by Matt Kelchner
Touting a new, slimmer lineup of just three members, Icelandic post-rock masters Sigur Ros proved this past Friday night that they can be every bit as awe-inspiring as they were with 5+ ensembles. As threatening storms held off, the skies made way for a perfect summer evening at the Mann Center. You couldn’t have asked for a better setting to take in some of the most ethereal yet heavy music made by three members from a tiny ice land in the Atlantic Ocean!
It was not too long ago when Sigur Ros was last in Philadelphia. Less than a year ago, they paid a visit to to the Academy of Music, on the tour in which they debuted their new lineup, reworked songs and staging. Friday night’s performance shared similarities to their previous stop in the city, but it also offered fans a few surprises.
Tracks like “Niður” and “Óveður”made their debuts on this tour as the group used the opportunity to test out new material on the road. The remainder of the night was filled will two career spanning sets that each came in around an hour in length. Energetic and moving favorites like “Sæglópur” were intertwined with more ethereal ones such as “Ekki múkk”.
Throughout the entire night, stunning and breathtaking visuals accompanied the band as they moved from set to set. At times this was as simple as a few sparse lights moving across the stage. Then there were other times where the stage would morph into a towering display that made the three members of the band seem like dwarfs. It was clear that countless hours were put into the design and setup for each song to ensure that every one was perfect. And perfect they all were.
While it may seem like they are at the beginning stages of a new, more stripped down chapter of Sigur Ros, make no mistake — they are still the same band from the same tiny, European island nation that people the world over have grown to love. Friday night at the Mann Center demonstrated that yet again, there are seemingly no boundaries to the artistic creativity that Sigur Ros possess.