Of Monsters and Men Share ‘Beneath the Skin’ with an Intimate Crowd

Vortex Music Magazine

In the weeks leading up to the release of their new album, the Icelandic folk band performed to a small, sold-out crowd at the Roseland on back-to-back nights.

Photo by Meredith TruaxPhoto by Meredith Truax

Back in 2013, Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men took to one of Portland’s most prestigious concert halls. Along with opener Half Moon Run, the Arlene Schnitzer hosted a sold-out crowd for one of indie’s biggest names of the year.

This year, Of Monsters and Men are touring in support of their highly anticipated follow up to their 2012 debut. Beneath the Skin will be released early next month (due out June 9) and leading up to its release, OMAM have been touring the country performing new tracks off the album, as well as songs from their debut. Before heading to this year’s Sasquatch! Festival, the band booked two nights at a smaller venue in Portland.

Within seconds of going on sale, both of OMAM’s nights at the Roseland Theater sold out. Then, for the excited fans, it was just a matter of waiting for the night to come.

The first of their two nights filled up quickly with the Roseland being a much more intimate setting than the last time OMAM were in town, and seeing such a huge name in that space was something many fans were looking forward to.

Photo by Meredith TruaxPhoto by Meredith TruaxOpeners The Black and the White gave the audience a quick jolt of energy before the headliner’s set. Hailing from Los Angeles, frontman Julio Tavarez delivered his band’s brand of electropop through energetic movements and facial expressions that had the crowd captivated from the start. It was a perfect way to get the theater ready for what was to come.

Of Monsters and Men came on to a “Thousand Eyes,” a flowing and powerful track off of the upcoming album. The first thing that grabbed my attention were the lights behind the band. Lighting can be everything at a show, and the beautiful array that set the background for the set was stunning.

I was unfortunately not able to see OMAM when they last played the Schnitz, but was indeed lucky to call this intimate night my first time seeing the band. Lead vocalist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir also expressed her excitement to play a small setting: “We haven’t played this venue for a few years. I’m having some déjà vu. It’s so good to back.”

The band continued their set, playing a variety of tracks from both albums as well as “Silhouettes,” a song the band wrote for the 2013 soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire—watch a live rendition of the song below. Throughout the set, the combination of beautifully epic indie folk and the dazzling lights behind it all painted a stunning scene for the intimate crowd at the Roseland. From what we heard there, it’s no question that Beneath the Skin will be one of this year’s best.

You can catch Of Monsters and Men back in Portland for 94.7 FM KNRK’s 20th birthday bash headlining alongside Cake, Matt and Kim, Robert DeLong and more on August 16.

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