Sigur Ros returns to the Mann Center for an enthralling performance (photos, review, setlist)

Sigur Ros | Photo by Noah Silvestry |
Sigur Ros | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

Icelandic ethereal rock group Sigur Rós paid a visit to Philadelphia’s Mann Center this past Friday in support of their most recent record, Kveikur. Fans were treated to a beautiful evening, and more importantly, an incredible musical experience. Sigur Rós is unique in countless ways; the lyrics are (mostly) in Icelandic, they have complete brass and string sections, and their frontman, Jónsi Birgisson bows a guitar on nearly every one of their songs. What struck me about their live performance was the dichotomous nature of their music rhythmically, harmonically, vocally and compositionally. It is not often that I enter a concert with a simple interest in an artist’s work and leave craving more, though this was the case with Sigur Rós.

The band opened their set with the atmospheric “Yfirborð”, a song which, at its beginning, seems to burrow its way through a sonic underground before reaching its cadenced and rhythmic coda, all the while retaining the modulated timbre of a telephone call. They moved on to what might have been the most powerful song of the evening, “Brennisteinn.” This track, if none other, best captures the more driving and forceful sound they’ve introduced with their most recent record, Kveikur, and hit all the right notes in the live environment. The aforementioned multi-faceted nature of their music couldn’t have been more present; dissonance met melodiousness and dynamic rhythms were juxtaposed to moments of serene string interludes.

Another song that stood out was “Olsen Olsen”, a tune that appears on their first record, and whose string/brass refrain evoked an uncanny feeling of gratification. A couple songs later, I was delighted to hear “Stormur”, another track off Kveikur that exemplifies Birgisson’s ability to use his voice as no less than an instrument; perhaps it is that I, being an English speaker, take lyricism out of the equation, or that the instrumentality of his voice is somewhat of a mission statement of his. I couldn’t help but appreciate even Birgisson’s inward breaths as being of a deliberate musical essence.

Immediately following “Stormur” was “Sæglópur”, a song so formidable that I was convinced we were underwater, and appropriately so, the song’s title being Icelandic for “seafarer”. It was this power to instill emotion and feeling by which I was captivated listening to Sigur Rós’s music. It was their dynamic and compelling sound, Birgisson’s beautiful and mellifluous voice and bowed guitar that acted as a distinct yet completely organic sounding tie-in between songs that have won me over.

Opening for Sigur Rós was Julianna Barwick, whose avant-garde chordal arrangements were, at the very least, interesting. However, the ubiquity and lack of dimension in her music ended up being a real downfall, as a lot of the crowd seemed to lose interest relatively quickly. That is not to say, however, that I did not have an incredible time. In a mere few hours, my perception of a band was changed entirely for the better. Sigur Rós, you’re doing it right!

Continue reading →


Sigur Ros release new FACT mix, available to stream/download (playing the Mann 9/20)

fact-mix-sigur-ros-7.1.20131[1]Sigur Ros – whose latest full-length, Kveikur, is out now via XL – have delved into the world of DJing (under the name Triple Nipple), and just released a brand new mix for FACT Magazine. Just short of an hour long, the mix is available to both stream and download via FACT’s website here. For any fans of Sigur Ros’ previous work, be warned, this mix bears little resemblance to the rest of their backcatalogue. They said in a statement recently that “this is how Sigur Ros get down and unwind in the dressing room and on the tour bus after a show” and that “if you are expecting a mystique enhancing exercise of deep solipsism, look away now.” The band, currently on tour in support of Kveikur, will be coming to Philly this fall, for a show at the Mann on September 20th. Tickets are on sale now. More info can be found here, and listen to the Kveikur track “Ísjaki”, below.


The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Steve Gunn Trio, W.C. Lindsay, Disclosure and more)

Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry |
Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

Relive the weekend’s live music with reviews and photos of The National, Father John Misty, Devendra Banhart, The Bailey Hounds and Of Monsters and Men [link]

The Steve Gunn Trio recorded a Key Studio Session while on tour with Kurt Vile [link]

War on Drugs bassist and Nightlands frontman Dave Hartley returns to The Top of The Key with a look at basketball nicknames [link]

New Jersey’s Aspiga premiered a new song called “Direction” from an upcoming 7″ split [link]

Take an in-depth look at Break It Up‘s debut self-titled LP, featured this week on Unlocked [link]

Stream the exclusive premiere of W.C. Lindsay‘s super fun Tree EP [link]

WXPN announced the daily line-up for this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival [link]

We have a Gotta Hear Song from Disclosure and a Gotta Watch Video of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell this week [link and link]

PhilaMOCA announced their second annual ERASERHOOD FOREVER celebration of David Lynch and the venue’s Callowhill neighborhood [link]

Last Good Tooth teamed up with Folkadelphia for this week’s live session [link]

Sigur Ros, Kate Nash and Neko Case announced Philly shows for the fall


Sigur Ros Plays the Mann Center on 9/20!

sigur ros

WXPN welcomes Icelandic heavyweights Sigur Rós to Philly on September 20th to play the Mann Center main stage. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, June 15th at 10 a.m. The experimental, ambient, post-rock outfit will be releasing their seventh studio album, Kveikur, on June 18, after a  year of worldwide touring. They released “Brennisteinn” as the lead single back in March, and “Ísjaki” as a radio-only single in April. Sigur Ros played a crazy awesome show at the Skyline Stage at the Mann last summer (two days in a row due to overwhelming demand), so be sure not to miss them this September. The new leg of the tour will include an 11 piece band and all of their new material. Meanwhile, check out the eerie and exhilarating music video for the first single, “Brennisteinn.”


Contest: Win an autographed LP and a pair of tickets to Sigur Rós’ sold-out Mann Center show

Ethereal Icelandic group Sigur Rós returned this year with Valtari, their sixth full-length album and first in four years. They’re supporting it with two sold-out shows at the Skyline Stage of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts this weekend, and for today’s contest, we’re not only giving away a pair of tickets to the Sunday night show, but a autographed vinyl LP of Valtari. All we’re asking you to do is weigh in on some (somewhat easy) band trivia: Sigur Rós named itself after singer Jónsi Birgisson’s sister. But what is the literal translation of the band’s name? Leave your answer in the comments, and we’ll choose a winner at random this afternoon!


Sigur Ros premieres new video for the Valtari Film Experiment; XPN Welcomes them to the Mann on July 29-30

In May, Sigur Ros proposed a film experiment for their new album, Valtari. The experiment was to give complete creative freedom to various filmmakers to create a music video for a song off the new album. They recently released the fourth in the series for the song “Rembihnútur” directed by Arni & Kinski. The video is truly a work of art, with beautiful cinematography and vivid images of people with closed eyes. You can review the other videos from the film series here, and watch out for the next one to be released on July 16th. WXPN welcomes Sigur Rós to the Mann Center for two nights on July 29th and 30th. You can purchase tickets to the show on the 29th(the 30th is sold out) here.


Download a new Sigur Ros song, “Varuo” (playing the Skyline Stage at the Mann in July)

Sigur Ros release their new album Valtari on May 28th. They start their North American tour in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 29th and Monday, July 30th at the new Skyline Stage at The Mann. Tickets to the show on July 30th are sold out, however tickets are now available here for the show on Sunday, July 29th. Below, download a new song, “Varúð,” from the band’s forthcoming album.


Just announced: Sigur Ros adding second show at The Mann’s Skyline Stage on July 29th

Sigur Ros recently announced their first North American tour in four years with a stop in Philadelphia at the new Skyline Stage at The Mann on July 30th. The band has added a second show at The Mann’s Skyline Stage on Sunday, July 29th. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, April 28th at Noon. Tickets to the July 30th show are sold out. Sigur Ros will be touring in support of its upcoming sixth studio album, Valtari. Go here for tickets and more information.

You can watch the video for “Ekki múkk” off Valtari below.

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk from Sigur Rós on Vimeo.


Just Announced: Sigur Ros to kick off its first North American tour in four years at The Mann’s Skyline Stage on July 30th

The members of Sigur Ros have just announced that the band will perform at the new Skyline Stage at The Mann on July 30th in Philadelphia; the performance will be the first show of the Icelandic post-rock band’s first North American tour in four years. Sigur Ros will be touring in support of its upcoming sixth studio album, Valtari (due May 29th on XL Recordings). Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20th, via, 800-745-3000,,, 215-893-1999 or The Mann Box Office. For more information, visit or Full tour dates are below.

You can watch the video for “Ekki múkk” off Valtari below.

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk from Sigur Rós on Vimeo.

Tour dates:

7/30 Philadelphia, PA @ Skyline Stage at The Mann
7/31 Brooklyn, NY @ Prospect Park Bandshell (Celebrate Brooklyn)
8/1 Toronto, ON @ Echo Beach at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
8/3 Montreal, QB @ Osheaga Festival Musique Et Arts
8/4-5 Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
8/8 Seattle, WA @ The Paramount Theater
8/9 Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield Amphitheatre
8/12 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery