Wednesday night Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men soothed all worries about finals away with their talented indie folk tunes for a sold-out Boulder Theater.
To begin the night Esmé Patterson, from Denver-based band Paper Bird, opened with her Americana sound. She was added to open for the band the day of and played the Boulder Theater as if it a were a private show. Sadly, there were steady murmurs in the crowd, who were excited for Of Monsters and Men, proving it difficult to hear the words and enjoy the short opening act.
As her set finished, the chatter continued, and for half an hour, the theater was on edge as people sat on the floor patiently and waited for the headliners. Then everything darkened, and the audience started to clap as the band’s name glew in florescent lighting on stage where Of Monsters and Men appeared.
The band began its set with “Dirty Paws” from the 2011 album “My Head Is An Animal.” This was a soothing tune to start the evening, getting the crowd ready for what would surely be an exciting time. From the start, Of Monsters and Men sounded strong and sturdy, holding their ground on stage. Co-singers Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson were in sync when needed, but Raggi also allowed Nanna to take hold of the opening song with her powerful voice.
“From Finner”, also from their 2011 album, followed “Dirty Paws,” keeping the energy slow and steady. During the song, Nanna and Raggi raised their arms to encourage the crowd to sing along to the la la la’s, which happened without hesitation. This degree of crowd involvement continued throughout the set, especially in the beginning when the songs chosen gave a certain intimacy when tied with narratives from Nanna and Raggi between songs.
After “Slow and Steady,” this narrative and encouragement for crowd interaction with the band came in the form of singing along.
“Can I ask for help again? Would you want to sing?” Nanna said.
Cheers of agreement crossed the theater in a unanimous yes. The co-singers proceeded to split the audience in half where one side would sing with Nanna: “Hold your horses now” and “Through the woods we ran;” while the other would sing with Raggi: “We sleep until the sun goes down” and “Deep into the mountain sound.” When the chorus was introduced, screams from the audience echoed through the theater, ready to sing along with the musicians to “Mountain Sound.”
This involvement in “Mountain Sound” made the show feel more like a coffee house than a sold-out theater. The audience followed the instructions of the chorus extremely well. With each line of the chorus, the division of the theater could be heard, with voices singing on one side, then the other, finally meeting back together for the last line of the chorus. How the audience and band worked together was impressive, particularly that a crowd of hundreds could follow the instructions and produce moments of being surrounded by music through the voices of everyone.
Throughout the evening Of Monsters and Men seemed excited just to play. Not for a single moment did any of the six members stop having fun, which was apparent when guitarist Brynjar Leifsson took a photo of Raggi putting the mic near the crowd during “Little Talks.” The band’s energy, like its excitement, didn’t stop until the members held hands and bowed after the last song of the night, “Yellow Light.”
1. Dirty Paws
2. From Finner
3. Slow and Steady
4. Mountain Sound
5. Your Bones
6. Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s cover)
7. Love Love Love
8. King and Lionheart
10. Little Talks
11. Six Weeks
2. Beneath My Bed
3. Yellow Light
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Claudia Rebora at Rebora.email@example.com.