On the day the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, said to the West, “We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new cold war”, the Icelandic four-piece Sigur Ros took to the stage in St Petersburg. In an austerely beautiful palace of culture, where once the nomenklatura would have greeted the latest grain figures with synchronised clapping, the band’s openly gay, Gormenghastian lead singer, Jonsi Birgisson, stops sawing at his guitar with a cello bow and invites members of the audience to rise from their seats and dance. The suggestion does not go down at all well with the hostile, preperestroika-style security guards. One in particular seems especially irked. When a heartshaped red balloon slips its owner’s grasp and floats serenely up towards the top of the proscenium arch, the crowd watch it with smiles on their faces. He, on the other hand, follows its trajectory with tiny, angry eyes, and shortly afterwards coordinates a show of muscle that forces people back into their seats… read the rest of the article via Times online here and if you haven’t heard Sigur Ros do yourself and buy their records.