Of Monsters and Men: 20 November 2012 - Terminal 5, New York
The breakthrough band from Iceland has toured for most of 2012, coming back to New York for at least the third time.
I will admit that I'm a bit disappointed that Of Monsters and Men's track "Little Talks" was not far higher on the PopMatters Best of 75 Songs of 2012 list. I wrote the little blurb there thinking the band was gonna be HUGE on people's lists. In fact, I only had Frank Ocean's "Pyramids" ahead of "Little Talks". But so it goes. In the final tally, "Little Talks" only achieved #62 while Frank Ocean reached #3.
I found Of Monsters and Men in the early part of 2012, after they had broken through into the US via the radio of all things. I was happy to catch them in April (Music Hall of Williamsburg; capacity 550) and then again at the end of summer when MTV Iggy had them perform as the first concert in their "Music Experiment" putting them on a vaudevillian style stage and in a setting that harkened back to the '30s with circus performers and aerial acrobatics. A clip from that event follows:
Then at the end of the year, while crafting my ballot for the best of submissions, I couldn't place Of Monsters and Men's album any lower than number one. Replaying the album yet another time, I realized the band would soon be back in New York for two sold out nights at Terminal 5 (capacity 3000). They've come a long way in such a short time and it's probably because their album has tons of energy that's a lot of fun to see in the live setting. One small issue is obvious though when it comes to an Of Monsters and Men show; the band only have the one album, making for a rather short performance. Their setlists may not vary much from night to night. But the band has learned the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Skeletons", which bolsters their repertoire a bit. This quiet cover allows the seven piece performing band to demonstrate their chops, but I'd have preferred a song with more bombast.
It's the anthemic "King and Lionheart" and "Little Talks" that I've come to see most after all. Those two, along with "Mountain Sound" (a newer track not on the 2011 release) and "Lakehouse", sandwiched in between the two big ones, are not just the highlights, they are always the highlights. The infectious energy is overwhelming and uplifting. Of Monsters and Men could do no wrong with these songs. But I guess not enough people have heard them yet, (shaking my fist in the direction of the best of list) so please do yourself a favor and listen to them (more?) now.
Slow and Steady
Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
Love Love Love
King and Lionheart
Beneath My Bed