Sigur Rós at iTunes Festival
Beauty, thy name is Sigur...
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Sigur Rós don't write songs. They don't try and pass off art as pop, or pop as art, or claim themselves to be some kind of misguided conglomeration of the two. Within their acutely structured soundscapes they create worlds. And on the second night of the iTunes Festival at Camden's Roundhouse, they invited us to lose ourselves. To disappear in the best way possible.
Lets consider language for a moment. The single-greatest creation of humankind. Yet for Sigur Rós, language is arbitrary. There are very few people in the crowd on this night who share their Icelandic tongue, and even fewer who can understand the band's occasionally-used made-up language Hopelandic. Yet, the greatest hits peppering the new album promotion set, such as Svefn-g-englar, Glósóli and, of course, Hoppípolla are welcomed with the same rapturous applause one when expect to hear for Wonderwall at an Oasis gig. And a humble "takk" between songs from frontman Jónsi is met with the same adoration as an on-stage monologue from Morrissey.
Back to Jónsi. Yes, he's an openly gay man, and the whole band have long-been advocates on behalf of LGBT equality. But their music is not crafted to make a political or social statement. Sigur Rós infuse each note of each melody with such universal beauty that boundaries such as sexuality, gender and race are transcended. Sigur Rós fans are not Little Monsters, Soldiers, or any other nonsensical collective noun. They are merely people. People from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all colours, creeds and religions, united by one thing - appreciation of beauty.
Gaga made headlines around the world when she opened the iTunes Festival this week, which is surely boasting it's best-ever line-up. But amidst the glitz of Katy Perry and the glamour of Justin Timberlake, for one night Sigur Rós allowed us to disappear into a world uniquely crafted for us. Next time, make sure to join us.
Words: Ryan Butcher (@RyanJohnButcher)