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Steve Kennedy: Sigur Rós in Fine Form as Santa Barbara Bowl Opens Concert Season

The Sigur Rós band takes center stage April 7 at the Santa Barbara Bowl, opening its 2017 concert season. Click to view larger
The Sigur Rós band takes center stage April 7 at the Santa Barbara Bowl, opening its 2017 concert season. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

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The Santa Barbara Bowl opened its 2017 concert season on a rare rainy night that seemed fitting for the melodic drifting tunes of Sigur Rós.

A full house on April 7 was there to support the post-rock ambient offerings of this extremely popular band from Iceland.

The forecast was for rain during the show, but the rain held off during the first set. Just as the house lights came up for the set break, the rain came down. Luckily, it was a light rain and didn’t dampen the spirit of the crowd. Just like the ticket says, “rain or shine” the show must go on.

Somehow the rain seemed to enhance the dark, plodding undercurrents of the band's slumbering beats and falsetto vocals of frontman Jonsi Birgission.

Frontman Jonsi Birgission uses a cello bow on a guitar, highlighting the experimental aspect of the music.
Frontman Jonsi Birgission uses a cello bow on a guitar, highlighting the experimental aspect of the music. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

Sigur Rós was formed in Iceland, and this tour is continuing an experiment in music that began earlier this year and really since the band formed in the 1990s. The group is performing as a trio, eschewing the string, brass and other musicians that have been part of past performances.

The career-spanning, two-set show gave fans an intimate look into their music. The visual on-stage fireworks enhanced the moody vibe that has made Sigur Rós so popular.

The experimental aspect of this music was intriguing and seemed to push the bounds and foster an ethereal contemplation. Jonsi’s use of a cello bow on guitar and his piercing, high-pitched falsetto voice provide a deep look into what a long winter in Iceland must be like.

The 2017 Santa Barbara Bowl season is off to a fantastic start, and with a star-studded lineup this year, fans have plenty to be excited for.    

Steve Kennedy is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

Jonsi Birgission features his high-pitched falsetto as well as his unique guitar-playing style during the Santa Barbara Bowl concert. Click to view larger
Jonsi Birgission features his high-pitched falsetto as well as his unique guitar-playing style during the Santa Barbara Bowl concert. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

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