Of Monsters and Men Show Off Icelandic Pride at Greek Theatre: Concert Review
Of Monsters and Men are from Iceland, and they aren't afraid to show it.
Themes of the band's home country were carried throughout the show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday night (Aug. 12). Talk of the epic Icelandic winters, flashing of blinding lights and heavy accents enraptured a crowd of over 5,000 people for an hour and a half.
Nine people decked out in black clothing -- Of Monsters and Men is normally a five-piece -- crowded the stage led by singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, who was the only one wearing white. They began the night off with the ominous tune "Thousand Eyes" from their sophomore album, Beneath the Skin.
Surprisingly, the band immediately jumped into their current hit "Crystals," the first single from the new album. Despite the confused look on the crowd's faces, it got them on their feet in no time, where they stayed for the rest of the night.
Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir traded off speaking to the crowd with her co-singer, Ragnar "Raggi" Þórhallsson. They both seemed humbled to be in L.A. and excited to give the audience a few surprises throughout the night. Of Monsters and Men released the music video for "Empire" just last week, and the director was in the crowd Wednesday night.
"Hi, Tabitha!" Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir sang in a girly voice after introducing the song and speaking about the video.
After playing a flawless, upbeat "Dirty Paws," drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson spotted fans waving an Icelandic flag in the pit area, but was unsuccessful in stealing it from them. Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir did, however, dedicate their next song "Winter Night" to the flag.
"We like the Icelandic flag," she said. "This song could be a tribute to the flag and the very bad winters we have there."
It wasn't until the "la, la, las" of "Lakehouse" that the lead singer ran down to the crowd to snatch the flag and drape it across Rósenkranz Hilmarsson's bass drum. Later, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson proudly wore the flag as a cape.
One of the best moments of the night was during the band's biggest hit, "Little Talks." The audience was so excited that they began singing before Of Monsters and Men, and Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir missed her cue, laughing as Þórhallsson came in to help her out.
The three-song encore was unique for the L.A. crowd. Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir walked out onstage accompanied by only two other band members to sing "Organs" for the very first time live (video below).
"This is a very important song for our album. You're only 5,000 people, it's OK," she said nervously.
Of Monsters and Men finished the night out with two slower songs, "Silhouettes," which comes from the Hunger Games soundtrack, and "We Sink." Although the encore could have gone out with more of a bang, the special acoustic sound of "Organs" made up for the disappointment.
At the end of the evening, it was only fitting that Of Monsters and Men played on a mountain, under the stars.
The Greek Theatre set list:
"King and Lionheart"
"I Of The Storm"
"Wolves Without Teeth"