Going to Glasto? Gig Review: Of Monsters and Men – O2 Academy Bristol

Of Monsters and MenAhead of this week’s Glastonbury Festival, we’re dipping into our archives to re-post reviews of acts playing. You can watch Of Monsters and Men on The Other Stage at 5.30pm on Sunday 30th June.  Of Monsters and Men were once described as an amiable group of daydreamers who craft folkie pop songs. When listening to the Icelandic six piece’s gorgeous debut album ‘My Head Is An Animal’ the soothing vocals of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar ‘Raggi’ þórhallsson equally complement the gentle acoustic numbers and the moments of explosion that arrive when the band are in full flow. Lyrically tracks can sound unusual, earthly, dark, loving and sweet, with many songs progressing from the quaint and delicate into a powerful and fiery climax. Of Monsters and MenPerhaps having the way paved for them by a new wave of folk music acts, most notably Mumford and Sons, Nanna, Raggi and co have become new favourites for a range of music enthusiasts with their UK tour selling out months in advance. Their date at O2 Academy Bristol was no different and everyone in the packed venue quickly warmed to the infectious personality of the band members who became a seven piece on stage. The humourous Raggi continually bounced off his female co-vocalist Nanna’s witty comments in between moments of sheer musical brilliance. Of Monsters and MenOpening with their album opener “Dirty Paws”, sing-alongs were present from the off, particularly with the ‘la, la, las’ that are present in a number of their tracks. Audience participation was encouraged and gratefully accepted as the crowd members rose to the challenge with the prompted clap alongs hastening the momentum towards the energetic moments of climax that are a hallmark of the band’s music. Their only album to date naturally dominated and each track was performed beautifully throughout the set. “King and Lionheart”, “Love Love Love”, a cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Skeleton” and a stunning performance of “Lakehouse” stood out along with the obvious big hitters that have propelled the band to critical acclaim. The cute “Mountain Sound” came in fairly early on with no element of surprise. Raggi asked the crowd to participate and reminded us of lyrics for the chorus before the band kicked in and began to play. The crowd loved it; excitement hit another level and it was clear that this gig was going to be pretty special. “Little Talks”, which was my introduction to the band back in the summer, is their biggest hit to date with the animated video having just under 50 million hits on YouTube alone. As it was throughout, the duets between Raggi and Nanna were impeccable and harmonic while the trumpet solo by the band’s female guest was met with its own ovation – the other members actually stopped the song to applaud it. But it started up again and this song in particular was probably the standout moment of the set. “Sloom” and “Yellow Light” were wheeled out as the standard encore took place and again they were performed exquisitely before the band bowed to the captivated crowd and said their goodbyes to its mesmerised members. Of Monsters and Men were breathtaking and I wouldn’t be surprised if a summer on the festival circuit thrusts them to further heights. I have a feeling they’ll return to the South West for Glastonbury this summer. If they are and you’re lucky enough to have a ticketthen I’d make sure you circle this act in your festival guide and go along to see them. To find out more about the band visit their official website:www.ofmonstersandmen.com For O2 Academy Bristol listings visit www.o2academybristol.co.uk