“They cast the silhouette as big as a monster in this concrete jungle”
Published by Jeff Becker, December 21, 2012
- First Avenue Club, Minneapolis, MN.
- December 21, 2012
- Dirty Paws
- From Finner
- Slow and Steady
- Mountain Sound
- Numb Bears
- Your Bones
- Love Love Love
- King and the Lionheart
- Little Talks
- Six Weeks
- Sloom (encore)
- Beneath My Bed (encore)
- Yellow Light (encore)
Of Monsters and Men are in a dubious position these days. What do you do when you’re one or two songs away from becoming a household name in the world of indie pop/rock standouts? For the sake of sounding original I’m not going to mention the words “Arcade” or “Fire”. They’ve outgrown that comparison as their 2012 slow-burn rise to underground fame is flowing like lava up the volcano, not down.
The power of word-of-mouth has been at full tilt for this group. They blew the doors off of SXSW, released the catchiest song (“Little Talks”) and accompanying video of 2012, they soldout clubs in Minneapolis in the spring at a point where scalpers were fetching 8x face value. The took a stranglehold at Lollapalooza, the House of Blues, the rest of the United States and any country they apparently had a VISA for. That culminated all of that this past week with a 2-night stay at the (not-very-easy-to-sell-out-twice) First Avenue club in the very frigid hip side of downtown Minneapolis. But hey, they’re from Iceland and all I know is that Iceland sounds cold – so let’s just call this a homecoming of sorts.
Rumor has it that night 2 of their stay was the more pronounced show. Night 1 was mired with audio difficulties unless they’ve recruited out-of-tune guitars into their ensemble. Given the longevity of this tour it wouldn’t surprise me if that was purposeful as they’d probably rather have a root canal at this point than play “Little Talks” again. Even U2 probably gets tired of playing ‘One’. But the band retains its charm. They make it painfully hard to dislike them. Co-singer/guitarists Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson (let’s call them Nanna and Raggi) provide facial expressions that make you want to reach into your pocket and offer them your last Jujyfruit. While this is a legit full-band effort, on the stage Nanna and Raggi are the indisputable leaders with skilled backup players that look like they came off the covers of Teen Beat (is that still a mag?) and Vogue. This was a brisk and simple color-by-numbers run through of a show that many of us will look back at a few years from now and say, “Hey, I saw those guys on their first tour when they only had 14 songs to choose from”.
That’s the same stuff I still tell everyone willing (or unwilling) to listen that I saw a certain Canadian band when the only album they had to tour from was called Funeral. Very soon, these First Avenue shows will be referred to the good-0l’ days if the spaceship that Of Monsters and Men is on refuels with the next album. Cherish what you’ve just seen. It’s probably going to get much bigger next time.
click here for our review of Of Monsters at Men at the House of Blues in Chicago – August, 2012
click here for our review of Of Monsters at Men at the Fine Line Cafe in Minneapolis – March, 2012