The Complex is one of the newest venues to appear on the Salt Lake Music scene. It boasts four different venues under one roof, and each one can hold up to 3,000 people. On this particular night there were two shows, which would explain why for some it was over an hour waiting in line to get in. On top of which fans waited an additional 20 minutes in the uncomfortably warm venue for the headliner to appear after the opening band. However, all this was quickly forgotten when the phenomenal acoustics kicked in and front-man Jón Thór Birgisson (aka Jónsi) stepped onto the stage, bedecked in bright colors and feathers and looking very much like a colorful songbird.
Jónsi is a solo project from his other Icelandic band, the popular indie Sigur Rós. He played most songs off Go, his freshmen album including “Boy Lilikoi” and “Go Do,” but also incorporated a few delightful surprises previously unreleased. If possible, this band is more dynamic than Sigur Rós, featuring all manner of electronic instruments such as computers and fingerboard synthesizers to simple instruments like jingly bells and acoustic and electric guitar. However, none of these instruments are as powerful as his voice. Good music is supposed to evoke an emotional response. Upon observing the audience’s reactions, he clearly did that. His passion and enthusiasm translates well and is incontestably evident on stage.
The man is an Icelandic songbird. His vocals maintained a perfect pitch throughout the entire performance, which lasted well over an hour. He opened his mouth to sing, eliciting tears and goose bumps among the audience. Jónsi’s voice can only be described as hauntingly resonant.
The transitions between songs were nearly flawless and the graphics were perfectly timed as to not be visually overwhelming. The elements of nature were a prominent theme in the show. The vibrant images of trees, leaves, animals and rainstorms lit up the backdrop behind the stage.
Jónsi proved they were humble masters of their craft when, after the final song,“Grow Till Tall” was played, all members of Jónsi came out and bowed to and applauded the audience. Regardless of what language he sings in whether it be Hopelandic (a combination of gibberish and Icelandic) or English there’s no doubt that it’s magical, riveting and one-of-a-kind. Never mind that you can’t understand all the words, wonderful music is universal.