Of Monsters and Men - Listener Concert Review


There is rarely a morning during my weekday “sunrise” commute that I’m not listening to Kelly Jordan’s show on KGSR. Normally during the zip code experiment I don’t play, too fearful of being late to work, but this particular morning I said “what the hell”, and called in. That’s how I won tickets to the Of Monsters­­­ and Men concert and Sound Check Party.

Fast forward a few days and I along with about twenty others were waiting outside Stubb’s trying to find shade before we entered the famous outdoor amphitheater. People were already lining up for the show that would be staring in three hours’ time. I noticed that the Icelandic band, friends who’ve rocketed into a galaxy of indie rock stardom, seemed at ease and like completely normal people. Ragnar Porhallsson joked that they’ve never been so sweaty in all their lives. I quietly thought to myself, “It’s only June, good thing they won’t be performing here in late July.” I didn’t really talk with them much, because what could I really say in Icelandic?! But they seemed genuinely pleased to be meeting with their fans.

Much later we were at an acceptable distance from the stage when the opening act, Half Moon Run, stepped on stage. Half way through their set I was actually wishing I was a little closer to the stage and was forced to stand on my toes to try to see who was playing what because the band members and the sounds they were forming where bouncing all over the place, creating this deliriously rich melodic and rhythm inducing sound. Finally I noticed at least three keyboards and three drums placed strategically on the stage. Unfortunately this Canadian band’s debut album Dark Eyes has yet to be released in the U.S., but look for it in late July. Here’s one of my favorites, “Call Me in the Afternoon."

Then it was time for the main event. As Of Monsters and Men walked on stage I could instantly see that their demeanor had changed from that of the laid back artists looking out to an empty amphitheater to the skilled and talented performers they are, just as equally, embracing the roar of their fans. The spirit seemed the same, but it was as if they had metaphorically put on their animal masks to make them into the monster-men and women who are so cleverly and heartily infused into My Head is an Animal. The performance was nothing short of spectacular, so much so that it was easy to forget the heat and the crowd constantly bumping into you. One of my favorites of the night was a song called “Beneath my Bed.” The song was great, but the back-story was even better. Apparently it’s about how Ragnar almost caught his neighbor’s apartment on fire by cooking spaghetti. True or not, it was a funny intro and showed the massive crowd a small glimpse behind the mask of the Icelandic star. Another one of my favorites of the evening was when they played “Yellow Light”. The crowd was mesmerized as the lighting slowly changed hues to a paler light. The lullaby started out slowly and quietly, but by the end Nanna Hilmarsdottir was whimsically dancing around the stage and Kristjan Kristjansson was climbing to the heights of the equipment on stage. It was an epic ending to their time on the outside stage at Stubb’s.

Living in Austin there is never a shortage of good music or exciting events to attend. I have to admit that in the four years that I’ve lived in Austin I’ve created quite a list of favorites. It’s been pretty easy to edge the Of Monsters and Men concert and sound check party to the upper part of the list. So thank you KGSR, Stubb’s, Half Moon Run, Kopecky Family Band, and last (but certainly not least) Of Monsters and Men for another unforgettable night in the live music capitol! Until next time!

- Rebecca Core

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