Concert Review: Sigur Ros at Stage AE (Pittsburgh)
We walked up the sidewalk to the AE stage in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania filled with excitement and anticipation. We are heavy Sigur Ros listeners and this was just the ticket, a live show with them headlining.
In the gates we went, past security, alcohol stands and merch, to the main arena. Concrete, interestingly, and sectioned off into closer to the stage, and further back, yet slightly more elevated.
The opening act was a duo, a female singer and keyboardist accompanied by a guitarist playing through heavy effects. Her vocals were looped and layered, with heavy use of delay and reverb, creating an eerie mystical sound, guitar ran through effects to sound synth-like and coming out backwards.
Sigur Ros took the stage to much anticipation. At first Jonsi looked pained, tired, and haggard. The thought flashed in my mind of the Wikipedia article I’d read earlier that day. Almost TWENTY years since this band started. Maybe they were starting to show their age?
But as the set unfolded the songs became more tight, the crowd fell into rhythm, and Jonsi and the gang pumped out some old hits. Songs that were released 5, 10, even 15 years ago. This wasn’t just going to be an album tour, these guys were playing highlights from their career.
The bass player held it down for the rest of the band, interestingly even the drummer followed his lead. The keyboardist also doubled as an occasional second drummer using an innovative setup of chimes, detuned snare, detuned toms, and other noisemakers. In the back behind the fog you could catch sight of a fifth player running guitar for the band.
At times samples would come into play, old recordings of Jonsi’s voice, looped, sampled, and seamlessly mixed into the live show. I later read the primary drummer was controlling everything from a pad next to his set.
One of the highlights involved the band departing the stage save Jonsi, him playing a solo electric song, and then pausing singing on a note, and extending it for what seemed like nearly 60 straight seconds.
The final song of the night was fast and furious, and everyone in the band and crowd had grins on their faces as we all sat back and thought to ourselves, “This is what it would be like if Massive Attack took over the world.”
Great show, definitely worth the drive, and definitely worth the ticket. Good news, they still have more dates this tour. Catch them while they’re on a roll.