Of Monsters and Men Hit the Ground Running at Webster Hall

Odd though it may seem, there is something that evokes horse racing in the music of Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. It might be the steadily building momentum in the songs; the unpredictable breaks in the rhythm or the tight reins they hold around the explosive instrumentation.

There were seven musicians (one more than usual) on the stage for the thriving band’s sold out show at Webster Hall last Friday night. Though Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þórhallsson, who laid the foundation for the band in 2010, are clearly leading the charge, there is a unique collaboration happening amongst the multi-instrumentalists on stage. They play as a unit, regardless of the instrument (keys, accordion, trumpet, electric bass, drums, guitar, etc.) humbly sharing the focus and the stage. Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson was perhaps the exception, dominating the left side of the stage from behind his drumset which was prominently placed up front rather than tucked away in the back. His prime location, in combination with his distinctive skill, inevitably drew some extra attention. Not to mention the fact that he was wearing a golden paper crown in honor of it being his birthday. And yes, “Happy Birthday” was sung, initiated by the ecstatic crowd…

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