Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sigur Rós

Capitol Hill Is Empty
The Paramount, Seattle, WA

Tonight, all of Capitol Hill walked down the hill to the Paramount Theatre to be swept away by Icelandic wunderkinds Sigur Rós. It’s interesting to walk into a show where people talk about how they expect to feel vs. what they expect to see or hear. Stories of men openly weeping and overwhelmed girls fleeing from the show are whispered between friends as the room fills up.

This is one narrow and well-dressed demographic. Boys in Sevens flirt with Vain hair-do’d girls, and when they talk about going to Vita tomorrow, you know exactly which Vita they’re referring to. It’s a big, happy hipster family.

Opening the show are four fairy-like girls called Amina who plink and bow on a variety of instruments to create lovely ambient plinky-bowey music. At one point they have to stall for an equipment issue, and when one gal speaks to the audience you can see why they don’t use words in their music as the talking is not so much their forte. My friends tell me that the Amina set is the exact polar opposite of the drummer porn show they saw last night.

When Sigur Rós comes on, the audience is mostly riveted. A couple of guys behind us get shushed repeatedly for talking, even when the band isn’t on the stage. And a girl directly in front of me keeps hanging off her boyfriend, petting his hair, gazing into his eyes, etc. Sister, this is NOT the show to attend if you want attention from your guy. You wouldn’t want him pawing you during a Sleater-Kinney show, would you? Boyfriend looks directly at her maybe once during the entire show.

Sigur Rós plays vast, sweeping music and sings in a made-up language they call Hoplandic. The effect on the listener is interesting: you supply the story they sing, you supply the background, then you react to your own creation. The band is the facilitator, and they can carry you from joy to anguish in the space of one song. At one point they just stop playing for about 30 seconds, and I’ve never heard this many people be so quiet for so long. It is gorgeous and bonding.

One guy in my group DOES cry. The girl in front of me feels jilted by her boyfriend. Another friend has a gal he barely knows hang on to him and shiver for the entire show, and he has to run to the lobby before the last song which is good because his head would probably have exploded at that point. It is an incredible show where for once we provide all the conflict and joy and drama, and we react just like we saw other people create it for us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:16 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

I just wanted to state that this has been my experience to a tea. Your words put the experience of Sigur Ros in the most comparable discription of anything I have read so far. Great band....each show is an experience shared.

8:07 AM  

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