Saturday, October 04, 2008

Love of music / Love of Sigur Ros

Not sure if I've mentioned this in a previous post, but I LOVE MUSIC!  I can remember, as a child, running home from elementary school to listen to music, going to my room after dinner to listen to music and listening to music to go to sleep.  Going to sleep to music wasn't easy in the 70's, since I didn't have an iPod clock radio (like I do now).  So, i started with a black portable radio/tape player with one speaker and i would put it under my pillow at night to sleep to.  This was a bit difficult, because it wasn't small, so my head was at an angle - but i was in music heaven!  I eventually took it apart and rigged it so i could wire the speaker into a large home stereo speaker i got from somewhere and it would sound pretty good cranked up!  I spent many a night listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, etc...i was in elementary school, so this was the mid 70's...

Well, as i grew up I also found more and more bands I loved.  I would call the local radio station every day and request songs and then listen to the radio for hours hoping they would play what I requested.  They rarely did, because even then I had a little bit of a different taste in music and I loved what wasn't always mainstream.  I should post a "Found Memory" about the time I took the Pink Floyd 7" single "Another Brick in the Wall" to my 5th grade choir class in '79.  I asked the teacher to play the flip-side ("One of My Turns") instead of the A side which was on the radio every hour of every day.  It was music sharing day and everyone had brought something to play.  The class knew I brought Pink Floyd and were pretty upset I didn't want her to play the song on the radio, but I wanted to play the other side.  I remember thinking, "this is such a good song - they should all hear it".  Well, after about 30 seconds they started complaining and I finally lost hope of turning them on to anything and told the teacher to flip it over, mumbling to myself only loud enough for the teacher to hear, "let them hear the same song they've heard 100 times".

When I was about 12 I asked my brother Price if I could go with him to a youth church dance.  He DJ'd them and I wanted to help.  He let me come and I helped him carry things and setup (as much as a 12 year old could).  I was completely and totally hypnotized watching him play songs and seeing people dance to what he chose.  Watching, I knew that is what I wanted to do when I got older.  Price (being the cool brother that he is) asked me if i wanted to play the last song so he could go out and dance.  This meant I would be doing a "segue" which is tying 2 songs together without a break.  I was so nervous, but because i'd watched him all night I knew I could do it.  I remember my palms were all sweaty as i put the needle on the other album and held it - waiting for the end of the first one.  I let the 2nd one go, slid the volume from one to the other and it was perfect!  I was so excited i hadn't messed up and when I looked up and saw Price watching me he was smiling and gave me the thumbs up.  Like I said - I was hooked.

When I was 15 I was approached by a mobile DJ company to join them as one of their 2 DJ's.  It was the beginning of my DJ "career" which spanned 3 states, 2 Radio Stations, countless clubs, weddings, parties and 10 years of my life.  I loved almost all of it (except for having to play what other people wanted at dances - I still hadn't changed from being a child in choir class).  I was a Program Director for 2 different radio stations (one of them, KUNV, was the #1 College Radio station in the country while I was there as the Assistant Music Director).

So, flash forward to now (trust me - i could go on and on) and to what I experienced last weekend.  Lissette and I went to see one of the best concerts i've seen in my life.  I've never counted how many concerts I've seen, but I'd have to say I've seen several hundred bands live.  I also had the privilege of interviewing many of them on the radio as well as for local entertainment magazines, introducing them onstage before shows, partying with them, etc.

So, what made this concert so amazing?  First off, it is a band I have such a deep love for it is almost on a different plane then the other music I listen to.  They are called Sigur Ros.  Their music is completely indescribable (trust me, I tried to explain their sound to Dusty the other day and failed miserably.  I made them sound like a heavenly choir with guitars - which they aren't :-).  Their music is lifting, moving, powerful.  They are from Iceland and the lead singer sings mostly in falsetto.  Words do not do them justice.  I've loved this band for many years and have always dreamed of seeing them live.  We even planned a cruise to Iceland for our 10 year wedding anniversary 2 years ago, so we could see them, but ended up changing it to a Scandinavian Cruise when we couldn't find a good route to Reykjavik.  But each time they toured near me it didn't "line up" with when I was in town.  Well, this time it did...all i can say is - WOW!

The show was at a very cool venue called Saltair which has quite the history (built in 1893, destroyed by fire twice, etc.) and well worth the is a pic of the "3rd" version of the place.


The Saltair - the venue for the Sigur Ros show

It was a great place to see the show and out in the middle of nowhere.  We wanted to arrive early cause I really wanted to either be right up front or in a place to see the band really well.  I'd never seen a show in this venue, so i didn't know what the place would be like.

Our great friend Jackie was good enough to watch our kids so we could go and we headed up to the place, but because we also wanted to eat somewhere nice without the kids (Cheesecake Factory - yummmm) and with driving, etc. we didn't get there as early as i would have liked.  We were still early, but there were already a couple hundred people when we arrived.  Right as we walked in we realized we wouldn't be very close to the stage and started looking around for a place to see them well.  We noticed some box area's upstairs to the left of the stage that looked empty, so we went to the stairs and met the "bouncer" guy.  He said they were the VIP boxes and they normally went for $300+ a concert, but since they didn't sell out for this show he'd let us go up for $25 each.  We jumped on it (since the show was only $25 to begin with and this is one of our favorite bands - $50 for a show seemed just fine to us) and we went up to look at the room.  There wasn't anyone in the box and one corner had a perfect view of the stage.  The guy said there was someone that paid in full for the box, but that he didn't want to be in there with his girlfriend all alone and to get more people in there that would enjoy it.  So, we had our good seating and were ready.

The opening band was Parachutes, whom i LOVE and they are also from Iceland.  They sound VERY similar to Sigur Ros and there were 7 of them on stage making very cool music.  Some of them looked very very young.  Lissette pointed out that none of them were wearing shoes :-)

After they left the stage we got a call from our friend Wayne and Lissette went out to the hall to talk to him.  She looked out the window over the parking lot while talking to him and saw 3 members of Parachutes riding these cool looking, funky bikes around the parking lot - FUN!

Eventually Sigur Ros came on stage.  The show was incredible.  Our view was excellent and the music was overwhelming.  I texted my brother Eric (which i do from any concert i'm at) and told him i was in music heaven.  He told me he'd seen them the night before at Red Rocks in Colorado and that I would be blown away by the last song.  I thought he meant the last song where Parachutes joined them on stage all beating drums for a rendition of "Gobbledigook" - which was AMAZING...but, he said, "no - after the encore - you will be blown away"...

So, after they left the stage for about 3 minutes they came back and played 2 more songs...the last song was about 15 minutes and was extremely hypnotic, powerful, overwhelming and left me completely speechless...I can't describe it very well...if you know their music, you have some idea - but I know their music and I still wasn't prepared for how amazing it was...

After they left the stage it was still deafening from everyone screaming and cheering.  The band came out and did something I've never seen from my 100's of shows.  They lined up at the edge of the stage and waved at all of us, mouthing "thank you" and they looked genuinely touched.  Then they locked arms, bowed, and waved some more (even waved at me up high in my perch)...they eventually left and that was the show.

Here are a few pics from my crappy phone...below those I've also posted a few songs for you to get a feel for what their music is like.  Feel free to listen to it, love it.


Opening band Parachutes - a little blurry, but you get the idea...

sigur ros 1

Even though my camera on my phone SUCKS, this one turned out really cool in an "artistic" sort of way.  The lead singer Jónsi (bent over in the middle) played his guitar with a bow-string for much of the show.  The drummer (Ágúst) was wearing a crown.

sigur ros 2

Here is another shot.  I didn't alter either of these in Photoshop or anything like that.  I believe the color difference had to do with the lighting.  Both are very cool i think.  You can see the stage is COVERED with confetti.  This song was the final song of the night, but during the final song of the main set they had the girl members of Parachutes shooting confetti cannons into the crowd and tons of it was blowing out from the sides and dropping from the ceiling.  people were COVERED by it.


Here is a shot of the confetti dropping from the ceiling, being shot out by the band and other cannons.  You can't even see the band or crowd through it.

confetti 2

Here is another pic from earlier in the show when it just dropped from the ceiling.  Not nearly as much as they shot out later, but people were going pretty crazy.  This is from a different angle in the box we were in, so you can see the massive speakers in the way.

sigur ros 3

Here is another shot of the band where you can see the front of the crowd as well as some people up in the other balcony.  That side was the "bar" side and was already packed when we got there.


Here is a shot of the crowd.  It took several tries to get this because the lights were flashing and I had to get it timed perfectly.  This is only about 1/2 of the people that were there...


Here are some MP3's of the band.  If you love, buy an album...if you don't, delete them from your just gotta crank them up and enjoy them...this is my way of playing "DJ" from my chair and trying to get some of that feeling back when I couldn't turn my 5th grade class onto the B-Side of a Pink Floyd 7"...




Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust



Við spilum endalaust.mp3

Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust




Ágætis Byrjun


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