Sigur Rós – Celebrate Brooklyn – July 31, 2012
With a threat of storms last night in Brooklyn, whether the weather would hold up didn’t seem to be on the minds of those at the Prospect Park Bandshell to witness a band’s long-awaited return to New York City. But one thing was collectively understood: One storm or another was coming. And if any band is suitable to experience through inclement weather, it’s the Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós, whose musical style and procedure almost trace that of a storm itself—beginning quietly, with a stirring or a rumble and gradually, almost unnoticeably, growing into something hovering all around you, cloudy darkness and mixed with light.
And then there’s the downpour, the lightning, the wind and the thunder. Sigur Rós has made this form of dramatic arrangement their trademark, with their mood conjuring the atmosphere of their mysterious homeland and lending them a power of captivation that few bands have ever had. In a manner similar to Mogwai’s, Sigur Rós’s music has always managed to convey a deeply rooted connection to the grand and haunting surroundings of their country, in turn transporting the audience there, or at least afforded them the feeling of escaping somewhere for an evening.
Prospect Park proved to be the ideal grounds for this experience. The evening unfolded almost like an opera, with each song developing like an act with its own special climax, including “Glosoli,” “Festival,” “Svefn-g-englar” and new-album standout “Valtari,” which were all wonderfully deliberate in their development. As they have done so many times before, Sigur Rós extended an invitation to a strange and beautiful world, and all were swept away. —Charles Steinberg