Tuesday 23 January 2018

Review: Sigur Rós - a magical evening of musical bliss

Sigur Rós, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin

Sigur Ros perform at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin with a stunning rainbow backdrop. Photo: Sigur Ros / Instagram
Sigur Ros perform at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin with a stunning rainbow backdrop. Photo: Sigur Ros / Instagram
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

As Iceland prepare for their Euros showdown with a Brexiting England, the biggest Icelandic musical export since Björk play their biggest Irish headline show to date. 

Sigur Rós have authored seven hugely acclaimed and successful albums since 1997 and sound tracked countless documentaries and dramas whenever a musical director requires some atmospheric and ethereal music that incorporates classical, minimal and post-rock sensibilities.

Their fan base has swelled from an Irish debut in the Temple Bar Music Centre in 2000 to the great outdoors and this midsummer night's dream gig in Kilmainham. 

They perform an intro from the back of the stage, briefly suggesting this could be some kind of aloof soundsystem show, but such fears prove to be completely unfounded when frontman Jónsi Birgisson and company take to the front of the stage and perform a pristine twelve-song set. 

Jónsi Birgisson is noted for playing his guitar with a bow and singing in a unique falsetto. He does both beautifully. During Festival, he holds a note for a staggeringly long period of time, prompting rapt applause. 

Sigur Rós have that rare gift of being able to deliver intimate and warm shows in big open spaces. They weave a magical web of sound incorporating keyboards, toy pianos, glockenspiel and guitars. 

The only disappointing thing is completely beyond the band's control. Towards the end of their set, the light show is absolutely dazzling, and is obviously designed to be performed and executed in total darkness.  For this very reason, when they recently performed at the prestigious Primavera festival in Barcelona, they went on at midnight.

Obviously, this is impossible to do on a Sunday night in Dublin, but it would be great to be able to enjoy a show exactly how it was meant to be delivered. 

#SRdublin

A photo posted by sigur rós (@sigurros) on

This gripe aside, Sigur Rós offer a magical evening of musical bliss that won't be forgotten in a hurry by anyone in attendance. Long may their Icelandic genius enchant and entertain us.

kveikur #SRdublin

A photo posted by sigur rós (@sigurros) on

takk #SRdublin

A photo posted by sigur rós (@sigurros) on

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