Of Monsters And Men @ o2 Academy 28 October, 2019

When I think of Iceland and the bands that come from there I realise I don’t know of many  that get as far as Of Monsters And Men. In 2010 it was their release of Little Talks single which saw them rise to fame, sign to a label and subsequently go onto release My Head is My Animal. Then four years later Beneath The Skin. So it’s not a huge surprise that another four years on we have a new album Fever Dream released late this summer.

Starting off is ALLIGATOR the first track from this new album.  This has a soft beat with a dance feel to it, which sees the crowd bouncing to life.  Following into EMPIRE, very dark and atmospheric as Ragnar Þórhallsson gets his first chance to show off his vocals before the band join for the chorus. They compliment each other as with many of their earlier tracks. Heading back to the new album sees AHAY which slows things down again.  This has the same slow dance feel as before,  the harmonies join at chorus as with many of their songs.

Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir really shows off how great her vocals are with the KING AND LIONHEART. Ending with dazzling lights and fading to silence for a brief second before exploding into MOUNTAIN SOUND. The fans are jumping and ecstatically singing along all across the balcony. The thing that is quite notable is how they manage to change up the pace and style with simplicity.   The array of instruments being used with many of the band playing multiple instruments sometimes even through the same track.

The middle of the set sees mainly new tracks from their latest album, all of which get a huge reaction from the crowd.   Most notably WILD ROSE where the lights are sublime and all change in line with rose colours and shades to create an ambience for setting the scene. Looking at the band on stage they are clearly enjoying themselves as are the crowd and while there is the odd flutter here and there, mainly while running off to other instruments there’s not a whole lot of interaction with each other.
Nanna and Ragnar both share the spotlights taking turns.  Nanna races around stage to play other instruments and allow for focus on the other members. All members are taking turn at synths/keys/guitars and vocals throughout showing they are all multiskilled.

It’s clear the fans haven’t quite learnt their new songs yet but there’s time for this as RÓRÓRÓ

has the crowd clapping mid-way through thinking it had finished, I mean, the new material is definitely different in style and you can tell them apart from their other albums easily.  What is key is knowing it is their music from the sound and when they chorus drops they produce these huge sounds.

If we like dancing?  “it would be adorable if we danced away to this one”.  It felt a little bit odd to dance and be happy given the title WARS, still a great song and everyone sways away to the beats. Closing down the end of the show see CRYSTALS bringing up the pace up again before exploding into a catchy singalong chorus.  This song sees the most activity with the band, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson stands tall upon his stool stick raised high and proceeds to play the drums arched over.  Nanna jumped around the stage with the guitarists jamming together closing to the sound ringing out.

Very little time passes before bursting out into exciting LITTLE TALKS. Many of the crowd pull their phones out to record, the remainder are clapping away before Brynjar Leifsson closes solo on one knee and Ragnar jams by twiddling his fingers above really quickly gesturing the speed.

Closing on SIX WEEKS sees the band make an incredibly fast exit confirming they would be back as they hadn’t said a proper goodbye yet

As they return to the stage for the encore a new song for us WAITING FOR THE SNOW.  For this Nanna sits on the edge of the shunt singing to the crowd.  Strong purple backlight are used it is almost like she is telling us a story, before picking the pace and excitement back up for DIRTY PAWS.
Nanna speaks closely with Ragnar and proceeds to announce to the crowd we have one last song “Thank you for having a good time with us tonight here is YELLOW LIGHTS” and its’ the first time we see Nanna jumping around stage with no instruments.  She goes down into the pit to see the fans on the front then back to the stage and the drum riser to pound her bass drum.

To close the band are all front of stage with out of time bows, this is quite funny given how good their timing and sound was tonight.


Set List

King and Lionheart
Mountain Sound
Wild Roses
Under a Dome
I of the Storm
Little Talks
Six Weeks

Waiting for the Snow
Dirty Paws
Yellow Light

Review and Photos: Chris Bowley

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