Digression Alert! This post is only tangentially about environmental history, or Canadian history. It is, however, all about MUSIC THAT ROCKS.
On Thursday May 24th “Of Monsters and Men” finally made it to Vancouver to play a show originally scheduled for March 25th. Seeing the show required two road trips from Edmonton to Vancouver — approximately 5000km in total. The show was worth everyone of those kilometres.
For those who have not heard about “Of Monsters and Men” here is the basic information you need:
1) They are Icelandic. 5 guys and 1 girl.
2) Their music is infectious.
3) The lyrics are about monsters, often in forests. This is interesting since Iceland does not have “forests” like in Canada. Icelandic forests are odd squares of trees on the sides of mountains because the natural forests were cut down centuries ago (totally managed to get a little #envhist in there!).
4) Of Monsters and Men are AWESOME. If you are having a bad day turn on any one of their songs and you will be smiling and dancing in no time.
Now, on to the concert. The opener was underwhelming. The sound was turned up way to high and the lead singer didn’t have a particularly good voice. Unfortunate since the original opener was an Icelandic singer called Lay Low and she has a very nice voice.
Due to the previously cancelled concert, there was some trepidation until the band took the stage. They proceeded to play nearly every song off their album and had the packed house at The Venue clapping, singing, and dancing along from the first bars onwards. The big single, Little Talks, was hidden in the middle of the set — after Dirty Paws, King and Lionheart, Mountain Sounds, and Slow and Steady (not in that order) — and got the loudest applause from the crowd. The latter half of the set included Love, Love, Love and Six Weeks. The two song encore finished with Yellow Light and provided one of the most comical moments of the night as Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson asked for yellow lights to go with the song only to have the sound guy turn on blue lights. It took a while, and a restart of the song, to get the yellow lights up and running. The only negative part of the show came from the audience not the band, as during their quietest song, Slow and Steady, those in the audience without concert etiquette carried on conversations loud enough for more than one peeved fan to tell the nearest group to kindly shut-up.
I really could go on at length about the show and this band. I picked up their album in Iceland last fall and listened to many, many times while driving around the country and since returning to Canada. My expectations were very high going into the show and those were more than exceeded. Of Monsters and Men have the kind of energy that is just as infectious recorded as it is live. Their comfort on stage and with the audience, during and after the show, is a testament to the vibrant Icelandic music scene that is so much deeper than Sigur Ros and Bjork.
So I leave you with Little Talks (the song quoted next to this post) and hope it brightens your day.