Home > Concert Photos, Indie Rock, Post-rock, World Music > REVIEW: Sigur Rós @ Edgefield (Portland, OR – 8/9/12)

REVIEW: Sigur Rós @ Edgefield (Portland, OR – 8/9/12)

10th Aug 12 (Fri) Leave a comment Go to comments

PHOTOS below from Sigur Rós’ Tumblr
(unless otherwise noted)

Sigur Rós is magical.  This was my 6th time seeing them, and quite frankly, it doesn’t get any less magical each time I am graced with their presence.  They don’t really speak to me on a linguistic level, but they blow me away on a musical and emotive level.

The sweeping movements that scream, the melodies that bleed, the ambient passages that don’t go anywhere by going everywhere.  The playing with light and shadows, the simplest/minimalist way to make a huge f*cking point.  That is what Sigur Rós is to its fans.

Their latest album, Valtari, is… well, it seems more minimalist than their prior albums.  It came out in late May 2012, and I’m only a few dozen spins in.  I’m still trying to let it sink in.  It’s slower going than the first spin of Agaetis Byrjun and ( ) for me.  It’s not a hooky (bwahaha!) as Takk… or Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust.

Is Valtari anything different than I’d expect from Sigur Rós?  No, not really.  It just hadn’t broken through to me, yet.

Despite Valtari not quite breaking through yet, the anticipation for this tour was killing me.  I had last seen Sigur Rós in October 2008 (review at my photo to the left), and I had last seen lead-singer Jónsi (solo) in April 2010 (review at my photo to the right).

The short trailer for the tour based on the Iceland rehearsals and the tour opening show in Philadelphia had me giddy…

After a delightful drive up and bite to eat at McMenamins’ Black Rabbit with a friend, we hit the venue right about 6 and found a nice shady spot on the lawn.  Opener Julia Holter went on at 6:30 as scheduled…

She played a mellow, 40-or-so-minute set with her 3-piece band (unless there was another member out of my sight).  We were far enough away and the crowd was a bit restless; so her set was more of a backdrop to discussions, people watching and decisions on pizza.  I’d have liked to get into her music more, but sadly things were not conducive to that.  Since she’s from Los Angeles, perhaps I’ll get another chance soon.

After a fairly short set-change, Sigur Rós hit the stage…

This was my first time seeing them in an outdoor venue.  No fancy lights bouncing Orri’s silhouette off the walls, no starting the show behind a white sheet, no cannons of confetti blasting.  Some of the “magic” was missing on the venue side of things, if you ask me – but I don’t think any magic was missing in the music.

Setlist: an hour & 45 min

  • Ekki Múkk
  • Svefn-g-englar
  • Olsen Olsen
  • Gong
  • Andvari
  • Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása
  • Í Gær
  • Vaka
  • Sæglópur
  • Hoppípolla
  • Með Blóðnasir
  • Festival
  • Varúð
  • Hafsól
  • Dauðalogn (on setlist, not played)
  • Encore: Popplagið

Many times throughout the set, within 2 or 3 notes, the crowd was clapping and hooting in anticipation for the song that was just started.  I love that I live in a day and age where I can escape and listen to good live music that sells out a large outdoor venue.  It’s not just the pop stars & starlets that draw a crowd, and it’s nice to see Sigur Rós’ progression and success over the years.

The lesser Valtari-focus made room for a great mix from their catalog, and I think songs from the different eras worked well together.  Some of my favorites from the night… “Svefn-g-englar” leading into “Olsen Olsen,” “Vaka,” “Sæglópur,” “Hoppípolla,” and the show-capper “Popplagið.”

Despite always knowing that they’ll end the show with an epic 10-15 minute “Popplagið,” I don’t think I could choose a better song to end a beautiful night on.

~Tumblr-Rós photos from Seattle 8/8~

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more Sigur Rós – North American tour dates below.

Next shows for me… Kevin Smith & Scott Mosier Live SModcast on 8/17 (Portland) and Weird Al Yankovic on 8/18 (Eugene / Lane County Fair).

~Dan – np: TestamentDark Roots of Earth

July 2012
29 & 30 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Skyline Stage at The Mann
31 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Prospect Park Bandshell

August 2012
1 – Toronto, Ontario @ Echo Beach at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
3 – Montreal, Quebec @ Osheaga Festival Musique Et Arts
5 – Chicago, Ill. @ Lollapalooza
8 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Paramount Theater
9 – Portland/Troutdale, Ore. @ Edgefield Amphitheater
11 – San Francisco @ Outside Lands
12 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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