May 24, 2012 at Venue in Vancouver, B.C.
Thirty minutes after Yellow Ostrich finished playing their final number, smoke swept across the stage at Venue. As the anticipation heightened to what felt like a maximum, the six-piece (plus one) Icelandic band flooded the stage. Much like the record, the words “Jumping up and down the floor” opened the show with it’s crashing instrumentation and simultaneous “HEY!” chants. With the closing strums of “Dirty Paws,” the crowd expressed its joy for an extended period of time. Lead vocalist Nanna took the reins on the following two numbers “From Finner” and “Slow And Steady.” There is an uncanny resemblance between her album vocals and live vocals. The sense of rawness that you hear on your iPod, local indie station, record players and all of the above is portrayed to perfection with great confidence.
While it may be difficult to follow seven musicians on one small stage, they all contribute like pieces to a dynamic puzzle. Årni jumps from the keys to the accordion without hesitation. That is if Arnar hasn’t wandered away from his drums to borrow that accordion. And while the seventh member on stage is an unknown female, her trumpet ability is phenomenal and always on point.
Male lead vocalist Raggi got a good chuckle out of the crowd as he dedicated “Lakehouse” and “Sloom” to Bryant ‘Big Country’ Reeves. Despite his lack of enunciation when speaking to the crowd between numbers, there is absolutely nothing lacklustre about his performing voice. He reeks of confidence as he belts out every single line, each filled with their own set of intricate wording.
To my surprise, Raggi started mumbling about doing a cover…of a Cure track. “Close To Me” had never sent chills down my spine until that moment. More Monsters than Men came out to play on that one, giving the 1985 New Wave song a dark, ominous heartfelt spin.
As the group initially took the stage, you could sense their nerves hadn’t quite settled. But after getting their paws dirty, the confidence meter spiked, and subsequently, the out-dated, obscure banter began flowing. It’s easy to tell Of Monsters And Men is going to be good at this for quite sometime. By their last song, “Yellow Light;” one of their slower, more heart-wrenching compositions, the group was perhaps a little too loose. Which was the quirky-shaped cherry on top. After one slight mishap, ironically involving yellow lights, the seven-piece group drove all their emotion into their last number and said goodnight.
What was your live Of Monsters And Men experience like?