LIVE REVIEW: Jonsi @ The Fox 10/19/10
It’s not every day that you get to take a virtual tour through the Icelandic wild, and experience powerful forces of nature all while listening to a stunning live soundtrack. That’s exactly what the audience got on Tuesday night at the Fox Theater in Oakland when JÃ³nsi took the stage.
JÃ³nsi, the guitarist for ambient indie-pop band Sigur Ros, has garnered quite a bit of buzz around his debut solo project, and much of it has to do with his performance aesthetic. To call JÃ³nsi’s live performance a “concert” is like using “circus” to describe Cirque Du Soleil. It’s an experience, much closer to theater than a concert. What the five-member group produces is on par with a large symphony, creating hypnotic, emotional music inflated by powerful ambient noise that seem to push the walls aside and take the audience on a journey. The music is backed by a screen showing images of nature; animals, forests, insects, rain, fire, and wind.
JÃ³nsi took the stage in darkness with only a guitar in hand, dressed in what looked like a Native American ceremonial robe decorated with feathers and bright colors. This went along with the theme of the night; being close with nature. He let his operatic falsetto voice open the show putting the audience in somewhat of a trance. The lighting was low, and soft images of birds and trees flowed across the background screen. As the sound swelled and gained momentum, the background got more vibrant and active with images of animals frolicking, ants scurrying across the ground and plants blooming. When the song climaxed the band would begin thrashing their instruments, and the screen exploded in red fire and chaos. The music and images had a life cycle theme; destruction and rebirth, night and day, life and death.
The entire performance was an emotional rollercoaster that kept the audience mesmerized. So much so, that when the crescendo was over and the music was reduced to JÃ³nsi tinkering on a piano in a whisper, the crowd was dead silent. It was quite a phenomenon. Not so much as a peep was uttered from the audience who was clearly unsure of whether to cheer or cry, so instead they just stared wide-eyed in overwhelming musical bliss. It all ended with a massive storm. Images of violent wind and rain were accompanied by blinding flashes of light as the drummer struck his symbols simulating thunder. The group came out after their encore to take a bow in true theater fashion, and the journey was over. JÃ³nsi is a live performance not to be missed.
Check out more pictures of JÃ³nsi here.