Sigur Ros are heavenly at Jodrell Bank

Live from Jodrell Bank 2013 review

By Jamie Licence | Published: Tue 3rd Sep 2013

Sigur Ros - Live from Jodrell Bank 2013 - around the festival site (Sigur Ros)
Photo credit: Jamie Licence

Sigur Ros - Live from Jodrell Bank 2013

Friday 30th August 2013
Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre and Arboretum, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK119DL, England MAP
Daily capacity: 5,000

As venues which take your breath away, Jodrell bank is right up there with a first glimpse of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, or Wembley Stadium, as you approach the site by car the first glimpse of the satellite is awe inspiring. Less than 10 minutes off the M6, it took a matter of minutes to get parked up, and was about a 500 metre walk into the venue. Having had to work we arrived in the early evening, and had missed a couple of the support bands. When we got onto the main field after a quick look around the science discovery we caught the last 2 songs performed by Daughter, the indie folk band really made me wish I had got here half an hour earlier, ending their set with the haunting track ‘Youth’ these guys will be a festival staple for next year I'm sure, and a band I will be delving into in the coming weeks.

Next up were the main support band Polica, a four piece form Minneapolis, with a strong alt synth sound. Front woman Channy struck me as the perfect mix of Bjork and Karen O, she is one of the best front women I have seen in many years, with the sultry moves and plenty of stage presence. She commanded the stage like a seasoned campaigner, and Polica have the tracks to back up the looks, with 2 drummers, one on a traditional kit, and one in charge of the synth work, infusing alt rock with a dirty bass sound. Polica are another band I can see making huge leaps in the next year.

Now came the moment I have waited years for, a chance to see Sigur Ros on an outdoor stage. The time between the set change was used to promote the radio telescope science, and increasing the knowledge of the crowd into the work done not only at Jodrell Bank, but all around the world, with a live satellite link up via the big screens to a professor in South Africa.

After a brief 15 minutes of science, they radioed the control tower to re-align the 72 metre Lovell telescope into place. The telescope span whilst they played a piece of music recorded by Sigur Ros, made from the archived sounds from all the recordings the telescope has found, from the first moon landing to the sounds of stars dying. THe piece gave a real scale to the evening, and it brought the anticipation levels up to a new level ready for the bands arrival. The show was never going to start with a huge bang, but what it did start with was some of the most beautiful sounds I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The band kept supplying this high standard for over 90 minutes.

As people were allowed to bring their own picnics into the concert there was a real family friendly atmosphere, with many family’s sat together enjoying the sublime sounds drift over the night sky. It was clear to see this was a true hairs on the back of the neck evening, with the 72 metre telescope being used as a giant screen for the light show on display. It was hard to imagine a nicer place to be in the world with Jonsi singing most of the tracks in Volenska a language that consists of no fixed words but consists of strings of emotive sounds that fit to the tune of the music. This might under most pretenses sound ridiculous, but Sigur Ros have mastered it, and it all adds up to a sound which can only on times be described as heavenly.

With the buzz moment of the night being a tear jerking rendition of ‘Hoppipola’, brought to most peoples attention by its use on adverts for David Attenborough’s epic Plant Earth.The Lovell telescope had the moon projected onto it whilst lasers penetrated the night sky, and Sigur Ros sure had lived up to their reputation. It was a truly great gig.

review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Jamie Licence

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