“Ethereal as f*ck”, I captioned my Instagram photo at Monday night’s Of Monsters and Men show at Columbus’ LC Pavilion. It was the only thing I could think of as I stood among a sold out crowd, who stood entranced by the hazy lights that emanated from the stage. Indeed, the show took on a celestial, other-worldly feel as smoke seeped out from the main stage, creating a light fog that muted the white lights. Lead singers and Raggi Þórhallsson and Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir took up either end of the stage. Raggi, picking up his acoustic guitar, while Nanna opted for a drum and mallets, opened the set with the haunting “Thousand Eyes” which began to crescendo as each band member joined in until the song sent a vibration across the pavilion and ended quietly with Nanna’s wispy vocals as she sang “I am the storm, so wait”.
Backed by four extra members, the original Icelandic quintet added four extra members skilled in trumpet, trombone, accordion and xylophone to their tour. These added musicians created a deep, rich sound for each song that embodied the ghostly sounds OMAM have mastered since their debut in 2012, My Head is An Animal.
OMAM’s interaction with the crowd was minimal, though I feel as though it would have broken the mood of the night. Each band member seemed to be in their own little orbs, concentrating on their instruments, never once looking at each other for cues, but effortlessly transitioning from one song to the next. Bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson and drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson got the crowd going as they clapped along to the steady beat of “King and Lionheart”. However, it wasn’t until the first chords of “Mountain Sound” were played by Raggi that the crowd broke free from their spell and began to dance and sing along to the lyrics. Of course, their first hit “Little Talks” was played, as well as current radio favorite,”Crystals”.
The three song encore included “Organs” off of Beneath the Skin and crowd favorite “Dirty Paws” which garnered many a drunken “LA LA LA LA LA” during the chorus from concertgoers. The night ended on a calm note, but appropriately, with the last song off their latest album, “We Sink”.
Highasakite from Norway opened and was a perfect complement to to OMAM’s dreamy landscape of sound and lights.