Posted in music | pictures on October 8, 2007

review & photos by Bao Nguyen

Sigur Ros & Heima director Dean DeBlois
Sigur Ros

While thousands flocked out to Randall's Island to see Arcade Fire and friends, I was one of the lucky few to catch the early screening of Sigur Rós' new film, Heima, which documents the band's 2006 summer tour of Iceland.

continued below...

The film perfectly captures the beauty of the band's music with stunning cinematography of Iceland's landscapes seamlessly blended with the band's live performances. The rare live interview with Sigur Rós revealed the sense of humor of a band that is so often labeled as pretentious based on the complexity and granduer of their music. They jokingly referred to Lionel Richie and Prince as their main musical inspirations, and that they were mainly into music for the money, boys, and girls. The acoustic performance was a repeat from the previous night's secret performance which including "Ágætis Byrjun", "Heima" (new song) and "Njósnavélin") but with onw notable exception - a very clever fan used the last question to request an encore from the band which was met with roaring applause from the audience. After much deliberation on what to play, they chose to play an unfinished song from their new album, which compared to their previous albums, would rely more on more simple arrangements relying mainly on guitars, pianos, and drums.

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Interviewer John Seabrook from the New Yorker
Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros

The screening and performance took place at Florence Gould Hall in the French Institute in NYC (Oct 6, 2007). All photos by Bao Nguyen, except the last one which was captured by Zach Klen during sound check. There was a second screening and performance at the same place later that night - at midnight.

Bao also went to the New Yorker Festival's Diplo party.

---

      

Comments (41)

You lucky...

Posted by Eduardo | October 8, 2007 5:02 AM

the music slut seems to have been at the midnight one.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 7:06 AM

I was likely one of the few who went to both Randall's and the midnight screening. All in all it was a lovely day!

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 7:53 AM

My experience is mixed about Saturday. Foremost, John Seabrook was annoying. I knew Sigur Ros wouldn't be a good interview considering how introverted Jonsi is, but didn't think the interviewer would be crap.

The acoustic show was nice, but nothing special. Behind electric guitars is where they belong IMHO, but it would have been good if at least Amiina were there.

Movie could have also been better. You really didn't get a feel for all the places they have been to or the people. Most of the music was not live.

Still, an amazing band. Can't wait for new music and a proper tour.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 9:11 AM

was the midnight set the same as the 7:30 set?

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 9:20 AM

Yeah, the interviewer wasn't really up to the task, and their live performance was one of the least interesting in recent memory. But they're charming guys.

Film was beautiful, though it ends sort of abruptly.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 9:23 AM

how could anyone have anything bad to say about that night? i'm surprised to read people complainging... the film was stunning, the guys were charming, the music was beautiful. And while a short acoustic set lacks the intensity of a traditional sigur ros show, it was amazing and we were lucky to have witnessed it. sure some of the audience questions were cliche and a tad annoying, but so what? we were lucky to be there and to have had that opportunity at all.

Posted by jp | October 8, 2007 9:55 AM

they also played a few songs on Friday at the Wordless Music Series...

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 10:09 AM

This night WAS the full embodiment of Sigur Ros. If you felt it was lacking then you just may be looking in the wrong place.

We could not have asked for more. Just simply amazing. Gave us more insight in to who these guys truly are and where this music comes from. Can not wait to see the film again.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 10:10 AM

I was at the midnight show, so I didn't get to see an interview, but I agree about the acoustic set and movie. Both were good, but nothing spectacular. I believe a good documentary is one were even a non-fan would enjoy with the film, but I doubt this will be the case Heima. I could be wrong, but I am a fan. I didn't get a good feel for some of the places visited. The director would focus on a 1' patch of brook instead of showing us a river. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to have seen the movie, but it was just so/so.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 10:13 AM

It's so frustrating that the new song Heima is not on the new acoustic album... that song is amazing.

http://www.nyctaper.com/?p=65

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 10:16 AM

I thought the entire experience was intimate and brilliant, from the acoustic performance to the film. it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage the band in such a tiny setting.

Seabrook was absolutely horrid, but even he couldn't ruin it.

the acoustic set was chilling, and the movie was totally gorgeous. the friend who i went with never even heard of sigur ros before that night and she thought it was wonderful.

im a bit befuddled by the negative reactions. perhaps a product of misplaced expectations for what the thing was supposed to be. it totally lived up to its bill

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 11:06 AM

"they also played a few songs on Friday at the Wordless Music Series..."

as mentioned in the review.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 11:31 AM

we got to randalls island and saw les savy fav, blond redhead, LCD (which raged (much to my surprise as i don't love their records)) and my fifth arcade fire show of the year. we left after rebellion, caught our car service, got to the french institute, got shafted by ticketmaster on my tickets, got 2 more at the box office, went in, sat down.

the acoustic set was mindblowing. ive seen sigur ros many times before, so maybe it was just the thrill of seeing them acoustic, and the reality that this music could have been written hundreds of years ago and doesnt require the shreiking crescendos of distortion and lights. i was really into it.

the movie i thought was alright. it was cool to watch the people's faces as they watched the show, but i found a lot of the nature footage to be ameteurish and unneccessary. They could have taken it more seriously, but i feel like there was a lot of..."Wait! pull over, lets set up the camera over that random stream and watch the water flow for a minute" or...when they came across the ruins of an airplane in the icelandic wilderness...they cut to this shaky footage of flying to somehow represent the aircrafts demise. kinda cheesy.

the music and concert footage of course was stellar, but nothing new. the interviews (in the movie as there was none at the midnight show) were cool to see. the drummers pretty funny :-).

anyhow. thats my shit. id be less analytical had i not been on acid.

Posted by saturday on acid | October 8, 2007 11:52 AM

I'm surprised so many people found it disappointing as well. I went to a screening in DC and heard multiple comments of "greatest movie ever" and "lets go to Iceland." I thought there was a great sense of the places they played, the movie is as much about the people and places they visited as the band and their music. As for non-fans not liking it; I convinced my girlfriend (non-fan) to come with and she found it excellent. She even commented that she really had no interest in the film but was blown away. I'd say that makes a very successful film.

Posted by west | October 8, 2007 11:54 AM

check out my shitty video. hard to record there, esp being in the 3rd row.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW3N4wkqw7k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMw0cqs1dJ0

Posted by drLES | October 8, 2007 12:05 PM

i have never heard of a person on acid using a car service...

ah nyc!

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 12:08 PM

Despite "jokingly" saying that they're only in it for the money, I still somehow find this band SO INCREDIBLY FUCKING PRETENTIOUS.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 12:09 PM

"Despite "jokingly" saying that they're only in it for the money, I still somehow find this band SO INCREDIBLY FUCKING PRETENTIOUS."


youre just SO not on the level brah. its ok to be yourself, just know that you are inferior to others

Posted by bvcomment RULER | October 8, 2007 12:25 PM

i think to analyze sigur ros as a band through american eyes is to do them a disservice.

for me, the film illuminated the fact that iceland is a very unique place, with very unique people. the concert series sigur ros put on in iceland would NEVER work in the US.

it is pretentious to have artistic values? is it pretentious to look backwards before looking forwards?

if sigur ros was from the US, their free shows would be sponsered by coca cola, and the stage would be a giant discover card.

give me "pretentious" any day.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 12:30 PM

Sigur Ros are a bit pretentious. Think about it, they sing in a made up language, but this music cannot be made otherwise. When you create something so powerful, some pretentiousness comes along with it.

The movie wasn't pretentious at all. It was a good movie, nothing mind-blowing, but still good. Statements like "greatest movie ever" and "lets go to Iceland" just scream fanboy to me. It's OK if you favorite bands puts out something mediocre every now and then. Radiohead releases "Hail To The Thief", but I will forgive them for that. Heima is just good, stop being a fanboy.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 12:31 PM

its really sad that people complaining about the performances were even able to obtain tickets to this screening. and its even more sad that people are complaining about the midnight show, period. sigur ros ADDED the second show for us, the supposed fans and we in turn take time to complain about it rather than be grateful for them adding the 2nd show? ungrateful brats.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 12:48 PM

Amazing logic. Since shows always have fans that paid for tickets, by your logic no one should ever complain about a bad show. We all should be grateful.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 1:01 PM

dream concert:

sigur ros in the daft punk robot suits playing an electric set in a non-pretentious locale whilst the godfather (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) plays on a video screen interspersed with images of randall's island exploding and subliminal advertising for a secret arcade fire show in the broom closet of the domino sugar factory. there would be 5 encores, each taking the crowd deeper and deeper into middle earth through a portal in the broom closet.

one in middle earth, david bowie would appear in full "labyrinth" costume to speak out against the evils of placing music in commercials and perform ritual sacrifice on the guy from band of horses. the 'tall guy' would try to intervene, but would eventually be struck down by win butler's illegal handcheck.

the night would end with girl talk mashing up the tour only arcade fire/lcd soundsystem 7" with the distant sounds of randall's island exploding, and then calling upon dan deacon to summon radiohead's magic carpet from the rainbow world and purchase the super secret deluxe import-only-tour-only-rare-white-vinyl-picture-disc-expanded-insert-biographical-limited -edtition-version-alpha-beta-2 for the price of his own choosing.

now on to the dream afterparty...

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 1:13 PM

so...anonymous and saturday on acid were def in the same car service then

Posted by anonymous on acid? | October 8, 2007 1:26 PM

amazing logic? i did not say that no one should complain about ANY SHOW EVER. sigur ros added the 2nd show because they felt bad the first sold out so fast & most of their fans were not able to get tickets. they didnt NEED to add a second show on the same night, but they did that because they actually care about their fans. apparently you are too shallow to understand this logic anon 1:01.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 1:26 PM

Brilliant

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 1:27 PM

anon: 1:27.

BRILLIANT? FUCK YOU FANBOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by brooklynveganbasher | October 8, 2007 1:44 PM

i saw the trailer for heima, and i had shivers. lucky dog.

Posted by connie | October 8, 2007 1:51 PM

So any time a performer adds another performance because prior ones sold out, it means no one should complain if the content was not great? Gotcha!

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 2:30 PM

>Think about it, they sing in a made up language, but this music cannot be made otherwise.

um, icelandic is a "made up" language? who knew!

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 2:58 PM

Actually, he's talking about the "Hopelandic" that Jonsi used to call the older songs.

Posted by nyctaper | October 8, 2007 3:05 PM

The most important point made by the band that night was the conversation about how they do not have "The Music Industry" over there in Iceland. They could never have been the band that they are today had they grown up in Seattle [their words]. They then choose not to go any further with that point, they did not want to have an "Industry" conversation.

They are one of the most critically respected bands in the entire world, all mid-20's, amazing artists in many ways, able to balance the BS of the Music Industry and still stay close to their roots.

The importance of their music goes beyond a genre and their importance goes beyond their music.

They deserve more respect than most imagine.


_________


I am a fanboy and proud of it.

Posted by pink | October 8, 2007 4:00 PM

i second you, pink. This was my 20th time seeing sigur ros and Heima managed to make me feel even more grateful & happy that Sigur Ros exist. There is truly no other band in the world like them around & I couldn't agree more with the above commenter that said that "this night WAS the full embodiment of Sigur Ros. If you felt it was lacking then you just may be looking in the wrong place."

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 6:46 PM

Sigur Ros is what it is, in good part, because they are Icelandic. The country is incredibly beautiful and inspires creativity. The Icelandic people are unique, warm and supportive, and the film was meant to celebrate the place they call home and their community. If you couldn't appreciate the film, the set or the interview, at least try to appreciate that they made the film to celebrate their homeland.

I saw the film in DC and loved it. I thought it did it's job in relaying the band's appreciation for their home and their people. I'm sorry I missed the chance to see them play an acoustic set.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 9:08 PM

Iceland is a shithole.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2007 10:07 PM

it wasn't an acoustic "set", it was just three songs, and the first show was able to get them to play that song they were in the middle of writing.

did the midnight show goers get to see a 4th song or was it just the three??

Posted by Anonymous | October 9, 2007 12:57 PM

just the three.

Posted by Anonymous | October 9, 2007 2:12 PM


"dream concert:

sigur ros in the daft punk robot suits playing an electric set in a non-pretentious locale whilst the godfather (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) plays on a video screen interspersed with images of randall's island exploding and subliminal advertising for a secret arcade fire show in the broom closet of the domino sugar factory. there would be 5 encores, each taking the crowd deeper and deeper into middle earth through a portal in the broom closet.

one in middle earth, david bowie would appear in full "labyrinth" costume to speak out against the evils of placing music in commercials and perform ritual sacrifice on the guy from band of horses. the 'tall guy' would try to intervene, but would eventually be struck down by win butler's illegal handcheck.

the night would end with girl talk mashing up the tour only arcade fire/lcd soundsystem 7" with the distant sounds of randall's island exploding, and then calling upon dan deacon to summon radiohead's magic carpet from the rainbow world and purchase the super secret deluxe import-only-tour-only-rare-white-vinyl-picture-disc-expanded-insert-biographical-limited -edtition-version-alpha-beta-2 for the price of his own choosing.

now on to the dream afterparty..."


man i wish i would've seen whoever-posted-this-above at the show... i would've brought you with me to the afterparty! awesome!!!

Posted by tiffany | October 10, 2007 1:30 AM

Having been to Iceland, I found this movie chilling and incredibly emotional. I feel as though once visiting this country you begin to understand why the music sounds the way it does and why the people are so proud.

Posted by RoRo | October 10, 2007 2:05 PM

in case anyone may still read this as its been awhile since this has been posted, but if anyone still wants to see the film, it's playing at rutgers in new jersey on 11/18. $7 general, $5 if you're a student of some kind. short train ride away from ny also. go to www.njfilmfest.com for info.

Posted by shawn | October 28, 2007 4:33 PM

Leave a Comment