Of Monsters and Men // Thunderbird Arena
The chill in the air on September 28th seemed fitting to welcome the Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men to Vancouver for their first show in three years. If you’re a devoted reader of 987 then this band needs absolutely no introduction.
With lights down and nervous cheers rising up, Thunderbird Arena at UBC took on an almost ethereal, church-like feeling. Slow viking tones wavered over the crowd as the five band members took their positions in near darkness. With just the soulful high notes crying out from Brynjar Leifsson‘s guitar, he was joined by the underlying bass of Kristján Páll Kristjánsson before everything else came crashing into place in perfect precision.
Nanna Bryndis Hulmardottir threw the band into their first song “Alligator” which comes from their latest album “Fever Dream“. Her energetic singing and presence set off the Vancouver show, creating a playful atmosphere.
A huge eye from the cover of Fever Dream hung at the back of stage, looking out over the crowd with a watchful stare. The stage was awash with red and white lighting, the songs moving from upbeat to the more soulful offerings from their older albums. Nanna was a true joy to watch while she would jump back and forth between playfully beating the drums alongside Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, then running to the front of the stage with her guitar and vocals that cut crystal clear across the arena. Ragnar Porhallsson had the sort of soothing voice that felt like you were being played a lullaby softly.
The band’s dynamic played out well on stage and the lighting was perfectly matched with the emotion of each song. The band’s drummer, Arnar, was like a meerkat constantly standing atop his drum kit to engage with the crowd, while still playing with his feet. As if begging not to be forgotten behind his hulking drum-kit, he would clap his sticks high in the air to get the crowd going.
When slower songs were played, almost everyone in the venue raised their phone flashlights to create and ethereal feeling that matched Nanna’s soulful musings. She commented that the sentiment had not gone unnoticed, saying she was almost moved to tears by the show of solidarity with their songs.
The band left the stage for several minutes, before coming back to play four more songs that had the entire stadium singing along. Nanna ran into the crowd guided by a flashlight, skipping in a full circle before climbing back onto stage to finish the set.
Vancouver was the last leg of their five week North American tour, the band now sets sail for Ireland to begin their UK Tour.
Review: Melissa Riemer
Photos: Louis Lay