The slow-burning, epic grandeur of Sigur Rós was on full display in Berkeley last Saturday night as the Icelandic group made its Bay Area fans feel a massive range of emotions, from meditative moments to outright joyousness. No matter what the decibel level was coming from the stage, this audience absorbed each song in a cerebral way, with solemn respect.
Now a trio, Sigur Rós have been delivering goosebumps for over two decades — and it’s a delight to hear Jónsi’s voice-as-an-instrument this clear, this powerful and as confident as ever. It would be a wonderful treat to check in on this outfit every 5-10 years going forward and realize they are still going strong.
The Berkeley show pulled a fairly even amount of favorites, as the Sigur Rós live spectacle has become a two-set event with no opener since last year. The first set felt like a proper warm-up, grounding us in the Greek Theatre’s immaculate sound. But the second set brought heavenly satisfaction and micro-concussion blasts of beauty from such songs as “Starálfur”, “Festival” and my personal favorite, the first track off of their (Untitled) album known as “Vaka”.
This tour has been building up to Sigur Rós’ special performances this week in Los Angeles, where they’ll perform alongside the LA Philharmonic for the first set with arrangements by Dan Deacon, Anna Meredith, Own Pallett and many more. This Friday (April 14th), you can teleport yourself to the show with Pitchfork’s live stream of this momentous event. It’s the first time the band has performed with an orchestra in 15 years, so don’t miss it!