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Sigur Ros Live From Celebrate Brooklyn

  • Sigur Ros performs at Celebrate Brooklyn's Prospect Park Bandshell on July 31, 2012.
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    Sigur Ros performs at Celebrate Brooklyn's Prospect Park Bandshell on July 31, 2012.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • Sigur Ros performed as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn's longest-running free concert series.
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    Sigur Ros performed as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn's longest-running free concert series.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • The band performed a nearly two-hour set that spanned its entire career.
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    The band performed a nearly two-hour set that spanned its entire career.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • Valtari, the group's first album in four years, returns to the roots of Sigur Ros' moodily slow-building, almost impossibly pretty sound.
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    Valtari, the group's first album in four years, returns to the roots of Sigur Ros' moodily slow-building, almost impossibly pretty sound.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • The packed crowd at the Prospect Park Bandshell remained hushed for most of the show.
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    The packed crowd at the Prospect Park Bandshell remained hushed for most of the show.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • The band is known for its spectacular light and stage shows.
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    The band is known for its spectacular light and stage shows.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • Lead singer Jonsi plays his signature bowed electric guitar. At the explosive end of "Hafsol," Birgisson frantically ripped hair from the bow.
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    Lead singer Jonsi plays his signature bowed electric guitar. At the explosive end of "Hafsol," Birgisson frantically ripped hair from the bow.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • During Sigur Ros' four-year hiatus, Jonsi released the effervescent and uplifting 2010 solo album Go.
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    During Sigur Ros' four-year hiatus, Jonsi released the effervescent and uplifting 2010 solo album Go.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • The band's sound is perfect for a big outdoor stage on a summer evening.
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    The band's sound is perfect for a big outdoor stage on a summer evening.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • This is Sigur Ros' first tour in four years. The Brooklyn gig marked only the third stop on the tour's brief visit to North America.
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    This is Sigur Ros' first tour in four years. The Brooklyn gig marked only the third stop on the tour's brief visit to North America.
    Ryan Muir for NPR
  • The band will tour Europe, Australia and Asia throughout 2012.
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    The band will tour Europe, Australia and Asia throughout 2012.
    Ryan Muir for NPR

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Sigur Rós In Concert

July 31, 2012It's not hyperbolic to suggest that Sigur Rós is one of the world's greatest live bands, creating a hypnotic, almost overwhelming experience. Hear the group, back on tour after four years, as it plays a sweeping two-hour set at Brooklyn's Prospect Park Bandshell during Celebrate Brooklyn.

Sigur Rós could be forgiven for sounding better on record than in concert. The Icelandic band's songs either billow out deliberately or stomp majestically, and in every case entail the building of layers upon intricate sonic layers. Plus, singer Jónsi — he of the otherworldly voice, singing mostly in a ghostly language of his own devising — is no Mick Jagger when it comes to calling attention to himself. He's created an air of shyly vulnerable mystery that seems antithetical to showmanship.

And yet it's not hyperbolic to suggest that Sigur Rós is one of the world's great live bands, creating a hypnotic, almost overwhelming experience. Just last year, that experience was documented in a gorgeous DVD/CD package called Inni, which showcases both Sigur Rós' epic sonic sweep and an ability to complement it with gripping, enveloping visuals. Now, the band is touring to support this year's gorgeous Valtari — making its first live appearances in four years — and playing career-spanning two-hour shows like this July 31 concert at New York City's Prospect Park as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn series.

The group's first album since 2008 — Jónsi released the effervescent and uplifting solo album Go in the interim — Valtari returns to the roots of Sigur Rós' moodily slow-building, almost impossibly pretty sound. Though it occasionally builds up to a furious clamor, most notably in "Varúð," Valtari floats around in a dreamy sweet spot: calming but portentous, with every moment milked for maximum drama and beauty. On the live stage in Brooklyn, Sigur Rós indulges in its specialty, as it fuses uncommon delicacy with uncommon power, while compromising neither.

Set List
  • "Ekki múkk"
  • "Varúð"
  • "Ný batterí"
  • "Í Gær"
  • "Vaka" (Untitled 1)
  • "Sæglópur"
  • "Svefn-g-englar"
  • "Viðrar vel til loftárása"
  • "Hoppípolla"
  • "Med blóðnasir"
  • "Olsen Olsen"
  • "Festival"
  • "Hafsól"

Encore:

  • "Glósóli"
  • "Popplagið" (Untitled 8)
Credits

Audio engineers: Ed Haber, Josh Rogosin, Kristin Mueller and Damon Whittemore. Special thanks to Celebrate Brooklyn, BRIC Arts and Bowery Presents.

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