On Sunday, Sigur Ros performed a visually spellbinding show for Bangkok as part of their 2022 world tour.
Icelandic people weather some of the harshest elements, and show a unique ability to harness these powers of nature in song. Exemplifying this power is the dreamy, post-rock group known as Sigur Rós.
Their lack of new production in the international music scene for the last nine years has left a void that found fans missing their presence. For 2022, not only is there an album release in the works, but the group embarked on a world tour.
On Sunday, Bangkok marked their final stop in the Asia leg of the concert tour.
At Moonstar Studio, we gathered expectantly in the enveloping darkness. A few times a silhouette came on stage, picked up an instrument to the sound of cheers, then departed offstage just as fast. With no warm up act, we hung on with anticipation.
A rousing cheer burst forth from the crowd as the band members assembled, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Jónsi Birgisson, bassist Georg Holm, drummer Olafur Olafsson, and finally, keyboardist and guitarist Kjartan Sveinsson – the latter who returned from his decade-long hiatus for the tour.
The low organ-like intro of ‘Vaka’ resounded through the hall, and coursed through me. I could see a constellation start to mould and unfold in the background, as the stars linked with each other and amassed into human form. Jónsi’s lone cries held me transfixed through an aching yearning to connect during this moment of bittersweet melancholy.
I felt a deep appreciation for the atmospheric pauses in the music, as did the audience standing quietly, basking in the silence. There would be no sing-a-longs, no drowning out of this otherworldly magic by us mere mortals.
Sigur Rós have created something inimitable, their Icelandic mixed with their own made up language of “Volenska” (or “hopelandic” in English).
I was floating from the ethereal sound, but in a breath, that instant flashed past and jarringly jolted me back down to earth with the distressing noise of their song ‘Ný batterí’. An assault on my senses, the electric guitar wailed as the violin bow invaded it. The visuals shifted the scene to monochrome as the torrential noise hailed down.
Like a passing rainstorm, it eventually dissipated and retreated. Everything glistened fresh, and I surrendered into their next song ‘Gold 2’.
The lights beamed on, putting an end to the first half of the show. It was time for intermission – and chance to regain my senses. I felt rushed observing the length of the queue for drinks against the shortness of the break.
With thirst quenched and attended to, the second half opened with ‘Glósóli’, with the same violin bowed guitar now playing angelically from the stage. Up next, the stark notes of ‘Ekki Múkk’, its simple and unassuming melody with Jónsi’s emotionally rich vocals lingered over the crowd.
The hauntingly beautiful ‘Popplagið’ signaled the end of the night as it drew the audience in with its slow recognisable start followed by the tempo gradually gathering momentum. The band gave it their all against a visual backdrop of what appeared as analogue glitches.
I felt at the same time drained but elated, after the onslaught of emotions that Sigur Rós had drawn from me.
Photos: Viji Corp