Phoenix Concert Theatre
April 12, 2012
Review by: Colton Eddy
Photos by: Julie Lavelle
In the post Arcade Fire world of howling beasts, vast landscapes and lots of plaid, we welcome Of Monsters and Men.
Of Monsters and Men
North American music fans have been long fascinated with Icelandic bands (see Bjork, Sigur Ros) with their frozen ideologies and depths of emotion rooting from those extreme climates. And how about that Bon Iver guy? Considerably the most notable songwriter that draws from Icelandic styling.
It’s not to say that Of Monsters and Men is second-hand band. In fact, their harmonies, marching band styled percussion and blistering trumpeting are a unique cultural exchange of happiness.
Last November at the El Mocambo, we were introduced to co-singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, co-singer/guitarist Ragnar Þórhallsson, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, piano/accordion player Árni Guðjónsson, and bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson. Now, we skip forward just one season, and this collective sells out the Mod Club, upgrades to The Phoenix, and it sells out too.
It felt uneasy to watch the collective adapt to the venue at first, until Nanna awkwardly joked, “Did you know that every polar bear is left handed like me? Well, did you know that we're going to play another song?” before kicking it up a few notches with a satisfying rendition of "Lakehouse". And as these bearded ambassadors belted out their cheery melodies, there was a sigh of comfort through the Phoenix Concert Theater.
All things considered, it was one hell of an impressive set from the crew that had just dropped their first LP My Head Is An Animal on Tuesday. Although, they are also the band that Rolling Stone magazine labeled "The New Arcade Fire" and "Iceland’s version of Mumford and Sons," not to set any sort of pressure.
Possibly the most beautiful moment of the night was during the last song of their encore, "Yellow Light", as the lights grew brighter with the chanting and orchestral climax. Everyone knew: There was no doubt that we were witnessing the brim of something brilliant.