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Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

So recently I got to check off one item from my bucket list:  getting to see the amazing song Little Talks performed live by Of Monsters and Men.  I just love that song so much; from the moment I first heard it I just swooned.  Every part of the song just brings a goofy smile to my face– the music, the singers, the lyrics– and just etched into my soul the need to see it, feel it, and bathe in the performance.  So when I saw the announcements months ago that they were going to come right here to Richmond to play, I prepared to snap up tickets the moment they were available.

I’m glad I did– the show sold out weeks ago!  But I had my tickets…

Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find anyone who wanted to go with me to the show, so I ended up selling the extra ticket.  Thankfully, I did know two friends who already had tickets so I was able to sit with them and enjoy the show in friendly solidarity rather than having to be alone in a crowd like when I went to see the last show (Neko Case).  While I loved getting to see Neko Case live, it was a mixed blessing… being alone in a crowd of people who were all in groups of two, three, or more really kind of emphasized the rather lonely situation of being an older divorced father who’s friends are mostly all paired up and settled down.  Which makes me a bit of a oddball who doesn’t seem to fit in with anyone socially.  I left the show feeling both elated and melancholy.

Thankfully for the Of Monsters and Men show I had two friends to sit with, which made all the difference in the world.  We are really such social animals, and the security of being part of a small group within this huge, sold-out crowd gave me the ability to just lose myself in the music and the energy of the live performance.

This is an actual pic from the show that my friend Tommy took from where we sat

This is an actual pic from the show that my friend Tommy took from where we sat

And oh, what a performance!  Of Monsters and Men is a seven-piece band of some really talented musicians, and they had a joy about them, an obvious love of playing music for a live audience that was infectious and riveting.

The drummer was electric– so full of energy, it seemed to be an effort for him to keep seated and pound on the drums (and quite often he would leap up and run to the front of the stage to get the crowd pumped up before rushing back to his kit).  He was dressed in a suit, along with the base player beside him, though they were just in vests without the coats.  Like most base players, he held down the beat in a low-key way.  The lead guitarist was surprisingly not flashy or looking for attention– he spent most of the show to the side, working his guitar and producing a lot of interesting sound effects via a whole host of effects pedals on the floor at his feet.  He gave me the sense of being a quiet maestro plying his art.

On the other side of the stage from the drummer and base were a man and a woman at two keyboards, though they often jumped up and played other instruments.  The woman played trumpet, accordion, and for one song banged on a huge base drum; the man got up and played accordion on a different song.

Last but not least were the two lead singers, who also played acoustic guitars.  The man was short, round, and red-haired, and reminded me of a gnome.  He had a cool and real interesting singing voice.  The woman was short, dark-haired and waifish, and sung like the Icelandic angel that she is– her voice reminded me a lot of Björk from the Sugarcubes, a high-pitched lilt, but without Björk’s weirdness.  The two singers’ voices were different but sounded great both solo and harmonized together.

The band not only demonstrated great musicianship but great showmanship as well.  They obviously subscribe to the notion I do as well, that art isn’t just what is being produced by the artist, but it’s what’s found in that space between artist and the audience.  They got a real charge out of getting the audience singing along, clapping along, stomping along, waving and cheering.  They gave me a real creative jolt being a part of the experience, and my mind whirled with ideas as I drove home.  I was grateful to be able to experience it with my friends Tommy and Amy, to be part of a little group within the crowd, so I could both experience the thrill and the joy of the music without feeling lonely, and also have someone there who I could talk to, smile with, and just share in the performance.

If you ever get a chance to see Of Monsters and Men, I heartily recommend it!  Below the cut I’ve got a link to a Youtube video of them performing live (in a more intimate location), as well as lyrics to the song Little Talks — I really love the words to the song, it strikes me as a ghost story, with the girl’s part being the living person, and the guy’s part being either a ghost or maybe a voice in her head.  What about you?     (more…)

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