Returning to their roots as a four-piece, the standard bearers of Icelandic rock and all things ethereal and moody opted Thursday to start in musical darkness, gradually allowing light to seep in until concert’s end, with the closing number being their festive and beat-happy “Gobbledigook.” Sigur Ros’ trademark tonal shift over the course of the evening, while not as monumental as previous Los Angeles visits, remains one of the most affecting motifs in rock, and Thursday’s set fulfilled expectations without exceeding them.
Show celebrated the variety of their 2008 release, “Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust,” and 2005’s bliss-inducing “Takk,” five tunes from which made up a third of the 90-minute concert. One of their better-known dreamy tunes, “Svefn-G-Englar,” which appeared in the “Vanilla Sky” soundtrack, opened the evening on organ-heavy notes, a church-like sound that would be revisited, sometimes solemnly with Jon Thor Birgisson’s piercing vocal wail and elsewhere underneath his violently bowed electric guitar.
First three songs — “Svefn” was followed by “Takk’s” “Glosoli” and “Ny Batteri” from 1999 — required a half-hour to get through, each swelling from the serene to the chaotic and back again. When they chimed in with the upbeat, and relatively short “Vid Spilum,” it hit like a blast of sunshine, an effect they would return to by bringing out the Coldplay-fulness in “Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur” and, with members of opening act Parachutes on ancient marching band drums, the spirited “Gobbledigook.”
Parachutes opened with 40 minutes of atmospherics, many of them static — a musical interpretation of a family preparing for a winterlong hibernation. Keyboards and percussion in slow motion, the vocals barely rise above a whisper or a sigh; while relaxing, it never elevates beyond mood music.