Monday, November 15, 2010

Jonsi - Where did our love go?

On Monday I went to see Jonsi, the lead-singer/guitarist/mystical-Icelandic-wood-nymph of Sigur Ros perform material from his first solo album at the fabulous Nightclub 930. And it left me cold. I should note that I was a huge huge Sigur Ros fan in college, and so in theory it shouldn't have taken much to win me over, but something(s) felt off.

Was I just tired of live music? No, that's not it. I saw Frightened Rabbit the week before, standing in almost the exact same spot at the 930 Club and had a pretty good time. Two days later I saw La Roux, and despite my yawning (it was a later show, after all) I also enjoyed myself.

Was it the crowd? Eh, the crowd was alright. People were pretty respectful all around. No one spilled their drink on me, and my sight-lines were okay. I admit, this was probably more of a balcony kind of show, but I got there too late for a good balcony spot.

Was is the material? That was certainly part of the issue. There are some very catchy and bright songs on Jonsi's album. But it took a good 30 minutes for the band to build up any momentum, and then they played most of the fast songs in a chunk. After that the energy started seeping out of the room. If the slow stuff on the album was better than it would have been more deserving of my rapt attention. Instead, I realized during the show that he suffers the same issue that Bjork has these days. Both have a number of tricks as vocalists, but the problem is that they had used them up early in their career. So I found myself going "oh, that voice again" during the ballads.

Was it the visuals? Sorta. The whole production aspect was really built up beforehand, and was supposed to justify the pricey ticket. The setup was a big screen behind the stage and two on either side perched on top of speakers. Yes, the visuals were nice, but from the descriptions before I thought i was going to see holographic birds flying all over the venue. Plus there were some songs that didn't even have video projections. Cheapskates!

Was it the drummer? Yes. Unlike the rest of the band band who looked frail enough to be knocked over by a stiff wind, the drummer was out of place. I thought it was Kenny Aronoff, session drummer extrodinaire, but nope, it was some bald icelandic dude. Wearing a crown. With tassels on the back. And getting way too into it. I should note that everyone was wearing silly costumes. But the crown was poor form, unless he was on the album of the Wild Things.

Would I go see him live again? Hard to say. My expectations next time will be much lower, but it really depends on material. Jonsi's album didn't grab me the way Sigur Ros's material did in college. But then again, I don't even listen to this stuff that much anymore. Maybe I've moved on musically.

1 comment:

David Pratt said...

This is actually a pretty interesting idea. What do you think constitutes moving on in musical taste? Does it pertain to just a particular artist or style, or an entire genre? How long can you listen to different variations on the same theme before saying "yeah . . . I'm gonna go check out what those other guys are doing."