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introMitsubishi Electric Halle, Düsseldorf, Germany
25th November 2013
Sigur Rós & I Break Horses

During the last part of their current world tour, Icelandic band Sigur Rós stopped at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle in Düsseldorf and some thousand fans were eager to see this show. It was not as packed as expected, but the attendees experienced a fabulous show they will remember for a long time, a show leading you to the icy landscapes of Iceland, a show were you could smell the snow and feel the cold of the band’s homeland…

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I Break Horses

But before Sigur Rós took you on a journey to Iceland, there was another band to experience, I BREAK HORSES. The Swedish band from Stockholm, consisting of Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck, brought some more Northern sadness and melancholy to the hall. The band came into being in 2008 and since then, they impress with “heady, sumptuously textured soundscapes”, as The Guardian music critic Hermione Hoby described it. The debut album ‘Hearts‘ was released in 2011 followed by support slots i.e. for M83. A new album, ‘Chiaroscuro’, is set for release in January 2014. I must admit I have never heard of the band before, but their music hit me! Their 30 minutes show was amazing, even though they played the whole concert behind a curtain that was already placed for the beginning of the Sigur Rós show. You could only see the shadows of the band and some lights moving around. But this only increased the deep impact of their music which was very calm and atmospheric with a wonderful, angelic female voice. The perfect introduction of the evening. I will surely keep an eye on this fascinating band. http://www.ibreakhorses.se / https://www.facebook.com/ibreakhorses

Setlist
01. Medicine Brush
02. (Unknown)
03. Weigh True Words
04. Hearts
05. Winter Beats

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: - (not visible behind the curtain)
Sound: 8
Light: 5
Total: 8 / 10


Sigur Rós

Let me just add the band’s description from Facebook: “Sigur Rós (['sɪːɣʏr rouːs] is an Icelandic post-rock band with melodic, classical, experimental, and minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound and lead singer Jónsi’s falsetto voice. Sigur Rós means Victory Rose, named after Jonsi's little sister.” The band was founded 1994 in Reykjavík, releasing the debut album ‘Von’ in 1997. It was a dark album, closely connected to nature. After several album, Sigur Rós released their seventh and latest studio album, ‘Kveikur‘, in summer 2013. With their spherical and melancholic melodies, the band has huge success in Europe but also in North America and Japan. Themselves, they call their music Slo-Mo Rock. Sigur Rós Jón Þór “Jónsi“ Birgisson (lead vocals, guitars, bowed guitar, keyboards, harmonica, banjo, bass guitar), Georg “Goggi“ Hólm (bass guitar, glockenspiel, toy piano, keyboards, backing vocals) and Orri Páll Dýrason (drums, percussion, samples, keyboards). Live, the band is supported by the Amiina string quartet and several additional musicians. http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/sigurros

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Music & Performance
It is hard to put this show into words, it was visually and musically overwhelming, leading you far, far away to the icy coasts and glaciers of Iceland where you could smell the snow, feel the cold and heard the waves hitting the rough shores. As one of my colleagues said, this was “wide-screen cinema for ears, eyes and senses”. If a band really can leave the audience speechless after the show, with open mouths and wet eyes, then it is Sigur Rós. But don’t expect any rock spectacle, this show lives from the calm sounds and great emotions. All in all there are eleven musicians on stage, creating wide sound scapes causing goose bumps and sending shivers down the spine. Jonsi used his falsetto voice line another instrument and played the guitar with a bow virtuously. But there is not only the music, also visually this show was superb. For the first two songs, ‘Yfirborð’ and ‘Vaka’, the whole stage was covered by a white curtain covering all sides of the stage and being as big screen for atmospheric video animations.

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When the curtain fell after ‘Vaka’, a fabulous stage was revealed, illuminated by numerous light bulbs and with a big screen in the back. On this screen, there were animations, emotional videos and some live pictures presented. Supported by well-adjusted smoke and flickering light flashes, the light show was overall overwhelming. The audience listened devoutly, was taken farther and farther to the wide of Northern skies, supported by perfect sound. After every song the band was rewarded with lots of applause. But there were also moments, when the mostly calm audience jubilated, like at the end of ‘Hoppípolla’. The band was not very talkative, but after an hour, singer Jonsi finally spoke to the audience, telling the people that one of the string players celebrated her birthday today. She was asked to come closer and then received a birthday song in Icelandic language.

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For ninety minutes, the band brought Iceland into the hall and when they came back for a final bow at the end, underlined by the word “Takk” (Thanks you) on the screen, they were rewarded with endless standing ovations. Still, I cannot really describe the special mood the band was creating in the hall. You simply need to experience Sigur Rós yourself, really!

Setlist
01. Yfirborð
02. Vaka
03. Brennisteinn
04. Glósóli
05. Stormur
06. Hrafntinna
07. Sæglópur
08. Varúð
09. Hoppípolla
10. Rafstraumur
11. Kveikur
12. Festival
13. Popplagið

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 10
Total: 9.8 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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