Sigur Rós brings meditative music to a serene night in Seattle

Wow, what an eventful night it was in beautiful Seattle! Sigur Rós played an extraordinary show, but first, let’s talk about the vibe at Paramount Theatre. Fans were in line and excited to see the Icelandic rock band. All different ages, the fans were smiling as they walked into the theater. There was plenty of merchandise and some fans even had on Sigur Rós clothing. The 94-year-old Paramount Theatre is beautiful as any musical theater you can imagine: plenty of colors, chandeliers, stairs and bars. In order to get to the highest seats, fans would have to go up the stairs three times. It was very exotic and every seat at the venue has a great view. 

The stage was also unique, with many lamp poles that reminded me of an old neighborhood in Europe at night.

As the lights turned off, the fans began to roar and clap as the band walked onstage to their instruments. During their first few songs, they played piano and guitar instrumentals with few vocals. The lighting onstage was very dark and foggy, which was very interesting and captivating. Sigur Rós opened the night with soft, conjuring up a subtle sound with “Vaka” and “Fyrsta” — both from their critically-acclaimed album, ( ). Believe it or not, this album title is just two parenthesis. 

Their concert is a balancing act of musical sounds. At times, the music is so delicate, it feels like you need to hold your breath, not cough and turn off your phone in order to not shatter the quietly enchanting vibes. At other times, the Sigur Rós comes at you with all the strength of a hammer or baseball bat, taking your breath away as they deliver amazing and unique waves of distorted tones and sound. Their soft and hard rock tunes are very impactful and effective, as Sigur Rós brought its first North American tour in five years to Seattle. 

The musicians wowed the approximate 2,800 fans in attendance, with material from their entire musical discography, going all the way back to 1997 across six studio albums.

There was no encore following their two-hour set. However, there was an intermission in the middle of their show. It was interesting, because not many musical artists have intermissions in the middle of the show, like a Broadway show usually has. 

Sigur Rós played some new material that they have been working on and plan to release later this year, as the band performed the new song “Gold 4” towards the end of their show. The track sounded superior and definitely on par with the classic songs in the set list. Many fans were excited about hearing the group’s first batch of new songs since the release of “Kveikur” in 2013.

Band members featured founding members Jónsi on vocals, Georg “Goggi” Holm on bass, Kjartan “Kjarri” Sveinsson on keyboards and touring musician Ólafur Björn “Óbó” Ólafsson on drums. For the first time in 10 years, Jonsi and Holm have toured with Sveinsson, who was out of the band from 2013 until their current tour, which started in February. 

The music was intimate, captivating and fragile, to the point where a some fans closed their eyes and truly listened. Their music definitely has perfect meditative sounds. With Jonsi’s falsettos during the set, along with his tremendous violin tunes, it sounded just like their studio albums. Not every artists sounds the same live from their stadium, but Sigur Rós is an exception. No other artist that I can think of sounds like them! 

Sigur Rós’s big finale was the feedback distorted sounds of “Popplagið”, the band’s final track from their ( ) album. All the fans clapped and cheered as they finished the song. After, the band took a bow to the fans, just like artists do in a Broadway musical. The two hours of terrific music in beautiful Seattle was the perfect way to enjoy a Saturday night. 

Photography by Arik Ruiz

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