Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
As the storms cleared on Tuesday night, May 28, above the Meadow Brook Music Festival, Of Monsters and Men celebrated with warmth and excitement during it’s 14-song, hour-and-45-minute set.
Emerging from behind a white curtain, silhouetted by purples spotlights, the Icelandic folk rock group began its set with “Dirty Paws,” the opening track from its 2012 album “My Head is an Animal.” The group was surrounded by hanging globes resembling planets, along with strings that picked up the glow. The personable and laid-back band members dressed formally for the concert, in bohemian dresses and sharp suits, which lent a classy atmosphere to the show – although the songs themselves benefited from performances that were more raw than their recorded counterparts.
The show’s mood shortly shifted to the more relaxed “Slow and Steady,” while the energy picked up with a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Skeletons.” The group delivered its biggest hit, “Little Talks,” after an anticipation-building 20-second tease; the performance was lively, though a little slower than on the album, but certainly whipped up the audience’s enthusiasm. The romantic ballad “Love Love Love” and “Your Bones,” a song about friendship, were also well received.
Singer Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir introduced the first encore, “Yellow,” as a “lullaby,” and bubbles dropped from ceiling of the pavilion as the fans danced and held up lighters during the relaxed yet lively melody. Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Porhallsson, the other lead singer and guitarist, interacted most with the audience, speaking a bit before almost every song, giving background on what each was about to engage the listeners. The two discussed the songs’ themes, which included love, summer and friendship, keeping the spirit high throughout the concert.
Of Monsters and Men left the audience with a floating feeling, providing a solid – if slightly soggy — kick-off for the Meadow Brook season.