It’s not often that I go into a show not knowing what to expect. Most of the time, the band has been on tour for a while and there are photos plastered all over social media of the stage setup and the set list and the lighting. Their show at Massey Hall was the first stop on Of Monsters and Men’s current world tour, and not having in inkling of what would happen was complete bliss. And it turned out that the concert, the ninety minutes the band spent onstage, would be complete bliss as well.
For a while, it felt a little bit like Of Monsters and Men had dropped off the face of the earth. “Little Talks” had been a huge hit, and their debut album was incredible, and then everything just stopped and we didn’t really hear anything from them. And after some waiting, they reappeared with the release of “Crystals” and an album announcement, and with another song a couple months later. And everything felt solid and the new tracks sounded great and I started getting excited for the album, titled Beneath the Skin, which is set to be released on June ninth.
The tickets for their Massey Hall show sold out in seconds. And that meant that my best friend Katelyn and I couldn’t get tickets, and Katelyn was upset, and things felt rough. When you love a band, it’s hard to cope with not being able to see them live. And then an Instagram contest hosted by Sonic Boom came to our rescue, and a miracle happened and I won the tickets. I had no idea what to expect from Of Monsters and Men and, to be honest, I hadn’t listened to them in a while, but I was anxious to hear what they had to offer. Obviously there was a solid chance that we would be among the first to hear their new content, and that excited me beyond belief.
The band opened with two brand new songs, and they hit me in a way I can barely describe. All of a sudden I remembered just how important Of Monsters and Men are. They manage to delve deep into your emotions and reach things that are difficult to grasp, but they do it in an elegant, open way that lets you just submit yourself to their power. The new tracks seem heavier; they pull at strings and captivate you from the opening chord. I’m usually hesitant when bands play new content at shows because you lose the ability to sing along, but Of Monsters and Men still managed to have hands in the air and smiling faces from every audience member with the introduction of each new song. Their two previously released singles, “Crystals,” and “I Of the Storm” were also warmly welcomed with claps and shouts of happiness.
Of course, the show would not have been complete unless the band played their well-known songs. “Little Talks” and “Mountain Sound” brought standing ovations and the crowd sang along to every single word. Slower tracks like “King and Lionheart” got everyone emotional, something that I’ve learned to welcome when at a gig. For some reason, I had completely forgotten about “Lakehouse,” which is one of my favourite OMAM songs, and as soon as they began playing it, I felt whole. It brought everyone to their feet, it lit up the audience, and it united the venue. There’s something extremely special about standing in a crowd with their hands in the air and their voices yelling out lyrics to their favourite tracks. Everything feels positive and nothing feels wrong.
Of Monsters and Men know how to play to a crowd and how to interact with their fans. They’re gracious and happy and every moment of the show felt uplifting, even as they were playing seemingly depressing songs. I felt empowered. I felt happy and carefree. The band manages to bring a sense of freedom to their audience with each song they play, and that’s hard to do. The concert was something I needed, and I didn’t fully realize that until I was there. It was the kind of gig that reaffirms your existence and the goodness of life. And that was special. Of Monsters and Men know what they’re doing, and they do it well. If you can get to one of their shows, you should go. Let it change you.
Of Monsters and Men
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