I’d like to preface this article by mentioning that Of Monsters and Men was one of the bands I wanted to see MOST at SXSW this year. And of course, with so many things going on, I kept putting off seeing them at their billions of shows until the very last possible one, where I got stuck in a line-up and didn’t get in in time and cried a little on the inside listening to them from the outside.
So how excited was I to see them in Toronto, on their last official North American tour date? Pretty darn excited! And turns out, I was in for what will no doubt be one of the most memorable concerts of the year…
Arriving just in time to see the band hit the stage, the first thing that surprised me was as soon as they hit their first note, the sold-out Toronto audience – who can most often be characterized like THIS - seemed entirely enchanted by this charming Icelandic 6 (sometimes 7)-piece. Because there was just so much to love about these folksters and their set. So much. And then some more!
First, there was the inviting stage set-up with the adorable twinkling lights coiled around the microphones and hung from the back of the stage, that made the normally drab venue look like someone’s cozy living room, if living rooms looked like big venues.
Then there was the band. The ridiculously cuteness explosion members of the band, whose genuine delight in playing for this crowd – even though they must be exhausted from doing this for months now – was so contagious that I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a more energetic and charmed Toronto audience. Of Monsters and Men could have told us they were in a cult, and made us drink some kool-aid and asked for all our money, and we probably would have joined, and still nodded and smiled because we were all just so entranced!
And then, there was the music. Oh, the music! The blended harmonies of Nanna Bryndis and Ragnar Porhallsson intervened with acoustic guitars and drums and the trumpet result in a journey that tells of mythical wonderlands and little cute creatures and rainbow brights and fluffy bunnies. And I swear I wasn’t even on drugs.
Simply put, the band’s live performance and beautiful story-telling lyrics conjure up a photo of epic, magical proportions.
Most memorable moments include:
The spontaneous clap along the Toronto audience started during King and Lionheart. I mean, Toronto audiences are usually way too cool for clap-alongs, even when asked. So this was pretty epic.
The 10 year old kid, knowing every single lyric and singing along at the top of his lungs to the band’s every song. He was standing next to a hipster babe with the goofiest grin ever, standing next to a total bro, having the time of his life. Last time I saw such a diverse audience loving the heck out of their lives like this was at a Bon Jovi concert.
The drummer is an animal! His enthusiasm and energy and everything ever in life awesome was so contagious, I couldn’t help myself but spend half the show with my mouth gaping open and sporting the most ridiculous smile on my face.
Meanwhile singer Nanna had the aura of about 10,000 angels. When she would casually glance over at the rest of the band and they would all share a laugh or smile or giggle, I swear my heart melted a million times over. New girl crush? Yeah, totally.
If everyone in Iceland is as adorable and talented and seemingly-giddy as the rest of the band is, I’m definitely booking a plane ticket!
The whole freaking show! It was so good. So good, you guys! So good that you should probably go on their website now and check how soon they’re coming to a town near you!
You can also buy their album here.
And should probably watch this video, too: