Tag Archives: new orleans

Sigur Rós at the Saenger Theatre on May 21st, 2017

I flew down to New Orleans to catch Sigur Rós this past weekend.  This particular gig was at the Saenger Theatre on Canal street.  A gorgeous old theatre, the perfect setting for both acts of the concert.

The concert is divided into two acts, the first act consists more of the back catalogue and is darker with more of a subtle use of the rigging and visuals.  Those birds and their geometric trails near the end are amazing.  The second act begins with what seems to be a holographic grainy projection of the band, but is the band behind grid like screen captioned in glowing yellow brackets, the screen lifts and eventually the band returns front stage.

SRNOLA

While there are no backing bands or musicians, the trio still bring an excitingly full gig.  The visual effects combined with the band’s high energy bring on just as intense if not more, Sigur rós experience.

Multiple projectors facing every which way with an LED lighting screen that moves during the show combined with amazing visual artwork and perfectly timed blasts of light all deliver one hell of an intense atmosphere to the already highly emotional music.

At some points you feel as if you’re completely immersed in light, and at other times there seems to be nothing more than a single beam shining down on Jónsi, and the transition is practically seamless.

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My first concert was in Denver in 2002.  The Ogden Theatre probably had seen better days and I was sitting in a rickety chair in the balcony.  I was chatting to the guy next to me beforehand and he seemed uninterested, stating that he was there to appease his girlfriend.  I told him that I loved the music and heard they were great live; neither of us had an idea what was in store.

As the trademark finale Popplagið began its epic build up satellite images rotating in crazy fashion, the climax finally burst punching the crowd with a large dose of sensory overload.  We all jumped to our feet in awe and the guy next to me burst out with “holy fuck, this is insane!” saying what everyone was thinking.

15 years later, as we all stand for that epic buildup with our hands in the air, the novice shock may be gone but it’s always new to someone and it pleases me to no end when I hear their own version of Holy fuck.  You can listen to a Sigur rós all you want, but you will never experience anything like seeing them live, so if you get the opportunity, do so.

 

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Sigur Rós in New Orleans

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Here we go Sigur Rós in New Orleans.  For me, gig number 3 of this tour, gig number 123 for the band,  This tour has really been exciting for me, having been to every tour they’ve done stateside since 2002, and catching them at Airwaves last year, the new catalog of songs mixed with the occasional old track really have brought back that old time excitement.

georg

Many factors made me question how the concert was going to turn out.  It had been raining buckets earlier in the day, and with temps in the upper 80’s the afternoon felt like a sauna.  Also, we were two days away from Tropical Storm Karen’s appearance so the wind and weather were unpredictable.  But as the evening rolled around the weather mellowed out and it turned out to be a fantastic night for an outdoor gig, with only a sprinkle of moisture towards the end.

The band came out, and with a lot of action from the fog machines, began the show.  Even with a smaller than usual backdrop, and playing to a concrete jungle surrounded by sports paraphernalia, the band squashed any concern one may have had, and did I mention they did it with fog?

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Julianna Barwick opened the concert, which sadly due to pre-concert logistics I missed.  But after a brief wait Jónsi, Georg, Orri, Kjartan(Holm), óbó and the Okkr Ensemble took the stage.  Even with the standard set list, every Sigur Rós show is slightly different.  They feed off the crowd, and it’s rare to find someone who isn’t captivated by some part of the concert.

I was glad to hear Rafstramur added into the mix and as is typical with Sigur Rós tracks, the live version breathed it’s own fire and was it’s own beast.  Festival is a track everyone should experience more than once.  The first time you hear it you will feel entranced and will focus all your attention forward as it comes to it’s climatic point.  The second or third time, you get to watch others experience it for their first.  It truly is an incredible song to experience live.

The set list was:

Yfirborð  Ξ Brennisteinn Ξ Vaka Ξ Glósóli Ξ Hrafntinna Ξ Stormur Ξ Saeglopur

orri

varuð Ξ Hoppí + Með Blóð Ξ Rafstraumur Ξ Kveikur Ξ Festival Ξ Popplagið

As if there isn’t enough intensity from the music alone, the band’s visual team never fail.  Even with a smaller screen in New Orleans, the vivid cinematography combined with intricate interactions to the stage lights and  band themselves really help deliver an all encompassing experience.  It’s only fitting that the team recently won the Knights of Illumination award for best lighting and video.  Sarah Hopper and Damian Hale have created backdrops of strangers on a mountain signalling to the lights surrounding the band, nuclear missile explosions, strobing lighthouses, serene oceanic scenes, and close-ups of the band members themselves jamming away, all mixing with Bruno Poet’s lighting show.  The imagery is never overpowering, but synced perfectly with the music enhancing the experience, and these guys truly deserve that award.

Another great tour, and they continue to prove they are a band everyone should, needs to see once in their lives.  I highly suggest seeing them this tour as you never know when they’ll be back.  All photos on this page were taken by me, if you’d like to see others, they are located on my Flickr Account, here for the New Orleans gig, and Here for the Boston/New York concert.