Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jonseing for Jonsi

           A full house gathered in the close quarters of Fox Theater in Pomona on Monday in eager anticipation of their favorite Icelandic siren, Jonsi. The audience made warm conversation, waitresses hustled up and down tiers of tables compiling drink orders, and always from somewhere else in the room, that one distinguishable laugh echoed a good night.
But as Sigur Ros’ lead singer Jón “Jonsi” þór Birgisson took the stage with his band, the buzzing in the air was replaced with something infinitely more special.
White fog-lights caused Jonsi to glow in front of a huge projection screen that illustrated stories of forest animals sprinting, butterflies fluttering, leaves falling, and water at every pace. And when Jonsi started to strum his guitar and sing out in his signature unearthly falsetto, these animations took real life. They started to feed the audience real life aurally. 
When Jonsi opened his mouth, he put listeners in a happy trance. He stirred water in the deepest parts of hearts and made every problem on the planet feel ages away. He weaved stories from his soul and cried them out to us in words that only our hearts could understand.
Experiencing Jonsi play is like dreaming about love. Every note and sway of his voice strikes beautiful chords across heart-strings, and his humble presence is inspiring. 
Each band member seemed to have actually stitched together his own whimsical outfit from fairy tales. Jonsi wore a long, plaid shirt held together by patches and strips of other plaid shirts. Dozens of long ribbons with feathers and beads hung from his shoulders and arms and danced with his movements.
For his encore, “Grow Till Tall”, Jonsi came out wearing a towering, feathered headdress, and boas to match. Lights shaped like birds flew around the theater and the rolling thunder of þorvaldur þorvaldsson’s drums said goodbye in the only way Jonsi could have been expected to –– by embracing the audience one last time with warm sounds and a voice that pierces every facet of unhappiness with unfathomable joy.

 - Story and photo by Garrett Marshall

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