SXSW: Another edition

Sometime in the afternoon (starting to lose track).  Stubb’s.

Of Monsters and Men.

These Icelanders know how to put musical contrasts to good effect.  Their songs have an intriguing tension born out of crossing between vocal lines that are smooth and melodic to sharp and staccato or from drowning washes of sound that turn immediately into quiet moments of gentle intimacy.  They find percussive accents in the chords on the keyboard as well as in their lyrics by repeating one syllable words like “Hey” and “Wait”.  

The singers, Nanna and Ragner (I’m not even going to attempt their last names) create lovely vocal harmonies, and also find jazz elements of call and response in the way they alternate lines of lyrics between them.

Looking out at the sea of green in honor of St. Patty’s Day, they confessed that because the holiday doesn’t exist in Iceland, they weren’t quite sure what it was all about.  But they did understand that there was pinching involved and invited anyone to pinch their guitarist for his lack of green.  Then each proceeded to do so.

They ended their set with their hit single “Little Talks”, the bouncy drumbeats and horns making it impossible not to dance along.  As the song started, and the thrilled crowd started jumping, the man behind me informed me that this band is going to be huge.

Yes, thank you, that much seems pretty clear.


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