Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Musicalia: Jónsi - Austin Music Hall - 10/26/10

Well, I definitely haven't been staying on top of things in the Musicalia department, as I never got around to writing about the Pavement* or Caribou** (thanks again, Luke Perry's Distant Cousin) shows that I saw, let alone my ninth time see The Drive-By Truckers, and that's just over the past month.

*Actually better than when I saw them on the Terror Twilight tour.

**First time I'd seen them as headliners.  Still great.  Weirdly felt very old at the show, which weirded me out because most of the crowd was in elementary school when Caribou was still Manitoba.

Speaking of not staying on top of things, this was actually the second time this year that TSLF and I had seen Jónsi, having traveled up to Lawrence in April to see the production when it rolled through the U.S. in the spring.  As described here by a better writer, that show was great.  Liberty Hall was definitely a better setting at which to take in the Jonsi show.  For starters, it was seated, even though the venue normally is not set up for this.  We were in the third row then.

Austin Music Hall is quite a bit bigger, and if you asked anyone who ever went to a show there, the sound is pretty shitty.  Yes, it was recently renovated, but I can guarantee you that acoustic tiling existed before the renovation. 

Aside from the difference in sound, there was also a difference between sets from April 22nd and yesterday, and I don't mean setlists.  The AMH physical set was missing a significant amount of set pieces from the earlier incarnation of the show.  This may not mean much to the lay person, but if you saw that previous version of the Jónsi show, hinted at here, the product at Austin Music Hall was going to leave you wanting.

Jónsi live show by 59 Productions from Jónsi on Vimeo.
Moving past the fact that last night's show didn't meet the absurdly high standards that one would have had if they'd seen the tour at a previous stop (I'd imagine this was a shortcoming that lies on the venue's shoulders, but it is also surely possible that some of the set has taken on casualties since April, which would be unfortunate), the performance was still pretty stellar.  Obviously if you're going to a Sigur Rós, Riceboy Sleeps, or Jónsi show, you have probably gotten past the potentially problematic aspects of the band, namely the made up language that much of Sigur Rós's material has been presented in.  Assuming you can move past that (I didn't have any problems), any show is going to be affective.  The sweeping epic post-rock is going to suck you in.  This time was no different.

Sure, half of the backdrop didn't come crashing down as the deer was eaten this time around, but when the storm hits in the encore, it is transcendent.  If a concert can give you that transcendent moment, even just one, I think generally the ticket (whatever the cost) was worth the price.  After all, isn't that really why we go to concerts?

To be swept away in the moment?

To have the music overpower us and forget about everything else? 

Regardless of the sparser arrangement of set pieces, the Jónsi Go tour will give you that.

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