Words & Photography: Mike Manewitz ( Instagram )
Since their 1994 inception in Reykjavík, Iceland, Sigur Rós’ strength has been bringing tangibility to the ineffable. A deeply emotional band, they take hold in an unusually wide cross-section of people, from metalheads and record nerds to children and retirees. Out of their lurching guitars, angelic vocals, impenetrable lyrics and cathartic crescendos comes a deep sense of serenity and hope. The ability the band have to stun their audiences into euphoria was leveraged to full effect during their sold out two-night run at Austin’s Moody Theater, often bringing songs down to whisper-level before opening up the floodgates of light and sound to brilliant results. Both nights were presented as two roughly hour-long sets with a 15 minute intermission, including songs from across their remarkably consistent 23-year career.
Although they have scaled down to a three-piece consisting of Jónsi Birgisson, Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason after years of touring as a larger ensemble, Lighting Director and Sigur Rós tour veteran Bruno Poet’s tasteful and emotive designs let the band feel as huge as ever. For each song, the entire stage was completely transformed with projections, tightly coordinated LED-laden set pieces, video walls and translucent video curtains.
As the house lights came on and the Tornados’ 1962 hit “Telstar” blasted from the PA, jaws were retrieved from the floor, puffy eyes were dried and we rejoined the world with our loads lightened.