Sigur Rós brought the goods, literally.
First and foremost the Icelandic trio gave an indisputably fantastic performance with loops and samples and lead singer Jónsi's sublime and processed vocals enhancing a dynamic set earlier this week (April 18) within the historic theatre at Neuehouse, a private members club in the center of Hollywood.
Here, surrounding the sound booth, were roughly 200 people strewn about on pillows, day beds and rugs laying prone beneath a transfixing light sculpture called a "Sólblossi" (Icelandic for "Solar Flare") designed by Juan Azulay that seemed like a pulsating heart with sinewy tentacles. And then there were the three nearly-naked waifish male dancers slinking about with candles. But what really brought the night together is something else entirely: edibles.
Thank you, oh Lord! Or rather specifically Lord Jones, the company that collaborated with Sigur Rós to create its limited-edition Wild Sigurberry cannabis-infused gumdrops that fueled this evening. The newly launched product was offered to the show's attendees in varying potencies ranging from 5mg of THC for those who wanted a high, or the more medicinal 5:1 CBD-infused candy with a hint of THC, which provides a more relaxing and lucid experience.
"I'm a lightweight," said Sigur Rós lead singer Jónsi who in recent years has begun dividing his time between L.A.'s Silver Lake and Reykjavik--which helps explains his edible dabbling.
"Me and Alex [his boyfriend Alex Somers who he plays in Riceboy Sleeps with and who just scored the film Captain Fantastic] have a house in LA," Jónsi told Billboard in between the evening's two sound baths. "We don't smoke but we've been getting a little bit into edibles. We tried it and we liked them. They're mild, and not too strong."
Jónsi says he prefers the medicinal CBD which he says relaxes his muscles, "without getting too stoned" and says that he has "a hard time smoking pot." When asked if he dabbled tonight he says, "Maybe. Maybe we all did one CBD, because it's very mild and it doesn't get you high."
On this night, it really does seem as if everyone here is on the same wavelength.
Sigur Rós first met Lord Jones founders Rob Rosenheck and Cindy Capobianco at the band's after party following their September show at the Hollywood Bowl. The husband and wife team explained that the meeting was especially exciting for them because it was Sigur Rós’ music they had piped into the delivery room when their twin girls were born.
The duo told Jónsi of the medicated sound baths they had been hosting for the past year at Neuehouse. “A couple weeks later we heard back from Jónsi, that he wanted to collaborate on a product line," Says Lord Jones’ Rosenheck. "We came up with idea of a “Wild Sigurberry” flavored gumdrop inspired by the band’s Icelandic home. Jónsi suggested that they provide the music to the next sound bath to launch the collaboration. It was like a dream come true.” .
Sigur Rós had just come off playing three phenomenal shows with the L.A. Philharmonic as Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is part of a larger Reykjavik Festival (this also featured Johann Johannsson and the contemporary music series Green Umbrella conducted by the festival’s co-curator Daníel Bjarnason). Also upcoming is a Björk Digital exhibition in DTLA (May 19-June 4), plus her sold-out Disney Concert Hall debut on May 30.
"The thing with playing with the LA Philharmonic, which was fantastic, is that it's quite a stiff thing for a rock band to do," says the band’s manager John Best. "So we wanted to kind of balance it with something that was looser."
Going to a show has never felt more liberating than this night's sound bath. Walking through the door and instead of being invasively searched for "contraband," patrons are handed a ticket for a medicinal gumdrop.
Perhaps more than thanking the Lord, gratitude belongs more accurately to California's complex referendum system and Proposition 64. That ballot measure, which will make recreational marijuana sales legal in 2018, passed in last November's disconcerting elections. The massive market that this change will usher in has been estimated at $14 billion. Before then, however, it is legal in the Golden State to possess, share and give away cannabis.
This allows Los Angeles-based Lord Jones to privately invite people to their sound bath and give away samples, They can also sell these Sigurberry edibles, which run between $40-$60, to anyone possessing a California medical marijuana license. They also offer a pure CBD version available nationwide through their website.
"We started Lord Jones to create a best-in-class brand and along the way we became caregivers to a diverse group of patients who suffered from everything from depression to cancer to opioid addiction," says Lord Jones' Rosenheck. Now we are on a mission to help as many people as possible."
The edibles take about 30-40 minutes to kick-in and the first part of the show consisted of low minimal abstract rumblings a la Richie Hawtin that allowed time for the THC or CBD to kick in.
As it did, the few hundred gathered seem to blissfully lose themselves to Sigur Rós' morphing and swirling soundscapes. Some sit in lotus position and meditate, others may have been out cold. In the darkened room one sees several glowing iPhones screens of those who can't quite still their minds, but mostly it is like the chillest of all chill-out rooms.
Certainly pairing mind-altering substances with music is nothing new (from Minton's, the Kool Aid Acid Tests and The Loft to Manchester, the Bhergain and surely Coachella), but experiencing this event surrounded by a crowd of celebrities and tastemakers at Hollywood’s Neuehouse, is a sea change.
If this were to become commonplace, not only would this help make consuming music more enjoyable for many--not to say that mind-altering is essential to enjoying music--but it could also radically redefine the live music business itself.
But music's not the only business that could soon be disrupted by cannabis. Today (4/20), Lord Jones is hosting an "Active Regeneration Workshop" at the chic health club Equinox’s newly opened Hollywood flagship location.
“Anyone who has ever gotten high at a concert understands the joy of mixing cannabis and music, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Said Lord Jones' Cindy Capobianco, “We’re making history today with Equinox by integrating cannabis into fitness and lifestyle. It’s not about getting high, it’s about using cannabis for health and wellness.” Capobianco says of the Lord Jones pure CBD topicals which will be distributed at today’s class.
The proverbial genie appears out of the bottle as Lord Jones brings cannabis to the mainstream and beyond. And based on the good vibrations emanating from Neuehouse last Tuesday night one wonders if this may have marked the beginning of a new form of legally “enhanced” live experiences. And as the music industry continually searches for new business models and revenue streams at the same time people look for new ways to unplug and reconnect, the Lord Jones x Sigur Rós sound bath may be the beginning of something transplendent.
Sigur Rós begins a nation-wide tour with stops in Canada on May 20. They're currently recording a new album with Paul Corley they expect out next year.