What I saw: the Icelandic band Sigur Rós at the recently restored and repurposed 1920s movie palace known as Kings Theater, on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. You can take the Q train, the B41 or B49 bus, or drive; there is a large, free parking lot behind the theater, shared with Sears.
What I wore: Chinese-made Australian boots, James jeans, indigo dyed Tanner belt; navy peasant blouse, pale blue jacket for non-persons, with royal blue ruffles that I got at Anthropology many years ago thinking it would be a cool thing to wear to concerts with jeans despite its obvious shortcoming of having no pockets. We saw others in attendance in jeans and t-shirts, some wearing their new, $65 band merch hoodies in the cold auditorium, but also a number of people in shiny silver pants or fancy cocktail dresses.
What I did beforehand: drove over two hours to get there in Friday rush-hour traffic, with disagreeing navigation programs. Our route took us into Manhattan, down the FDR, and thorough the Battery Park underpass and tunnel. There a number of cheap places to eat on Flatbush beforehand.
Who went with me: the Bacon Provider, and a 3,674 other excited strangers.
How I got tickets: online, in April. Tickets to their shows often sell out in minutes.
Why I saw this show: I have been a fan of this band since I first heard them on KEXP in Seattle in 2002 or 2003. Other bands still on my need-to-see list include Wilco, Beck, and Air.
Where I sat: Row H, seat 3, behind Elmo’s sister, and between the Bacon Provider and a man with tiny, blue-tinted glasses, a blond mohawk and an arching scorpion tattooed on his head. This fellow told me that the Kings Theater was “like 100 years old, you know, from the 40s or 50s,” and that the renovation of the Kings Theater cost, “like a billion dollars. Or maybe a million.”
Things that were sad: many people do not realize that a billion is a thousand million. A person with a billion dollars could give away 90% of what they had and still be left with one hundred million dollars, with which they could buy a castle, a jet, a yacht, some fine horses and staff to take care of them.
Things that were funny: during the last few songs I focused mostly on whether the drummer had taken his shirt off.
Things that were not funny: Hell is other people.
What it is: more post-modern than a rock band, louder than what I would consider most indie music, more glam than many alternative artists, more musical than most heavy metal, more incomprehensible than most American music, more appealing than almost all more mainstream bands. This was a fucking great show.
Who should see it: those who have transcended the need to understand song lyrics, diners at the Korean taco place, people with noise-reducing hearing protection, folks who like really cool lights shows, anyone who can tolerate strobe lighting effects, hipsters, Icelanders, KEXP-listeners, and me.
What I saw on the way home: a mini-van with all its doors open on the shoulder of where the Van Wyck Expressway becomes the Whitestone Expressway, which I said would be on fire in the movie version of our evening. For the first half an hour I shouted at Google maps, “Why are we going east?” There was a dead baby possum in the road just a quarter mile from home.