Music review: Sigur Rós, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Sigur Ros
Sigur Ros
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THERE was hushed anticipation for Iceland’s second most celebrated musical export and one-time Game of Thrones wedding band (a cameo which demonstrated, unlike this show, that the group do possess a sense of humour) on the first of two nights in this blank canvas of an auditorium.

Sigur Rós ***

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

THERE was hushed anticipation for Iceland’s second most celebrated musical export and one-time Game of Thrones wedding band (a cameo which demonstrated, unlike this show, that the group do possess a sense of humour) on the first of two nights in this blank canvas of an auditorium.

Sigur Rós painted the Armadillo’s walls with their elemental light show, a murky wash of earth and ice colours which eventually danced like northern lights and often threatened to overshadow the samey musical soundtrack, a mid-paced, furrowed brow collage of steady pounding drums, keening guitar with the occasional screech of distortion, mournful piano and the ethereal choirboy vocals of frontman Jónsi Birgisson which hung in the air like a non-seductive siren call.

As a showcase of their back catalogue and a preview of new material, it was soothing but hardly scintillating. Still, the first half passed quickly and the second half promised a more dynamic performance with the band making greater use of their adaptable stage set, firstly ranged around a console of synthesizers behind a gauze screen and then opening out to create their most momentous soundscape yet, accompanied by spectacular cosmic starburst imagery and volcanic red geometric patterns, shifting across screen like CGI tectonic plates.

Jónsi rolled out his party piece, exhibiting a pearl diver’s breath control to hold one note for a dizzyingly long time. Orri Páll Dyrason responded by drumming up a storm on the closing Popplagið, powered along by propulsive fuzz bass from Georg Hólm, the invigorating cacophony replicated on the screens to create a climactic son et lumière extravaganza.