Review: Sigur Ros at the Masonic on June 2

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

A Sigur Rós performance is not easy to describe. First of all, the songs do not matter as much as the occurrence of them. A bootleg wouldn't serve its purpose. Being there, hearing it, is all. It is more akin to 'something happening in the room' as opposed to a set of music.

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

This is not to say their albums aren't equally singular, because they are; Sigur Rós is one of the rare groups that does it both in the studio and on stage. The songs are already written, but they bring them alive as if once, and for all.

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

Each Sigur Rós set is more of a movement than a set, a patchwork of similar themes underscored by one of the Icelandic troupe's sustaining elements – muted, bowed guitar, sparse harmony and singer Jónsi's harrowing voice. No song veers very far from any other. A set, pieced together by songs from separate albums feels more like the movements of a symphony.

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

There were hiccups at the Masonic Theater – a blunder in the first set when Jónsi stared offstage while the wrong backing track played. The music stopped, the crowd laughed and wheezed a 'Bronx cheer.' There was also a good share of migraine-y head-grabbing as Jónsi struggled through track four of their 2002 release, ( ). He look distressed, at times.

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

It didn't matter. In fact, it made a bit of sense. Sigur Rós is not there to bring a sense of calm.

click to enlarge SIGUR RÓS IN DETROIT IN 2017. PHOTO BY TOMAS LAVERTY.
Sigur Rós in Detroit in 2017. Photo by Tomas Laverty.

It's hard to tell what Jónsi is thinking. Maybe he's not. Sigur Rós has a way of leaving a room not knowing what to think. This may be the point.




About The Author

Tomas Laverty

Tomas Laverty lives in Detroit and teaches English in Flint. His contributions to the Metro Times are the combination of his passions for music, language, and black-and-white film photography. He can be found on his back porch listening to the Tigers on an old radio, or at one of a handful of public houses in...
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