This week the 9:30 Club was completely transformed by the will, voice, and performance of Jonsi for two nights in a row. This tall, elf-like, painfully shy vocalist stood center-stage surrounded by a four-piece band of multi-instrumentalists whose unusual instruments filled the stage. Behind them and flanking the stage, beautifully produced video elements were projected onto screens in concert with an expertly staged light show to re-invent the club’s space in a way I have rarely seen before. The combination of the show’s next-level theatrical production values and the truly beautiful yet bizarre music made for two of the most audience enveloping, emotional performances I have seen at the 9:30 Club in 15 years.
If you are at all familiar with Jonsi’s original band Sigur Ros, you probably have an idea of how BIG he thinks when it comes to his music and extravagant live performances. Jonsi debuted his solo album earlier this year and has been performing various manifestations of this show with his incredible backing band at outdoor festivals, proper theaters, and large nightclubs. His show adapts well to whatever environment it finds itself in. I saw Jonsi perform at the Coachella Music Festival this past Spring and his performance there was so powerfully unique that I described it as “so other-worldly that I don’t even know if it took place in the same time-space continuum as the rest of the festival.” Allow me to expand on that idea when I describe the two shows at the 9:30 Club earlier this week. Jonsi’s musical alchemy somehow managed to transport the entire club and everyone in it into some sort of shamanistic pocket universe for an hour and a half each night. Both the performance and the performance space became enchanted by Jonsi and his band until they returned the club safely to its perch at 815 V St. promptly at 10:30 each night.*