with lights flashing from both sides and video images interspersed, the band swelled to the most harrowing heights of the evening and left the crowd slowly floating back down as they walked out after the show.
Sigur Ros setlist 05/10/06: Takk
Vidrar vel til loftarasa
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