I recently went to see Sigur Rós at the Southampton Guildhall.
While the Guildhall is not always the best venue in the world (the high ceiling and exposed wood/brick walls can make for some unpleasant accoustics), the sound engineers somehow got it just right. Intimate. At times it was difficult not to think they were playing just for you, in your living room. The support act were excellent too. Amiina have been the support for the whole of the world tour. They play some wonderfully random instruments including bells, wine glasses filled with different amounts of water and even a large saw.
Until recently, Sigur Rós were Iceland’s best-kept secret. These days, even if you think you’ve never heard of themthe chances are good that you’ll recognise Hoppípolla as being the theme music to David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series. Despite this recent surge in popularity, their fans still seem to be a breed apart. I saw a lot of friendly, thoughtful people, of a wide range of ages. There is one sone (’vidrar’) which famously has a dramatic pause for silence near its end. There were a few brief seconds of cheering and clapping (seemingly by well-meaning people who didn’t know what was happening) but silence soon arrived, partly helped by some good natured quiet shushhing. I won’t forget the sound of 1700 people waiting.
I’ve been fond of Sigur Rós since their challenging album, ( ). It was the first gig I’ve been to tough, and I have already decided that I will be seeing them again as soon as possible.