Two Wednesdays ago during a particularly slow day at work, I was looking for a way to stream stream MGMT's new album. Amongst the MGMT related pages I found was a link to a cover of MGMT's "Time to Pretend" by Jónsi. The link took me to Jónsi's website. I listened; his version is better. At the beginning of April Jónsi released a new album -- Go -- which I hadn't bothered to check out yet. I had read somewhere that it was supposed to be a mellow acoustic album and the idea of such an album left me feeling pretty indifferent.
But since I was there at his website, it wouldn't hurt to listen to a few tracks, right? Especially after such a compelling version of "Time to Pretend". I could check the new MGMT album after listening to a song or two from Jónsi. But after 30 seconds of "Go Do", the first song from Go, I forgot who MGMT was and I certainly didn't care about hearing their new album.
Almost as epic as anything Sigur Rós has done -- and possibly more epic than Lord of the Rings -- it turns out Go is anything but a mellow acoustic album.
Naturally I made plans that day to see Jónsi in Denver the following week on April 21.
Mere hours after first listening to this album and making said plans to attend his show, I received a communication via text message from my buddy Abel. It read, verbatim:
"Hey do you want go to the jonsi concert at the paramount theater on the 21st... Ill get you on the guest list if you can give alex a thumb drive for me."
The only suitable response to this question was, "Yes yes and yes" (which, by the way, is what I said). Anyway, how Abel knows Alex -- Jónsi's boyfriend and guitarist in his touring band -- is probably too much to explain for now. Just know that it resulted in a guest pass to Jónsi's show last week at the Paramount Theater in Denver.
Epic: an adjective I've already used twice in this post. It's an adjective that I'll use once more in describing Jónsi's live set: epic. Comparisons would be helpful to describe this concert, but really there is nothing I can compare it to because it was unlike concert I've ever experienced, and most likely, unlike anything I will ever experience in the near future. It was like enjoying a live art exhibit -- that's the best I can come up with.
The guest pass Abel hooked me up with included a trip backstage after the show to meet the band. I shook Jónsi's hand -- he was quite the cordial fellow -- but I didn't say much, which is a pretty natural reaction for me in a room full of people (there were six other fans in the room as well), though my silence was punctuated intermittently by quick conversations with Alex.
Once "Gansta's Paradise" began playing on the drummer's iPod in the far corner of the relatively small dressing room, I knew the night couldn't get any better. I took that as my cue to leave, and with a quick thank you and goodbye, I was on my way back to Colorado Springs.