Move over Bjork…
…there’s a new Icelandic queen in town.
The first band up were indie folk/rock/pop band and Icelandic sensations Of Monsters and Men.
In the lead up to this gig I wasn’t feeling great, and in quite a bit of pain. So the thought of standing for 3 hours was not a great prospect, and my chap was shattered and in a grump. It was going to take a 90 min drive each way, it was a very grizzly northern day and it took some oomph to get out. I actually wondered if we should go.
I am so glad we did.
I don’t think I quite knew what to expect from their gig. But I have to say there were blinking marvellous. There just had an aura of being so comfortable on stage and thoroughly enjoying being there. You could feel it.
You can’t help but enjoy their playful music. I swear I even saw my chap have a little jig at times (he does not dance on any account). The second they started I totally forgot about the pain and was well and truly absorbed. If we ignore the slight interlude when a 4ft tall (short?) bald drunk man tried to start a fight with me, but that’s another story.
And Nanna has sparkly pants! Silver, sparkly pants paired with a skeleton t-shirt. I wish I could pull that off. Just too cool.
Why ‘Of Monsters and Men’?
The band’s name is based on two themes – firstly, that human plans go wrong and end badly (ie “the best made plans of mice and men”). The second theme being that “man is more monstrous” than the monsters we can create – an idea taken from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Gotta love a band with literary themes.
This principle often runs through the lyrics too as the band name is a basis for their writing. They often write about humanity, the planet, animals and the fragility of life.
Here are my highlights:
The song from which the debut album title ‘My Head is an Animal’ is taken, this was the first song I heard. I love the story that evolves in this song, there is some debate as to whether it is about man destroying the planet, or a period of time when bees became extinct in Iceland.
“So for a while things were cold,
They were scared down in their holes.
The forest that once was green
Was colored black by those killing machines.”
The second track that reeled me in, and the second on their debut album. It appears to be a song about two people who run off to the mountains that are calling to them to escape something. If this bouncy little number doesn’t get at least your shoulder twitching there is something wrong with you. Nanna and Ragnar’s voices compliment each other beautifully and it is evident more than ever in this track.
“I heard them calling in the distance
So I packed my things and ran
Far away from all the trouble
I had caused with my two hands
Alone we travelled armed with nothing but a shadow
We fled far away”
The first release from their 2019 album ‘Fever Dream’ and the opening song of the night. More rocky than some of their previous work, this song really shows their growth and perfectly reflects their ‘excitement and energy’ about being back with their new work.
“I am open
I am restless
Let me feel it out
Let it all come out”
Another bouncy little number that cannot fail to pick me up at times and as a result has become my firm favourite. A quick blast of this can certainly wake me up in the morning.
The song appears to be about the black monster of depression and fading to almost nothing due to it, which is in stark contrast the uplifting music. In the live show, it was incredible to see how this song just carried lifted up and carried the crowd. And it has a fabulous video to boot. If you listen to any, make it this one.
“There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back
Well tell her that I miss our little talks
Soon it will be over and buried with our past
We used to play outside when we were young
And full of life and full of love.”
I could carry on, They have so many belters.
But instead I urge you to go listen for yourselves. And let me know what you think. Or do you already like them and have a fave?
Tune in next week for my second outing to gig two – my favouritist, fabulous, folky faves.
Theme: A few of my favourite things