Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sigur Ros in Bristol

My birthday treat this year, coinciding with the disastrous EU referendum, was a trip to Bristol to catch a pre-Glastonbury appearance from long-time favourites Sigur Ros. The venue was the Canon’s Marsh Amphitheatre, an outdoor space in the lively harbour-side area of the city (fairly central, but inevitably I managed to get lost along the way). Mercifully, the rain stayed away.

In support was James Canty, a Liverpool-based singer-songwriter of a darkly romantic bent, whose set veered from folky acoustic guitar balladry to ranting electro wig-outs. There were some technical issues, but he displayed great charm, and was fairly well-received by the impatient crowd.

The headliners came on just after 9pm, and kicked off in ambient mode with “Óveður”, the song which recently sound-tracked their Slow TV Youtube film of a road-trip around their native Iceland; then came the magic moment when they played my absolute favourite song, the unnaturally lovely “Starálfur” – deeply moving. The early part of the set focussed on more familiar material, like “Sæglópur” and “Vaka” (although not their biggest hit, “Hoppipolla”), before settling into a Mogwai-esque “quiet-loud” groove – alongside the beauty (at one point, the seagulls seemed to start joining in, to the amusement of my fellow concert-goers) started there was a surprising amount of rocking out, accompanied by a stunning light-show. With only three band-members on stage, much of the music was inevitably on tape (or its electronic equivalent); but singer Jonsi’s ethereal, choirboy vocals still managed to connect; one could even forgive the fact that he spent most of the time playing his guitar with a violin-bow. They were on-stage for just under ninety minutes, including encores, but I don’t think I could have coped, emotionally, with much more. A remarkable band. 

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