Since January when we first wrote about this uber-talented band out of Iceland, I’ve been looking forward to catching them live, to see if their live show lived up to my lofty expectations. After their powerful, engaging fourteen song set at The Beacham, there’s no doubt, we witnessed the next huge Indie breakout band.
Of Monsters and Men is often compared to The Arcade Fire, and although there are indeed musical similarities the crew from Iceland have a sound all of their own. It’s unique indie-rock with a folksy flair that comes across even better live than on their hit album, Into The Woods. I do see valid comparisons to The Arcade Fire in their huge potential to become the next Indie rock act to cross over to huge mainstream success, both critical and commercial.
The Beacham was sold out for this show, and the packed crowd was eagerly engaged from the opening notes of “Dirty Paws” to the powerful closing notes of the final encore “Yellow Light.” Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson share the vocals and sounded magnificent all night trading off between the female and male leads. Their voices were pure all night, distinct and captivating, at times reminding me of the exceptional vocals of The Beautiful South which is high praise.
The band has added a seventh member for this tour, and it works magnificently, as they sound bigger, fuller and more vibrant than in their recordings. Their line-up features three guitars (including the left-handed Ragnar), a bass, drums, keyboards, accordion, kettle drum and trumpet, offering up plenty of unique mixes. The band members enjoyed the packed house throughout the show and seemed humbled by the crowd’s constant participation, either clapping or singing along to most songs.
The house was rocking all night, but the fervor kicked up a notch for “Slow and Steady,” where the entire corwd had their hands aloft clapping rhythmically, and then hit a fever pitch for their current hit “Mountain Sound.” They also threw in a nice cover of The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs’ “Skeletons.”
The highlight of the show was an extended version of “Lakehouse,” where drummer Arnar Hilmarsson came out front and led the crowd through an animated singalong. From there, they closed out the set with an exhilaration version of their hit single “Little Talks.”
From there, it was a nice three song encore, that led off with a stripped down version of “Sloom” with just the three guitarists on stage. They were rejoined on stage by their band mates for “Beneath the Bed,” before closing with a raucous version of “Yellow Light,” which featured grewat drums from Hilmarsson, as well as Nanna on kettle drum – a rousing end to a great night of rock music. For the 1200 in attendance it was a great glimpse into the future of rock stardom, and likely a fleeting chance to see them in a cozy venue, as their next trip to Orlando will find them in a much bigger venue.
Slow and Steady
Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
Love Love Love
King and Lionheart
Beneath My Bed