By Matt Kelchner
On a near perfect Friday evening in June, Icelandic post-rock titans Sigur Ros returned to town to rock the Mann Center. Those in attendance were treated with a more slimmed down band that played two career spanning sets, backed by a stunning visual and light display. At the end of their near two hour performance Sigur Ros proved to their fans that no matter the size of the band, they will always be able to deliver their signature ethereal meets explosive sound.
Less than a year ago, Sigur Ros performed an intimate show at the Academy of Music. The tour, which featured concerts in smaller-than-normal settings in the handful of towns they visited, debuted both the band’s new makeup and stage setup. Recently, the group lost two of their longstanding members. While they rehearsed songs to fit their new makeup, their new visual light display was also in development.
Friday night’s performance shared some similarities from their date at the Academy of Music last year, but also featured a handful of treats for fans. During each of the two sets, Sigur Ros reached as far back as Ágætis byrjun for selections. Between the crowd favorites, new songs like “Niður” and “Óveður” gave fans a taste of what’s to come from the band. Classics like “Sæglópur” and “E-Bow” received loud cheers as the first few notes of the tracks rang out.
Behind Sigur Ros rose a towering mix of lights, screens and steel that helped to bring each song out in new ways. At times, neon lights flashed like angular lightning. Other times, the screens rose above the above the band to display enormous images that ranged from a angular modeled 3D face to a smoldering, cooling planet. Between these grandiose pieces of art, more subtle displays that featured just a few lone lights made each set come to life.
At the end of the night, there were no encores. The three members — Jonsi, Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason came out to take a bow. Behind them in giant letters read “Takk”, which is Icelandic for thanks. After such an incredible performance they gave, it should’ve been us, the fans, screaming “takk” at them.