Review: Sigur Ros, Edinburgh Playhouse

Sigur Ros, Edinburgh Playhouse, EIF ****

When it comes to Sigur Ros, there are only two reactions: love or hate.

To some, the Icelandic post-rockers are more than worthy of the gushing praise bestowed upon them by the music press, while others are irked by what they see as more than a whiff of pretension.

The naysayers, of course, were nowhere to be seen as the Reykjavik band played the first gig of their two-night stint at the Edinburgh Playhouse last night as part of the EIF.

It was Sigur Ros’ first appearance in the Capital since 2013 when they sold out the Usher Hall – and just like last time, they did not disappoint.

The trio of singer Jonsi Birgisson, bass player Goggi Holm and drummer Orri Pall Dyrason kicked off proceedings from the back of the stage where they could scarcely be seen behind stunning state-of-the-art 3D projections. After three songs, they moved centre stage, and this is when was things really went up a notch.

As they worked through a set of songs from their impressive seven-album back catalogue, it wasn’t hard to see why some people love Sigur Ros so much.

Live, they are astonishing.

Birgisson’s falsetto is off-the-scale at times, while Dyrason, who really comes alive in those more epic, soaring moments, is easily one of the best drummers in the business. Holm, who flits between bass and a host of other instruments, is not too shabby either.

It’s a meditative experience watching Sigur Ros live, and it makes demands on the audience, who don’t even have the respite of disappearing to the bar for ten minutes (it closed as soon as the gig started).

No one seems to mind though. Instead, everyone just sits there, mesmerised, heads nodding.

Marius McKee

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