If a packed Aragon Ballroom wasn’t proof enough, the pre-show chants, whoops, and chorus of “Little Talks” lyrics were clear evidence of Chicago’s excitement for Of Monsters and Men. One of the biggest indie bands to come out of this year, the Icelandic band did not disappoint on Wednesday night.
Almost as if they were sending the excitement back to the audience, the band played a short but enthusiastic set brimming with unique Of Monsters and Men personality. The band has five core members, but added 2 for this tour, only strengthening their sound and presence on stage. The set of large white bubble lanterns with colorful lighting only highlighted the bands playful manner – which when combined with the authentic OMAM sound produced an eruption of applause from the audience at the end of each song.
But what truly set this band apart from the generic indie craze of 2013 are the harmonies between lead vocalists Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Pórhallsson. Exemplified during “King and the Lionheart”, the sweet and passionate vocals accompanied by neo-folk instrumentals were exactly what the crowd came to hear.
Of Monsters and Men has a rare ability to display the variety of instruments in their repertoire. Rather than sticking to the traditional guitar solo, OMAM showcased the trumpet in their internationally recognized single “Little Talks” – procuring the greatest response of the evening with audience members belting lyrics and dancing to the beat.
Although the audience was not disappointed by the set, Of Monsters and Men is touring with a single album. With a folk cover of “skeletons” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the set was just over an hour of midtempo, indie songs. OMAM will need to vary their style with more up-tempo and fast paced songs on their next album in order to provide their audience with more opportunities to show off their love for the band.
The band chose to encore with “Lakehouse” and “Yellow Light”, ending the evening on an emotion-filled note, and as is not often seen in live performance nowadays, keeping the performance short and breathtakingly sweet.
The unique, impassioned performance displayed Wednesday is one that can only be understood by those who have shared the musical experience with the band – and is definitely one worth seeing upon they return to the Windy City.