Jónsi Go Live Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

For fans and newcomers alike, this is a very attractive package

Mike Diver 2010

A release exclusive to the artist’s own website – you won’t find this in any two-for-a-tenner racks – Go Live is just that: Jónsi’s Go album of earlier this year, live. A CD and DVD set, it features recordings from a show at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels alongside three numbers from Brighton’s Dome. Though these sets were recorded at very different stages of the album’s tour cycle – May and September 2010, respectively – everything is sequenced so well that no gaps are heard. It’s natural to assume this is a single performance.

One’s appreciation of the material (obviously) depends on their affection for the Sigur Rós vocalist’s debut solo LP – all nine tracks make the transfer, albeit not in the same sequence as the studio version. Inevitably, it’s the single Go Do that most noticeably stirs the Belgian audience; elsewhere, there’s a stillness and clam from the crowd – it’s more a case of hearing a feather fall, rather than any pins drop. Some of the magic heard on Go is lost through the live performance – the warm textures that can only come through post-production and the right mixing – but anyone who doubted Jónsi’s ability to carry a concert without the backing of his Sigur Rós bandmates is made to look very silly indeed. His vocals soar throughout, effortlessly and with a singular otherworldly elegance.

Of interest to those particularly taken with Go will be the five previously unreleased tracks included in the 14-song set. Volume Pedal Song and New Piano Song are, as their titles imply, primarily sketches, and are exclusive to the DVD. But the droning Icicle Sleeves, rousing opener Still Stars in Water and quietly charmer Saint Naïve slip easily beside familiar numbers. Also included is the hyperactive Sticks and Stones, the CD’s penultimate offering heard over the closing credits of surprise hit movie How to Train Your Dragon. After that, a wonderful rendering of Grow Til Tall, which ends with unexpected turbulence and bombast.

The DVD set isn’t the same as what’s heard on CD – instead, it’s the final dress rehearsal for the tour, filmed back in March 2010. As such, there’s a rather more studied, almost cautious pattern to the playing; but it still complements the audio side of this set really rather well. A hardback sleeve with plenty of on-the-road snaps completes what is, for fans and newcomers alike, a very attractive package.

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