I've been to a lot of live shows, but no band has ever exuded as much pure joy as Of Monsters and Men. I don't think anyone can listen to or watch them without smiling, it's simply impossible. They've mastered the secret sauce that every artist wants to get their hands on: wildly infectious songs and an attitude that inspires more audience participation than any other show I've attended.
They took the stage last night at the Fox in Oakland with only one album in their arsenal, and although some critics claim that it's not enough for a 15-song set, I beg to differ. Their energetic, playful performance had the sold-out crowd jumping, clapping, whistling, and shouting -- even on the quieter songs like "Slow and Steady." Clear stand-outs were "From Finner," "Mountain Sound," and, of course, "Little Talks." We also got to hear a snippet of new material, the trumpet-fueled "Beneath My Bed," as well as a cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs which you can listen to here. Plus, the three-song encore included a "remix" of "Little Talks," which was more of a dark pop cover that sounded a little bit like The xx, in my opinion -- it was awesome.
Nanna BryndÃs Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar Porhallsson might not have the wild chemistry of other male/female vocalists on stage, but you can tell their friendship runs deep -- same goes for the rest of the band, who frequently switched instruments, waltzed around the stage, and prompted much hand-clapping from the audience.
All in all, this was the perfect way to spend my birthday. I can't wait until we hear more new material from this Icelandic folk rock group -- it can't come soon enough!