in which our hero get his head exploded for a second time

sigur ros. it must be embarassing to open for these guys unless, of course, you're icelandic. over the last seven years the quintet has been opened, mainly, by two groups of icelandic musicians: first was amina, the irresistable group of women that included one who was rather resourceful with a saw and others that could turn zippo lighters and door latches into beautiful little trinkets of melody. they warmed up the audience with curious rhythms and counterrhythms punctuated by adorable clinks and plunks from bells, keyboards and violins. it was as if you had opened up a child's jewlery box and instead of finding a spinning ballerina inside you discovered a world of colours and light. they warmed up the audience the first time i saw sigur ros in 2006 at the arlene schnitzer in portland.

tonight was a little bit of a different story. the alexandra palace is a venue perfectly suited for sigur ros and any acts you might think proper enough to open for them. this is evidenced in the very title of the establishment (read: palace) and tonight was almost no exception. let's start with the band's name: "for a quiet reflection" or "for a moment's consideration" or something along those lines. okay, moving on. how about the band's image: four skinny white guys bent over standard instruments, somehow shrouding themselves in light. hmm, still not really seperating themselves from anything much here. well i guess that leaves the sound, hardly the most important aspect of a live show (sarcasm, etc.): oh, wait, they stole the pedal boards from one of austin's most prestigious musical groups. if you know me you know that explosions in the sky is and has been standard go-to material for me when i'm not quite sure how i'm feeling. it's always there and has acheived "comfort-music" status. so when these four guys started swinging over their guitars and jabbing their feet at pedals and delays and violin-effects and tube-screamers and overdriveXXX9000extreemes i began feeling a little nostalgic over material i hadn't listened to in a while. and, like most prog-rock/post-rock the 11 minute tracks begin getting lost in themselves. i always find it interesting that i know that there are songs i like by these bands but i can never remember the melodies and distinguish them from other tracks from even the same album until i hear it. and that's how this opener felt: like a nice road trip that is plesant enough, engaging and all, but when you get back home you can't remember where you visted.

sigur ros played for two hours. they ripped my chest open, removed every organ, polished them and carefully replaced each, bit by bit, rearranging here and there so as to make me a more efficiantly functioning human being. there was a giant waterfall, fans blowing fake snow and finally, in an orgasm of light, sound and gutwrenching kick drum from "Gobbledigook", confetti was blown out into the palace in the fashion one would expect from a ticket tape parade. it looked like we had just won the war all over again.

more to come. my internet time is up. too much time ranting on the opener and not on sigur ros.


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