It’s just under three years since I first saw Of Monsters and Men in concert, a gig that I enjoyed hugely. They had six musicians on stage for that gig in Amsterdam, so they must be doing okay for themselves given that they were up to nine for this tour (including a couple of brass players). The heatwave was just taking hold in Switzerland that day, so it was pretty hot in the sold-out venue, but actually the air-con did a pretty good job. That said, for the Icelanders on stage it can’t have been pleasant.
They now have two albums under their belt which gave them plenty of material to choose from. It’s a measure of just how strong the new album is that they seemed to play more from it than from their excellent debut album without any negative impact on the mood or energy of the gig. They have a real knack for crafting songs that are instantly likeable. The ingredients are often the same, but there’s enough variation in the musical flavours to stop it from becoming boring. Their drummer, in particular, keeps things interesting and is right at the heart of every song. The fact that they have two lead vocalists also helps, with having them sing in unison but an octave apart being one trick that works really well.
There were lots and lots of great moments, but for me the standout performances were on Crystals and Slow Life from the new album and Lakehouse from their debut. And of course Dirty Paws, Little Talks and King and Lionheart were all big crowd-pleasers on the night.
The support act, from Norway, were really very good. Highasakite, with a female lead vocalist, were in the same musical ballpark but a bit darker. I’m not sure how long they’ve been around or what kind of success they’ve had up to now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up going places. I had listened to a few tracks before the gig and one of them – Since Last Wednesday – was stuck in my head for days afterwards. Here’s the video:
And here’s Of Monsters and Men playing Crystals live. Also an earworm.