sigur rós 2000 tour

temple bar music centre
dublin, ireland



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  1. canada’s fly pan am, started what was truly a mad night of music. to be honest they didn’t really do much for me, but to be fair all i was interested in was seeing these elusive folk who named themselves after the title of an avantgarde japanese debut film by mitsuo yanagimachi, whose work deals with the natural order of things being turned upside down, and with the battle between society and nature. yeah sounds familiar!

    and all i wanted to hear was lee marvin croak those words: “the cars on fire and thereís no driver at the wheel, and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand suicides”. my mind was prepared to be blown!

    the secomd band performing for us lucky enough to be there, are from iceland, where they’re, well lets just say kinda popular their name is sigur ros, and you’ll probably hear a lot more of them.

    just after the lead singer uttered what can only be described as something, my mind did blow, along with everyone else in the intimate surroundings of the music centre. forget pins, you couldn’t hear a feather drop. the audience actually floated for a minute there. we were treated to a combination of guitars being bowed and sung into, spine tingling transsexual whale-like vocals, minimalist slides of snowed lanscapes gliding past behind the band. forget old walt disney, this was truly magical wonderful stuff! melancholic, melodic looped phrases flew over lone guitars simply winding out more melodic loops repeating… repeating… beautiful!

    then you remember why you paid a measly £12.50 for your golden godspeed.. ticket. as they tune up -bows are bowed, strings are plucked, drums are drummed, and glockenspiel is well, glocked, something special is about to arise.

    we witness the 9-piece from montreal climb again and again to new heights of shiveringly beautiful white noise in the most perfect of packed out surroundings. to recreate perfectly the impossibly fragile guitar echoes and glorious rising holocaustic waves of pure noise, as on ‘f # a # o o’ and ‘slow riot for new zero kanada’, live here on stage, truly makes you experience the glimmer of huge hope, full of guitars, bass, violins, cello, glockenspiel and more. which rises racing all at once at you, blasting, hypnotic, unhindered, from the quieter moments of impossibly bleak sorrowful most moving ethos, which signals your future destiny. please forgive my ramblings, i have become a disciple of the god speed…lost alone, yet surrounded by a wasteland of broken blur..give in…give in.. “will our children be the ones to save us?” maybe!

    i’ve just stood for almost 5 hours lost “in the valley of death”. i may never walk properly again.

    (dave raleigh)

  2. sigur ros are the icelandic four-piece who up-staged godspeed you black emperor in the temple bar music centre. the band who formed in 1994, have released three albums in their native iceland, the latest ‘agêtis byrjun’ spent eight weeks at the top of the domestic charts. their records have yet to be released outside of iceland but they have recently released a 12″ single on fat cat in the uk.

    sigur ros are one of the only support bands i have ever seen that completely astonished an audience. their unique blend of orchestrated, atmospheric music was layered with the angelic voice of jon por birgisson. the performance was completely hypnotic and the backdrop of three projector screens beaming out landscape images of iceland only heightened the intensity of the experience. birgisson’s vocal technique has in the past been compared to the cocteau twins’ liz fraser, bjork and eyna. the likeness however is only in the way that birgisson uses his own simulated language to convey emotions. sigur ros have claimed that they will “change music forever.” watch out, the evidence of their debut irish show suggests that their pretentious declaration could by some strange twist of fate actually be realised. absolutely stunning!

  3. what a line-up. jesus, two of the best names for bands ever and something in a foreign language. expectation is high.

    fly pan am. what a bunch of hippies. doing the whole ravi shankar raga thing on guitars and then plugging instruments in and out, using all the electronic wrong sounds scratching and blerping to build an long repetitive groove to bliss out on. they sit on the on the floor, smoke, and groove on the other instruments. there was something that did sound like a pan am jet engine though. i like this kind of stuff a lot, a real love-in with noughties noise levels.

    sigur ros – the icelandic travis – playing whale song and seagull screech, to a backdrop of ‘visit iceland in a helicopter’ visuals. the lead singer has this fragile girl voice that is undeniably expressive. he sings into his guitar strings at one point making the string vibrate in resonance with his pure vocal note. i didn’t know that, it was pointed out. though another muso friend of mine claimed it had something to do with a reverb box placed on the strings – i’m none the wiser. i thought he was going to do a jimi hendrix (not die from misadventure, but play the guitar with his teeth.) he’d been doing a jimmy page all night with the violin bow on his guitar, so it made a change.

    sigur ros do something similar to godspeed, but with fewer musicians and far better haircuts. they look prettier too. if i was to put a bet on which band was going to be the most successful it would be this icelandic bunch any day. shades of radiohead there.

    godspeed, how many on stage? maybe nine – strings, two bass two drummers two guitar players several, samples all over. i guess all tonight’s bands could be termed orchestral rock, but godspeed seem to be the closest to that. i wonder how, with so many musicians in the band, do they manage to write anything. it’s as if one musician comes in with a riff on guitar or whatever, and everyone else gradually piles their own ideas on top until there’s a huge wall of sound assaulting the audience. this is very impressive.

    most of the time it seems that the two girls playing violin and cello are holding the whole thing together. the other musicians are directing their attention to them, riffing wildly on their own as the mood takes them. they also flail around in their seated positions as if severely disturbed.

    the music itself is simple riffs and is interested in loud and soft, moving between the two with the odd voice samples thrown in for variation. the usual mad-man-on-the-street-talking-about-the-apocalypse stuff. what starts as a nothing, quickly bends itself into a nosebleed as the hippies on the floor flail about, increasingly deranged, clutching their guitars close to their chests right in front of the amps.

    towards the end of the gig, one of the amps audibly (above the volume) blows with a cracking explosion, and they couldn’t have asked for better – a perfect sound effect.
    (jack murphy)

  4. roll up, roll up, come see the strange elphin-boy who sings without moving his lips. in fact, so ethereal and resonant is singer jonsi’s voice, he makes liz fraser sound like joan jett. he doesn’t speak and he rarely cracks a smile, and without the serene back-drop of icelandic landscapes and smokin’ geysers, staring at the muscles tense in jonsi’s neck is pretty much the most visual aspect of tonight’s show.

    that said, the effortless, booming panorama of the boy’s larynx is enough to carry it off, and the capacity music centre crowd is suitably transfixed and rapturous. which is pretty impressive, given the fact that only a handful of songs are recognisable from sigur rós’ supremely lush ‘agaetis byrjun’ album.

    halfway into the set, the familiar submarine style blooping pulses of ‘svefn-g-englar’ prompt excited yelps from the gathered disciples. jonsitentatively scraps his bow across the guitar strings, unleashing swathes of subtly distorted electric orchestration, the brushed drums are punctuated with pounding bass drum, and his remarkable choirboy howl pierces the sky. it’s a little bit eerie.

    jonsi’s voice sounds more like a finely-tuned woodwind instrument trapped in his belly, than anything remotely human. with arching cheekbones shadowing his mouth, the assembled throng strain to see where exactly this heavenly sound is coming from. if you didn’t know better, you’d think a shoal of mic-ed up whales were approaching in the distance. even when he stands several feet back from the microphone, the sonic bluster is astounding. ‘starálfur’ is warm and whimsical by comparison, the taped brass and strings adding that extra spread of psychedelic syrup, not unlike mercury rev’s hot-wired chamber pop distortion.

    tonight was far from a gig, more a mass of reverence. and even without a word of english all night, dublin and sigur rós fell in love in some sort of universal wilderness.
    (leagues o’toole)

  5. “it’s been done before” i obnoxiously disregarded after being informed that sigur rós used a violin bow to play the guitar. i was expecting some led zeppelin covers to be included in this unknown band’s set list. i was there for godspeed you black emperor! i’m always apprehensive to supporting acts, since any decent act is preceded by irish lads ‘the frames’, who play to meet their idols, not to make music. won everything at the iceland music awards, i was told. i was unimpressed, as beating ‘gus gus’ isn’t exactly a difficult task. and the sugarcubes received the lifetime achievement award….. again? ok, so i wasn’t in the greatest of moods that sunday evening in dublin’s temple bar music centre venue. perhaps the stereotypical crowd of ‘post-rock’ followers agitated me slightly. never have i seen a blacker crowd, including the joy division tribute gig i once attended.

    the gig started, and i planned to endure the opening acts with some alcohol. ‘fly pan am’, one of the numerous godspeed spin-offs began. godspeed without the strings. they resembled a chorus of machine engines revving-up, yet retaining the sombre bleakness of godspeed, just with more attitude. when godspeed arrived i half expected a cd player to be the only item (or person) on the stage. godspeed aren’t a collection of musicians, but music itself. when a group of unrecognisable people attended the stage they acted more like technicians, each working their own instruments as tools, unconscious of the beauty that each sound amalgamated into. godspeed were the main act, but not for me. i couldn’t even eat my words when i heard sigur rós, i was paralysed. for the first time ever a live act convinced me to adore them instantly. they arrived in front of us, the lead singer with a strand of hair jutting into the air, like some ethereal lightening conductor. but there was no need to entice the sky upon himself, as his voice could reach the heavens anyway. delicate, yet soaring, it instantly stopped an audience, even those who were oblivious to their music. unfortunately, as i was unaware of them at the time, any memory of their songs has faded. as far as i remember, ‘bíum bíum bambaló’ was played, accompanied by moving images of aircraft-taken images of icelandic mountains, the purity of the snow creating parallels with the traditional song. the only other song i remember being played was ‘svefn-g-englar’, as it ended with a mutual spontaneous applause from everyone there. what was once my preconceived bias was now lost, and i was absorbed. the band played with precision and style, also contributing their individual instruments to an overall single sound of pure beauty. what else can i say, the music was beauty itself.
    (eoin o’faolain)

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