SXSW 2012, Day 1: Of Monsters And Men

photos by Brittney Bollay

We’ve been waiting for this for almost two years… for Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men to make it Stateside and perform for KEXP listeners outside of their native country. Back in 2010, we captured an incredible, intimate, unrepeatable live acoustic session with the band in their Reykjavik apartment during Iceland Airwaves. While they didn’t yet have more than two songs recorded, it was obvious they would soon become hugely popular (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). Now, with a serious record deal in the U.S. and fans clamoring from city to city, they’re selling out large venues everywhere they go. But their success isn’t the real story; it’s just what comes when a band can hit the emotional mark with dead accuracy. Because of their insanely catchy, folky pop songs, some compare them to Edward Sharpe, while others recall Mumford and Sons, but — not to knock either of those bands — Of Monsters and Men convey a sincerity and authenticity that’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else. When you do, you want to capture it and share with everyone you know. Come April, everyone will be able enjoy Of Monsters And Men as their previously unavailable full-length debut, My Head is An Animal, is set for release on April 3rd via Universal Republic.

At Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, the crowd gathered for Of Monsters and Men made Allen Stone’s full house look meager in comparison. Even the area in front of the stage at Mellow Johnny’s was packed an hour before the Icelandic folk rockers were set to come on. But the full capacity crowd was well-deserved, as this was the first SXSW performance for the band, who are beginning a U.S. tour of sold out shows. For their adoring fans, Of Monsters and Men played a radio set of five songs, including their international hit “Little Talks,” and when they were done, the crowd demanded one more. Those of us at KEXP were trying to remember the last time that happened, when we cut back into our broadcast for the band to play another song, and, guess what?, it was Of Monsters and Men, when we recorded them in Iceland! For those of you still waiting, don’t hesitate to take any opportunity to see this band while they’re in the States. You Won’t regret it! For now, check out the photos from their session here:

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One Comment

  1. Michele
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Amazing! First time at SXSW, first time seeing Of Monsters and Men (can’t wait for the Seattle show!) again amazing. Bonus I got to meet two of my favorite KEXP DJ’s Cheryl and Kevin. What a great day.

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