Saturday, November 24, 2012

Live Review - Of Monsters & Men @ Terminal 5

Of Monsters & Men Live at Terminal 5
By Colum Ward 

It’s hard not to like Of Monsters and Men. They’ve got to be the nicest bunch of folks ever to grace a stage. There’s not a hint of anger or sadness. There’s no posing or posturing or silly rambling banter – just seven individuals playing their hearts out.

My personal favorite is Arnar the Drummer. We got to see a whole lot of Arnar. He was right up front, stage left – facing the leads. It’s an inspired place to put a drummer – you can watch his every move. Arnar however played the drums only about half the time. He sang back-up, he played the accordion and he jumped back and forth across the stage aggressively urging the audience to clap along to every song. I’m sorry but it’s just not fun to have ones hands in the air for an entire concert. 2 songs is my limit, maybe 3. Simmer down Arnar!

I do need to pause here for a moment to mention the lack of a uniform look among the band members. There is no dress code. It’s ‘wear what you like’. The result is a jarring mess of styles. It’s librarian chic meets country hippie meets dapper gent. A neat line of different shapes and sizes, textures and tones. Kind of like an un-coordinated but more infinitely more organized Arcade Fire.

But when it comes to what’s most important – the music – everyone is on the same page. OMAM’s best songs – those soaring foot-stomping anthems – play really well in a medium sized venue like T5. They’re real crowd pleasers; full of shouts and cheers, that are a pleasure to sing along with. And this was one enthusiastic audience; young, mostly female. The first few bars of any given track were greeted by squeals of delight and these kids knew every lyric – which is quite a feat because Nanna (that enchanting voice that makes OMAM’s sound so unique, so special) sings with a strong Icelandic accent – which is lovely but totally incomprehensible.

The one abiding truth though that you will come away with from an OMAM concert is a new appreciation for the sound of a Trumpet. Just when you think it can’t get any better – the guitars are raging – the drums are pounding – it’s building and building and then in comes the Trumpet (played on this tour by guest Trumpeter Ragnhildur Gunnarsdottir) and the song it transformed. A Trumpet demands attention – it puts order on the chaotic din of guitar & drum. It’s a terrifically hopeful, inspiring sound. And you stand there thinking; ‘Gosh wouldn’t everyday life be so much better if, when you needed it, you could just summon a Trumpet blast.’ Forget the cowbell – more Trumpet I say. More Trumpet!!