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Video of the Moment #675: Jonsi

 
By on Monday, 9th January 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Generally speaking, I’m usually not a fan of the songs paired to a film: usually one or the other far outshines the other. Cameron Crowe, being a music fan himself, has an unusually deft hand at picking the right songs that work in his film. Take, for instance, Jonsi‘s contribution ‘Gathering Stories’ for Crowe’s latest film We Bought a Zoo. Visually, the animated music video fits Jonsi’s last tour like a glove. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyKK55SUqDk[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Jónsi with Mountain Man at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 9th November 2010

 
By on Monday, 15th November 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

In all my years of going to gigs, I don’t think a live show has ever been more heavily recommended to me than Jónsi‘s. As his tour hit cities across America, my friends would come back and tell me how unbelievable it was, and  many of them described it as life-changing. I’m delighted to say that the Sigur Rós frontman’s show, the second of two he played in the Nation’s Capital,  more than lived up to my expectations. The music was both hauntingly beautiful and inspiringly imaginative. Combining his extraordinary music with gorgeous back-projections (courtesy of 59 Productions) and carefully choreographed lights, it truly was an all-enveloping feast for the senses.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First up, with a stage show that couldn’t be more different, was the trio Mountain Man. Where Jónsi’s set was sensory overload (in the best possible way), Mountain Man was just three women — Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath — stood on stage singing gorgeous, a capella 3-part harmony. If they were feeling fancy, they might even bring out an acoustic guitar. While incredibly simple, their sound is very unique. It is very folksy, but has touches of 1940s-style close vocal harmony. Think of Fleet Foxes mixed with the Puppini Sisters and you’ll get an idea of what I mean. They were well-suited for Jónsi’s audience, who stayed more silent during their songs than I think I’ve ever heard for an opener.

With so little to clear off the stage, the night moved swiftly along to Jónsi’s mind-blowing set. One of the best things about music, and indeed about art in general, is its ability to stir up emotions. In complete awe of the spectacle in front of me, I was at once moved close to tears and made so happy that I couldn’t stop smiling. In fact, days after the gig, I still can’t help getting a stupid grin on my face when I think about it. There is nothing more beautiful in the world than somebody using all of their creativity and talents to express their inner self, reveling in every quirk. And this is exactly what Jónsi does. You get the feeling he turns himself completely inside-out and bares his soul to the audience. Because of this, the gig felt very intimate, even though he rarely spoke to or interacted with the audience. He was mysterious, but not aloof.

Throughout, as on the album ‘Go,’ Jónsi’s characteristic falsetto soars over pounding drums, tinkling bells and strange sounds, expressing a sort of child-like wonder. This makes the costumes even more fitting, as they remind me of children playing dress up. He wore pinstriped pants with a patched, fringed shirt adorned with sequins and feathers. He even put on a feather headdress for the encore. When you combine all of this with the fog and lighting, you get the feeling you’ve walked into a forest glade and stumbled upon a group of woodland fairies — there is truly something magical about it all. If I had to say only one thing about Jónsi’s show, it would be that it’s beautiful — so much so that it makes me feel better about the world just knowing that there is something this beautiful in it. So I urge you to go out and experience the wonder of a Jónsi show for yourself — it’s not something to be missed.

Continue reading Live Review: Jónsi with Mountain Man at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 9th November 2010

 

Video of the Moment #320: Jónsi

 
By on Monday, 9th August 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

‘Animal Arithmetic,’ the second single off of  Jónsi‘s debut solo album ‘Go,’ is essentially gleeful, barely contained musical chaos. There’s so much going on, musically, that it really shouldn’t work, and you’re left to marvel at how he manages to combine the percussion, the strings and his rapid-fire lyrics about mundane daily tasks in such a beautiful way (“wake up, comb my hair / making food disappear”.) And as the song turns the mundane into the spectacular, so does the video: it flashes between soft-focus closeups of the instruments and of Jónsi’s mouth as he sings, and somehow manages to be frantic and relaxing simultaneously. Amazing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj8RZ8TOa4I[/youtube]

Jónsi is hitting the UK for a short tour in September before touring the US in October and November. Details of the UK tour can be found in our previous tour announcement post.

 

Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 
By on Friday, 7th May 2010 at 4:00 pm
 

Electric Picnic has been regarded by some as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. Judging by the line-up released on Wednesday, I’d argue it might have a more interesting bill than Glasto this year. ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music will play their first Irish festival performance ever at Electric Picnic, after having reformed long after we diehards had assumed they’d never play together ever again. I think seeing Bryan Ferry croon his way through ‘Love is the Drug’ and ‘Avalon’ is worth the price of admission alone.

However, if Roxy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other wonderful acts to ring your bell. London electronica act Leftfield have decided to come out of hibernation to play selected festivals this year, including a headlining set at Electric Picnic; Bristol’s Massive Attack (pictured above) will also headline. Expect an epic dance party with these two along with sets by Booka Shade, Hot Chip, the Bloody Beetroots, LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid, Friendly Fires and the Big Pink. Indie rock will also be well represented by appearances by the Fall, the National, the Horrors, Eels and Modest Mouse.

This year’s festival will take place at Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, on 3-5 September 2010. Weekend camping tickets are €240 (approximately £206) per adult (up to two children under the age of 14 are allowed to attend per paying adult, and all children must be pre-registered through the festival Web site). Please note that except for children who are pre-registered this way, the festival is 18+ and photo ID may need to be presented on-site. Camper van tickets are €60 (approximately £52). Tickets for the festival can be purchased from Ticketmaster.


Catch the full lineup (so far as of Wednesday 05 May) after the cut…

Continue reading Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 

Jonsi / September 2010 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 23rd April 2010 at 11:02 am
 

Sigur Ros’ Jónsi is hitting the road once again in September playing a series of UK shows in support of his solo album, Go.

Tickets are on sale now. Catch him at:

Wednesday 1st September 2010 – Bristol Colston Hall
Sunday 5th September 2010 – Glasgow O2 Academy
Monday 6th September 2010 – Manchester Academy
Wednesday 8th September 2010 – Leeds O2 Academy
Thursday 9th September 2010 – Birmingham O2 Academy
Monday 13th September 2010 – Bournemouth O2 Academy
Tuesday 14th September 2010 – Brighton Dome
Friday 26th November 2010 – London HMV Hammersmith

 

In The Post #57: Jónsi – Go

 
By on Monday, 29th March 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Hooray for Jónsi! That’s just one, simplified reaction brewing in my bones after listening to his lovely solo album this week. Upon reading a couple of weeks ago that the lead singer for Sigur Ros was set to release a solo album, I was guilty of the odd, mixed reaction of “is it going to be as good as the band’s albums?”

To my total delight and much relief, I found it to be just as spectacular. If you’re a fan of the band already, then you’re probably aware of “All Alright” (from the album with the naked people on the front cover – með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust) being the first song to be sung in English. Here, two years later, we find Jónsi Birgisson displaying his finest falsetto talents once again in English on several tracks of his recently released solo album, “Go.” This adds a special element to a very distinctive formula of creatively-produced songs. And that’s not to say the air of mystery found in Sigur Ros’s albums has disappeared. Fear not devout fans, a kaleidoscope of ambiguity is still present on this album, and the overall result is a brilliant work of art.

Among the various themes fluttering throughout, perhaps the most obvious is Jónsi’s sense of life. This is heard from the beginning, as his soaring vocals lift off with the booming of orchestral music in opening track, Go Do. The song carries an infectious arrangement that will ring in your head and remind you why you became a Sigur Ros fan in the first place. The heavy use of varied instrumentation (thanks in part to composer Nico Muhly) continues with the thunderous Animal Arthimatic, where we find the singer proclaiming, “Let’s not stop, let’s go live.” An excellent idea to behold behind a volcanic eruption of splendidly layered music slipped in among life’s pleasures of “riding bikes and making out.”

I know that I keep going back to s Jónsi’s full band here, but I think it may serve some purpose for those avid Sigur Ros fans who are hesitant about the vocalist’s debut solo album. Don’t be. You’ll find that “Hengilas” and album close “Grow Till Tall” brings the achingly familiar string arrangements that have become a staple in many of the band’s albums. Jónsi’s delicate and angelic vocals (and yes, what seems to be some crafty Icelandic ramblings can be heard with his solo work, too) shine throughout both the upbeat and mellow moments of the album. Perhaps this why maybe those who follow Sigur Ros will appreciate the singer’s debut more than those who are randomly download ethereal songs from a extraordinary vocalist hailing from Iceland and donning bird feathers.

On a personal level, as if the abovementioned ramblings didn’t give it away already, I fell in love with this latest set of tunes right off the bat. This seemingly fragile album also flexes its muscles, creating a thunderous roar of sounds that, overall, falls nothing short of excellence. Thank you, Jónsi, for reminding me why I love Sigur Ros in the first place.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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