Courtesy of Sigur Ros Montreal-based multimedia artist and film director…
- Posted on Nov 11th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Daniel Boczarski, Redferns
"This is the last show of the American tour," he announced at one point, thanking fans for supporting his latest solo trek.
Jonsi had his facts straight -- it was, indeed, the final tour stop -- but this was neither the time nor the place for facts. His live show is one big bucolic electro-folk fairy-tale rave party, and by placing it in the context of something as mundane as a rock tour, he temporarily broke the spell, reminding the near-capacity crowd that there were cars and buildings and subways -- not dragons and maidens and elves with glow sticks -- waiting beyond the Hammerstein's walls.
Fortunately, Jonsi kept it fanciful for much of Wednesday's 90-minute performance. He opened the show on acoustic guitar, finger-picking as he sang 'Stars in the Still Water,' a showcase for his emotive falsetto. He wore what from the balcony looked to be a Technicolor dreamcoat festooned with streamers, and the giant projection screen behind him depicted a dark woodland scene straight out of a Brothers Grimm tale.
A four-piece band joined Jonsi for the next tune, the regal, slow-burning 'Hengilas,' but it wasn't until a few minutes later, as 'Icicle Sleeves' bled into 'Kolnidur,' that the sidemen started earning their shillings.
As the group transitioned from the unreleased former song to the more familiar latter -- a track from Jonsi's 2010 solo debut, 'Go' -- the drummer, guitarist and two keyboard players turned what had been another acoustic number into a strobe-lit forest freak-out. Onscreen, cartoon wolves and deer ran through wind and heavy snow, as if Jonsi's sonic change-up had affected their weather.
Such loud-quiet dynamic shifts characterized many of Jonsi's other songs, though none quite as much as 'Grow Till Tall,' the evening's closer. Rocking a Native American-style headdress, he once again wreaked havoc on his cartoon world. As animated raindrops fell in dizzying diagonals and the lights flashed like lightning, Jonsi doubled over and flailed across the stage. He was dancing in the eye of his own private hurricane, loving every second.