Review by Clare Knight
The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire was sold out for yet another night as Icelandic indie folk band, Of Monsters And Men were due to take the stage for their second of three nights at the London venue. The band are very popular in their native country and have become more so in the UK after releasing their debut album in April 2012.
The support act was another Icelandic musician called Mugison who in his own words declared, “I’m supporting the support and I’m a little bit tipsy” in his Icelandic accent. He was quite a character and he won over most of the crowd with that introduction. Little did they know what was to come though! I would describe his music as Skrillex and City and Colour mixed with acoustic blues rock and a few metal growls thrown in for good measure. To top it all off he looked like he could be a gentleman farmer from Devon quite easily! I thoroughly enjoyed his set because it was unexpected and he put everything into his performance but there were many around me who were looking decidedly confused throughout his set.
The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire was literally packed full of people waiting to see Of Monsters And Men and by the time they appeared on stage the sold out crowd erupted as the guitar intro for Dirty Paws started. The band were dressed to impress with the bassist wearing his best tuxedo (bowtie and all) and the drummer wearing what looked like a spectacularly tasseled onesie! There were many moments during the gig that the crowd were louder than the band, which they seemed to enjoy and so let the crowd sing for them. The whole gig saw the band eager to get the crowd involved and even the man next to me who had accompanied his girlfriend could pick up when the next ‘hey!’ was going to come in. The drummer was often up off his drum kit encouraging the crowd to clap along and many of the band members swapped places and came to the front of the stage for a little crowd interaction.
This gig saw an extra member added to the lineup, which was a trumpet player who also played piano and accordion amongst singing along and banging on a tom drum set up in the middle of the stage! She had a spotlight moment during Little Talks when she let rip on a great trumpet solo, which resulted in a roar of appreciation from the crowd. There was an impromptu interruption to the set when Mugison brought out a birthday cake for front man, Raggi. We learnt how to roll our R’s in order to pronounce his name correctly and then the crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’ before they launched into another song.
It was a really great gig and the general consensus amongst concert goers afterwards was that although they enjoyed it, many of their songs sound very similar with a lot of ‘lalala-ing’ and ‘heys!’ to join in with but not much diversity. Most people forgot about anything sounding the same though when the confetti cannon exploded over the crowd to end the set on a bang… so to speak!
Photo: David Gallardo