Concert Review: Sigur R¢s live at the Riverside Theater

Raad Fadaak

Sigur R¢s requires patience of its listeners. Each of the delicately crafted out-of-this-world songs are drawn out to at least five minutes apiece, slowly building into dramatic crescendos consisting of keyboards, guitars, strings, and frontman J¢nsi Birgisson’s incredible falsetto voice.
Their four multi-layered albums have demonstrated a willingness to experiment and explore deeper into their signature sound.
Their latest offering, “Takk,” is undoubtedly their most structured and accessible album to date. Sigur R¢s is an interesting and, at times, irresistible band that has begun to conduct itself like a living piece of abstract art. One critic describes their music as the “sound of the planets moving.”
Their live shows have built up a reputation of their own, offering listeners a direct experience of the intricate and layered nature of Sigur R¢s’s compositions that make them so effective.
The May 10 show in Milwaukee was no exception, as Birgisson, with bowed guitar and falsetto voice, soared high above the band, creating enough sound to warrant a one-man show.
But it was the full depth of the songs that was so exceptionally projected to the seated audience that really elevated the experience. Visual screens and vivid lighting added to the drama and the sense of unity of all present in the theater.
The translucent front screen came down during the encores, casting the band members as silhouettes, and the band attacked their instruments with unprecedented fury.
Drummer Orri P ll Drason’s silhouette beat the kit to shreds behind the projected images as the intensity and volume soared to new levels, bringing a euphoric end to the proceedings at the Riverside Theater.
While some may believe the members of Sigur R¢s tread the line between pure genius and depressingly boring, their performance shows that they stand firmly in the realm of the former.

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